7 Years
Jan 27, 2014
We didn't realize how dependent we are on markets and shops until the beginning of 2020, when a global pandemic caught the entire world off guard. The basic supplies like food and hygiene products suddenly became unavailable or challenging to find.

Even if the markets have a full assortment to offer, grocery shopping involves waiting in lines, keeping social distancing, taking hours to get inside the store, and risking health in the process. Online shopping became a safe alternative, but that often takes several days for delivery.

Coronavirus pandemic was a wake-up call for the global population. We became aware of the need to be self-sufficient and independent. Many people learned the basics of cooking and alternative ways of getting home supplies.

A real boom has happened in the area of urban or backyard gardening and small homestead development. This informational post is here to help you find the best breeds to meet your needs, there are several places online to order chickens. For breed specs, you can navigate the Backyard Chicken Forum or click on these links to read more.

What are the benefits of an urban or backyard garden?

Many folks decided to turn their backyards and small land spaces into mini gardens to provide fresh food. The main focus of this production is on vegetables, eggs, and meat.

Before deciding what to keep and grow in the backyard, established city and zone regulations must be checked. Some living areas have their own rules and regulations regarding keeping any live animals. It doesn't necessarily mean that chickens cannot be kept in urban areas, but there is usually a limited number and specific conditions to follow. Some regulations will allow only hens because roosters tend to crow and get loud.

How much space do chickens require?

Chickens come in all different shapes and sizes, from giant breeds like Orpingtons that weight up to 10 lbs, to miniature breeds like Japanese bantam, which only gets around 1 lb as a fully grown bird.

Each bird requires minimum space for a healthy and productive life. Standard breeds that weigh from 4 lbs and up require a minimum of 3-4 square feet per bird. Bantams require a minimum of 2 square feet of space per bird.

How many chickens for daily egg supplies?

There are hundreds of different chicken breeds. Some are specially selected for extensive egg production, others for meat or a combination of the two.

Young chickens will start laying eggs after they turn five months old. Depending on a breed, one hen can lay between 180 and 300 eggs annually. This means that from a small flock of 4-5 chickens, it's expected to get a minimum of 2-3 eggs every day.

Chicken breeds for best egg production

Some breeds are purposely bred for their excellent egg-laying abilities. Brown or White Leghorns, New Hampshire, Brown Leghorn are some of the most popular breeds in egg production. All of those are expected to produce over 220 eggs annually.

However, there is one breed that is high above all the others in the egg-laying area.

Production Red is the breed of chicken that is famous for its 300+ eggs per bird. A flock of 5 hens will most likely supply their owners with 5 large eggs every day. Production Reds are standard size birds who weight around 7lbs for hens and 9lbs for roosters. Eggs are large with the brown shell.

Chickens for meat production

Besides eggs, one other equally important use from chickens is meat. There are breeds of chickens whose entire purpose is to provide high quantity and quality meat and provide it fast.

When choosing a breed for meat production, there are two qualities to look for. First is the weight of fully developed birds, and the second is how fast they get to that point.

Only breeds reaching over 5lbs are considered to be meat-birds, although proper meat-birds weigh over 10lbs on average.

One of the essential qualities is how fast a chick can get to the optimal weight. Meat-birds are ready for slaughter as soon as they turn 15 weeks, at which point they should get near the desirable weight.

By definition, roosters are much heavier than hens. Many farmers tend to sex-divide chicks on the first day of hatching and separate males for meat.

Chicken breeds for best meat production

Some of the well-known breeds for meat are Jersey Giant, Orpington, Australorp, and Brahma, but none of these breeds comes close to one particular and most popular meat-breed Cornish Cross.

Cornish Cross is a favorite choice with anyone who is raising chickens for meat purposes. This breed can get to 10lbs within only 6 weeks. They are calm and tame birds. Not only that these chickens get broad breasts, big thighs, and legs, but their meat tastes better than other breeds in the same category.

Dual-Purpose Chickens

For those who are expecting both eggs and meat from their flock, there are breeds to meet those demands. Dual-purpose chickens may not be record-breaking egg and meat producers, but they are more than generous in both of those areas.

