Chicken Breeds for new Chicken owner? Help


In the Brooder
6 Years
Jul 31, 2013
West Seattle, Washington
Hey all, I'm new to the chicken thing and will be lookin to get chicks next spring and want help deciding which breeds to go with. I'm trying to do all my research now so i will be totally ready for the girls when coop is built. Looking for 4-5 large, productive brown egg laying, must be docile with kids and family, preferably not too broody - wont be hatching any chicks.

My thought is 2 breeds and was thinking of Buff Orps and Black Astros. I hear good things and i know there is a ton to choose from out there, looking for feedback and real world experiences ya'll have had with either those breeds or ones that fit what i am looking for. They dont need to be fancy or rare or anything like that, just nice, fat, good egg layers.

Live in Seattle and they will be semi free ranging and in the good sized run and coop the rest of the time.

Thanx for the help!
Go Hawks! - Jason
I have neither Australorps nor Buff Orpingtons. I have Wyandottes, an Easter Egger, and a Rhode Island Red. Personally, I believe Wyandottes to be great birds for nearly everybody. They are docile, lay well (250+ eggs a year in my experience), come in pretty colors, and are relatively easy to find. I really enjoy my Wyandottes. They are cold hardy (mine have withstood below 0 temperatures fine), and do fine in the heat as well. My Wyandottes are good foragers, too. Wyandottes can go broody, but in the nearly three years that I've had mine, they never have. Orpingtons, though, I've heard can be very broody, though it really depends on the bird.

I know people who have Orpingtons, and have had some experience with Australorps (I volunteered somewhere that had these birds--I didn't keep them, but I spent time around them). The Orpingtons and Australorps that I saw were gentle, but they were not like my Wyandottes. My Wyandottes are inquisitive and very friendly, while the Orpingtons and Australorps were kind of stand-offish. This isn't to say that all Orps and Australorps are like this, but that's what I've experienced.

If you want lots of eggs, get Red Stars or Black Stars. These hybrids lay plenty of eggs, are easy to find, and are friendly and tame. One of my friends has a Red Star, and her bird has only missed a couple days since starting laying nearly a year ago.

Easter Eggers are wonderful birds. They are docile, and lay green, blue, or pink eggs. They also tend to have cute muffs and beards, and come in a wide range of pretty colors. My Easter Egger is my second favorite, behind my Wyandottes.

Many people will recommend Rhode Island Reds or Barred Plymouth Rocks. These birds are common and easy to find. They lay pretty well, though my RIR doesn't lay as well as my Wyandottes. I know someone who has a Barred Rock, and her bird doesn't lay as well as her Red Star, or another one of her birds. Some Rhode Island Reds can be mean, and while mine isn't mean, she is a bit stand-offish.

Continue researching breeds; you may find a breed that seems perfect for you. These are just a few suggestions.

Hope I've helped! Welcome to the world of chickens!
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Thanx Wyandottes7! Thats great feedback, i love getting info from people who have actual experience with these hens.
The Wyandottes look like beautiful birds, i will certainly add it to my A list. I was also looking at the Red Star or Black Stars and the Easter Eggers are intriguing as well.


Thanx again! Helped a bunch.
BOs and Aussies are both breeds known for broodiness ;)
I've had great luck with my EEs. Not many have gone broody and they fabulous green and blue eggs. Sexlinks are AMAZING layers, hefty girls and aren't known for sitting.

I could go on and on, as previously stated, there are so many fabulous breeds its so hard to choose. Feathersite has a list of each breed, how well they lay, what their personalities should be like, whether they're prone to go broody, how they handle confinement, ect. Its an excellent place to start when you're trying to choose breeds :)
I agree there are so many breeds to pick from..I have a little variety, buff orps, lav orps, lemon cuckoo orps, australorps, speck sussex, cornation sussex, wyandottes, RIR, EE.. Some are quite young , but by far I like my orpingtons..quiet, friendly, good layers, I like all the others as well, and will probably get a couple more wyandottes next spring, as well as trying some other breeds, like welsummers, .possibilities are endless:)
I have both Buff Orps and Australorps .... As well as Easter Eggers and Red Stars... Out of the four the Red Stars are the best, IMO. I have little children as well... And all of the breeds I have are good with the kids but the EEs are standoffish and won't let any of us hold them now... They were fine as chicks but now that they are big..not so much.

Oh, but if you don't want broody hens.... Don't get Buff Orps. They are known to go broody.

This is my first flock ... We got our girls in April. Now that I know them and most are laying, I am selling off 4 of my 12. I'm getting rid of two of the three Buff Orps b/c I don't want to deal with a bunch of broody girls... And I'm getting rid of one of the EEs and one AL. All the Red Stars are staying b/c they lay fabulous large brown eggs and they are sweet girls. My Red Stars are each giving me an egg a day.

I have placed an order for 2 White Leghorns and 2 Barred Rocks... My thinking is to stagger my flock so I have plenty of eggs even when the older ones are molting.. The leghorns are prolific layers ... So even though I've heard they are not inclined to a lot of interaction with people.... They will put out the eggs. The Barred Rocks (I've read) are above average layers and friendly...
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Thank you for the input everyone, great real-world experience to hear about. I've heard good things about the Red Star. Like Percheron Chick said i'll probably change my mind 100 times and think im well on the way to that # of mind changes. Appreciate the input.

What do people think about the Black Astrolorps? Anyone know if the Black Star are much different from the Red Star? Do others feel that the Easter Eggers are a bit stand-offish?

Im sure lots come down to the individual bird and how they act towards people but i sure like hearing about the tendancies within the breeds.

Fun stuff for sure. thanx all, love to hear more
I agree with Wyandottes, love them! I plan on getting some more in the spring (blue laced reds)... They are my favorite breed:, are easy to find, sweet personalities and I hope they show as being good layers (mine haven't started laying yet), and a huge bonus they are gorgeous! I love the round bodies and all the different colors.

In the past I had Sussex and loved them! Great layers, hardy and very smart. Since I like color I was trying to get some Speckled Sussex last spring, but couldn't find a breeder near me so I got the Wyandottes instead. I'd like to have a coop of Speckled Sussex one day :)

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