Best chicken breed?

JohnDeerGirl

In the Brooder
Apr 30, 2015
18
0
32
So im looking for the best chicken breed for my area and family. We are looking for a dual purpose, friendly, great laying breed. It would also be nice if it was cold hardy, as we get pretty chilly winters here. I want to get 5 hens and 1 rooster. I know every rooster is different, but I would like for at least the breed to be known for having a great temperament. Any ideas for a breed would be much appreciated!
 

dekel18042

Songster
Jul 18, 2013
2,195
306
241
Pennsylvania
So im looking for the best chicken breed for my area and family. We are looking for a dual purpose, friendly, great laying breed. It would also be nice if it was cold hardy, as we get pretty chilly winters here. I want to get 5 hens and 1 rooster. I know every rooster is different, but I would like for at least the breed to be known for having a great temperament. Any ideas for a breed would be much appreciated!

You didn't say where you are from, and where you intend to get the chickens. That can influence you. There are many breeds that should fit your bill. So many choices.....But you can go to www.mypetchicken.com and they have a questionnaire. Based on your answers, they will select several breeds that you might like.
 

Blackberry18

Songster
Mar 25, 2015
1,803
131
196
Minnesota
The questionnaire that dekel18042 recommended is good. I find that Plymouth Rocks, Sex-Links (Red or Black), and Leghorns are cold-hardy, and great for a backyard flock, also laying good eggs. I know Leghorns aren't exactly dual-purpose, but I love mine. I tend to like was dual-purpose breeds better, but was beyond pleased with my Leghorns. Besides laying great eggs, they are also friendly and social. As for a cock that's not too aggressive, I've heard that Cochins and Brahmas are very calm.
 

Michael OShay

Crowing
5 Years
May 14, 2014
25,581
2,456
438
Montana
Black Sex Links (Black Stars) would fit your criteria very nicely. They are cold hardy, friendly, laying machines. I've raised them for years (along with dozens of other breeds and hybrids), and they have been my best layers, consistently churning out more than 300 eggs per hen per year. If you want a standard breed (BSLs are hybrids), Australorps, Orpingtons, Sussex, Brahmas, and Faverolles are all cold hardy and have a well deserved reputation for being calm and gentle (potential lap pets). In addition, they are all good layers of large, brown eggs (Australorps are excellent layers). With respect to Blackberry18, if your winters get really cold, I wouldn't personally recommend Leghorns. Even thought they are excellent layers, their large combs are very subject to frostbite (I can attest to this from experience). Also, Leghorns are typically high strung and flighty. Mine screamed bloody murder whenever I handled them (It's why I don't have Leghorns in my flock anymore). If you wish to research the various breeds further, there are some good quick reference charts at http://albc-usa.etapwss.com/images/uploads/docs/pickachicken.pdf, http://www.mypetchicken.com/chicken-breeds/breed-list.aspx, and http://www.sagehenfarmlodi.com/chooks/chooks.html. Also Murray McMurray has an excellent "chick selector" tool at https://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/chick_selector.html to help you determine which breed or hybrid is best for you. Just be sure and click on show more characteristics. Even if you don't purchase your birds from MM, the chick selector is still a valuable tool. Whatever breed or hybrid you decide to get, good luck with your flock.
 
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Blackberry18

Songster
Mar 25, 2015
1,803
131
196
Minnesota
Black Sex Links (Black Stars) would fit your criteria very nicely. They are cold hardy, friendly, laying machines. I've raised them for years (along with dozens of other breeds and hybrids), and they have been my best layers, consistently churning out more than 300 eggs per hen per year. If you want a standard breed (BSLs are hybrids), Australorps, Orpingtons, Sussex, Brahmas, and Faverolles are all cold hardy and have a well deserved reputation for being calm and gentle (potential lap pets). In addition, they are all good layers of large, brown eggs (Australorps are excellent layers). With respect to Blackberry18, if your winters get really cold, I wouldn't personally recommend Leghorns. Even thought they are excellent layers, their large combs are very subject to frostbite (I can attest to this from experience). Also, Leghorns are typically high strung and flighty. Mine screamed bloody murder whenever I handled them (It's why I don't have Leghorns in my flock anymore). If you wish to research the various breeds further, there are some good quick reference charts at http://albc-usa.etapwss.com/images/uploads/docs/pickachicken.pdf, http://www.mypetchicken.com/chicken-breeds/breed-list.aspx, and http://www.sagehenfarmlodi.com/chooks/chooks.html. Also Murray McMurray has an excellent "chick selector" tool at https://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/chick_selector.html to help you determine which breed or hybrid is best for you. Just be sure and click on show more characteristics. Even if you don't purchase your birds from MM, the chick selector is still a valuable tool. Whatever breed or hybrid you decide to get, good luck with your flock.
I don't take any offense to your statement about Leghorns. Mine remained robust and vigorous during extreme cold (- 40 degrees sometimes). I put Vaseline on their combs to prevent frostbite. Mine are also very friendly, the fact they are skittish and intelligent can be won over. As I mentioned, mine are very sociable and love to be handled; but I suppose it varies with the birds.
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
20,622
15,062
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Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
With regards to the leghorns - the issue of hardiness aside, OP has asked for recommendations for dual purpose breeds and leghorns would be a poor selection on that count.
 

Blackberry18

Songster
Mar 25, 2015
1,803
131
196
Minnesota
With regards to the leghorns - the issue of hardiness aside, OP has asked for recommendations for dual purpose breeds and leghorns would be a poor selection on that count.
Got it. Just wanted to promote Leghorns. But, yes, Sex-Links and Plymouth Rocks are great dual-purpose breeds.
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
20,622
15,062
821
Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
Got it. Just wanted to promote Leghorns. But, yes, Sex-Links and Plymouth Rocks are great dual-purpose breeds.

Absolutely - Leghorns are great birds for straight production, there is no disputing that at all, unfortunately just don't always fit the rest of the list of desired characteristics for a particular flock.
 

ABard

In the Brooder
Jan 31, 2015
17
0
22
We are in Tennessee (got to -9 here over winter at one point) and have 5 Rhode Island Reds, 4 Ameraucana (which I suspect are actually just easter eggers), and one mutt. We were supposed to be getting a Barnevelder rooster, because we were told their temperament is milder, but that one ended up being the mutt by some fluke. Then, we ended up with one of the RIR girls being a boy...our rooster Thor.

For egg laying: we got the RIRs because of their high production reputation. But, the EEs beat them hands down. AND, the EEs have much more interesting/sweet personalities. If I was going to get more, I'd purchase EEs. The reds also hide their eggs like crazy (they free range on our property) so even when they do lay (which isn't as much as the EEs - we've experimented with locking them in the run/coop for a few days at a time to count) we don't always get them. Frustrating. However, for meat, the EEs are definitely not top choice...but we found we couldn't eat them at this point even if we'd wanted to. Too attached!

For Rooster: all I can say is don't get an RIR roo. We love our guy, but are now having to search for a new home for him because he's become too aggressive. Way too aggressive. He has attacked my husband on several occasions and myself once or twice. Needs a home where he is in a pen or otherwise not around the house. Go with a breed you KNOW are mild and if you end up with a cockerel by accident in your batch, I'd say don't keep him. It's sad and difficult when you have to get rid of an animal you've raised for over a year.
 
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