These breeds are on the higher side of egg-laying, with an average of 200 eggs per hen. The weight of adult birds is also over 5lbs, which puts them in a category of meat-birds.

Dual-purpose chickens are an excellent investment in a backyard or urban garden.

Some of the dual-purpose breeds are Wyandotte, Plymouth Rock, Buckeye, Ameraucana, Sussex, Naked Neck, and Welsummer.

The most popular dual-purpose chicken, and for a good reason, is the Rhode Island Red. These chickens get the best from both options. They are excellent egg layers with up to 280 eggs per hen. Rhode Island Reds are also in the heavy category, with roosters weighing up to 8.5lbs.

Chickens as garden addition

Not everyone keeps chickens only as a source of eggs and meat. Many breeds are kept either for their exotic appearance, like bantam chickens, or for interesting color eggshells.

It became trendy to keep chickens that lay eggs with different color eggshells. In addition to standard white and cream eggs, some breeds will now make an egg basket look like it's Easter every day.

Copper Marans lay chocolate brown eggs, Easter Egger is known for their light green, and Ameraucana for light blue eggs.

Choosing the right chickens

Knowing your needs and what you want to accomplish with your backyard flock will make the decision much easier. Some prefer to have a constant source of fresh eggs, and others are more meat lovers. Maybe you prefer both, or perhaps you only want some colorful addition and conversation starter. In any case, there are chickens for everyone.

Where, how and when to get different chicken breeds?

All of the mentioned breeds and many more are available at many chicken hatcheries including Valley Hatchery. Dozens of chicken varieties, from egg layers, meat-birds, bantams, and rare breeds, there is something for everyone.

Perfect for beginners or small backyard flocks, you may order as few as three chickens at Valley Hatchery, which is a minimum purchase, and get them shipped to your door.

Late fall and early winter months are when the hatcheries start to take orders for the following spring. Due to the high demand and risk of selling out, now is the perfect time to place your order and reserve chicks for your happy little flock.

Link Transparency (know where you are going before you click):
Japanese Bantam:
New Hampshire:
Brown Leghorn:
Production Red:
Jersey Giant:
Cornish Cross:
Plymouth Rock:
Naked Neck:
Rhode Island Red:
Black Copper Marans:
Easter Egger:
Valley Hatchery:
What is your source of chicks for your hatchery? Are you acting as a 3rd party to Cackle Hatchery, much like My Pet Chicken operates?
We hatch and ship exhibition poultry. When supply exceeds demand for our standard production and commercial fowl, we partner in the busy months with a network of poultry breeders. We guarantee our exhibition stock to be true to breed and have supplied many "Best of Show" winners.
We hatch and ship exhibition poultry. When supply exceeds demand for our standard production and commercial fowl, we partner in the busy months with a network of poultry breeders. We guarantee our exhibition stock to be true to breed and have supplied many "Best of Show" winners.
I often wonder how true to the weight stated, will the birds turn out. For example most hatcheries state a necked neck rooster weight of 6 pound. You and a couple other hatcheries state a rooster weight of around 8 pound or a little more, a 1/3 difference. A significant difference. Could I confidently buy from you and expect the higher weights? If you have other hatcheries drop ship necked necks for you, will they average the stated 8.5 pound weight? It is very nice of you to communicate on this thread with potential customers. I get to ask a question I have really wondered about. An answer will likely make me a customer. Thank you
One thing I did not notice in your excellent write up is that if you are keeping a backyard flock for egg production, you will have to replace your birds every few years. My backyard flock of 10 different dual purpose breeds was very good in egg production the first 2 years, but now into their third year, I get very few eggs from that flock. Currently averaging 1/8 eggs per day going into my third winter. I'll have to replace my flock this coming spring, but really should have better planned to replace them this past spring and not carry them over this winter when I get hardly any eggs.

My best eggs layers were my ISA Brown (Production Red) for brown eggs, and my Californian for white eggs. But I enjoyed all the breeds I got and am happy to have had the experience of a backyard flock. I am just planning on replacing future flocks every 2 years instead of every 3 years.

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