Do you Know your Types of Chickens?
When asking about breeds or types of chickens, there are a couple of different things that come to mind.
First, how will we define “types”?
Some folks will immediately look at:
Purpose (Egg laying, Pets, or Meat Chickens)
All of these are valid “types of chicken traits” but we want to concentrate more on the Purpose of certain chickens in general. Chickens, like humans, have diverse personalities and depending on the breed or type they may surprise you as to how docile or unfriendly they really can be.
Chickens are a very intelligent bird and have been trained to perform at varying difficulties for hundreds of years. Depending on the type of breed of a chicken, they can be very easily trained. The types of chickens many times determine the general personality of the bird. Smart, yes, some chickens are very smart!
Types or Breeds of Chickens that are Docile (friendly)
Many of the large birds that are good egg layers and meat birds are very docile. This is by no means restricted to these chickens. Many people are looking for pets instead of eggs or meat production birds. Although eggs are a great reward of raising chickens it is not always the deciding factor. Many times the friendliness of the bird wins over. There are many docile and friendly birds out there.
Below are just a few of the many docile chicken breeds available. All of these listed below make great backyard birds.
Many of these birds are very trainable and people have been training them to do tricks, some very difficult tricks, for hundreds of years. Some chickens are very intelligent and will amaze you at their abilities to be trained. Many are just your common barnyard chickenswith no background of breeding for this purpose.
Types of Chickens for Show or Display Birds.
These birds can be of pretty much any type of chicken. There are no set breeds for a “Show Chicken“. There are standards that they must meet to be an exhibition bird but there are no set breeds for shows. Great breeding produces great chickens! In my opinion, the more pure bred a chicken is the better chances of it showing well.
In order to have great show chickens, they have to be taken care of and fed well. This can be done with good feed that supplies all of the nutrients they need to keep a slick coat of feathers and muscular body. They cannot be left much to themselves but do need some care. A healthy chicken is a must in any poultry competition.
If you are wanting to start showing birds I would recommend you find a breed of chickens like the Silkie or one of the other docile birds, to begin with. Showing a hateful or spooky bird can be trying on one’s nerves to say the least!
Below are some Chickens that are popular as show chickens or exhibition birds.
- Polish (There are several varieties of this bird making it very popular)
- Wyandotte (This one comes in at least 7 varieties)
The list for this type of chicken goes on and on as they can be and are mostly your average chicken breeds. Show birds have been around for a long time and will continue to thrive as long as there are chicken enthusiast and 4H programs.
Types of Chickens that make good Egg Layers.
Our next type of chicken we want to talk about are egg layers. These are the chickens that are considered to be some of the best egg laying breeds. Not necessarily the best pets or meat chickens but basically for egg production. Some of these will be winter hardy meaning they are robust and will continue to lay throughout the winter.
There are breeds that lay well in the summer months but do not do very well in the winter at all. Some of the winter hardy chickens are not considered very docile and friendly but still, if you are looking for egg production and not a pet any of these will work great for you.
The egg production listed below is an average for these hens and can pretty much be counted on year-round.
- Australorp ~ 5 eggs a week and winter hardy ~ Docile.
- Chantecler ~ 4 eggs a week and winter hardy ~ Docile.
- Delaware ~ 4 eggs a week and winter hardy ~ Docile.
- Easter Eggers ~ 4 eggs a week and winter hardy ~ Funny and friendly.
- Faverolles ~ 4 eggs a week and winter hardy ~ Not Very Docile but can be handled.
- Leghorn (White) ~ 4 eggs a week and winter hardy ~ Friendly but very active!
- Plymouth Rock ~ 4 eggs a week and winter hardy ~ Docile and smart!
- Rhode Island ~ 5 eggs a week and winter hardy ~ Friendly
- Sussex ~ 4 eggs a week and winter hardy ~ Docile
- Wyandotte ~ 4 eggs a week and winter hardy ~ Friendly
As you can see, most egg layers are generally docile, friendly birds. This holds true for the most part but there are some good egg layers who are finicky and down right hateful! Some will take to flight squawking like crazy upon you entering her space in the coop! They are so funny!
A lot of folks mistake a broody hen for hatefulness but she is just broody and when she gets past this she will return to her sweet self. Just like a lot of broody hens, a mother hen with new chicks will be very protective. So, if you don’t want your little ones flogged keep them away from broody and new mother hens.
Types of Ornamental Chickens
are chickens that are typically not good egg producers or meat chickens. They have been bred for nothing but to look nice! They have no productive function on a farm or as a backyard bird. These birds are mainly used to show and exhibit at competitions. Most all of these are Bantams. They are beautiful birds and make no mistake if they are a pure breed, they can cost you a bundle.
This is a small list in comparison to all the Ornamental chickens out there. This is just a few of the more common ones you will see. Most of these can be found fairly easily also. These are truly some of the most beautiful birds around and when searching for them online you will find several different varieties of the same breed many times. Many of these breeds come not only in different varieties but in different colors also.
Types and Breeds of Chickens for good meat birds. (Dual Purpose)
Many homesteaders, farmers, self-sufficient city and urban dwellers prefer a chicken that will be good to eat after she has quit laying eggs! Yes, at some point they will stop laying and at this point, you have to make a decision. Do you want to continue feeding a hen who no longer produced you with eggs or have her for dinner! I am sorry for those of you that jsut can’t entertain these toughts but many of our readers are homesteaders and thye use everything.
If you want a hen who lays a lot of eggs and makes a great stew or table meat. These wonderful birds are called “Dual Purpose Hens.”
There have been records of chickens laying for as many as 9+ years but this is not the norm. Many chickens will live for up to 15 – 20 years. If you are planning on getting eggs, you should probably not expect good egg production beyond 3 – 4 years. At this point, most chickens either slack down to nearly nothing to quit laying altogether. So, for those of you who are thinking about making chicken stew when the eggs stop coming, keep reading!
Good Dual Purpose Birds!
A note about these dual purpose chickens, they make very tasty meals, raise their young, make good show birds and are typically friendly docile chickens.
This list of Dual Purpose Birds are all cold hardy and will lay an adequate supply of eggs. They are good summer layers and will continue to lay throughout the winter for you. At the end of their career, they make great birds to feed the family with.
I know there are some of my readers who would never think of eating your chicken but we have lots who do. So for peaceful purposes, please do not throw off or be negative about this post to others. We have to try to serve all of our readers.
It has been our intent to help educate you about the types of chickens out there available to you. Most all of the birds mentioned in this article are very readily found. Most all of them can be found at local growers or hatcheries across the United States.
There are many others, too many to list that make good pets, layers, show birds, dual purpose etc, that can be found on our blog under the Chicken Breeds Menu.
Be sure to leave us feedback as to whether you raise chickens for eggs, pets, dual purpose or any combination of these.
I hope this article will help you in determining what Types of Chickens you will want or need to raise.