Discover All The Different Types Of Chickens!

Discover All The Different Types Of Chickens!

You’ve probably heard the age old quandary: what came first, the chicken or the egg; but have you ever stopped to think of just how many types of chickens there are in the world? There are hundreds of chicken breeds around the world.

The bird has been domesticated for thousands of years and the different breeds are usually distinguishable due to geographical isolation and selective breeding to create regional types of chickens that have distinct behavioral and physical traits.

Sussex chicken.

The physical traits people look for when distinguishing between the different kind of chickens include the size of the bird, plumage color, comb type, their skin color, how many toes the bird has, the amount of feathers are on the bird, the egg color, and where the bird originates.

The birds are also categorized (roughly) whether they are best for egg production, meat production, or if they are best for ornamental purposes. There are some birds that are considered to fall into a combination of two categories.

Popular Types Of Chickens For Egg Production

When you’re in the grocery store, you may not even take into consideration about the types of hens that produces those lovely white (or brown) eggs. However, if you are a farmer or someone who wants to have fresh eggs at the ready, then you may be interested in the different types of hens that will lay the most eggs.

Here are the top 5 chicken breeds that produces the most eggs in a year:

  • Sussex - These birds are considered to be dual purpose birds, as they are often bred for their meat and eggs. They are a fat-bodied bird that can have eight different color variations for the feathers, although the most common are white with a black neck and tail feathers, or speckled. They generally produce up to 300 white to brown, medium sized eggs. 
  • Plymouth Rock - The Plymouth Rock chicken is a great option for those who are new to raising chickens. These grey and white striped chickens are easily tamed and they can produce up to 280 light brown eggs that range from small to medium in size.
  • Hybrid Chickens - There are many chickens that are hybrid breeds and the most common are called Golden Comet. The hybrid birds usually lay about 280 brown, medium sized eggs every year. These birds usually have golden brown feathers with an off-white coloring for the tail feathers.
  • Rhode Island Red - The Rhode Island Red is generally considered to be a dual purpose chicken, as they are bred for their eggs and their meat. These birds do not have red feathers, but instead they have brown and black feathers. They will lay up to 250 brown, medium sized eggs each year.
  • Leghorn - The leghorn chicken originated in Italy and brought over to the US in the 1800s. These white birds have a thick red comb and they generally produce 250 white, medium sized eggs each year.

Popular Types Of Chickens For Meat Production

As people become more aware of what they eat, they are more interested in eating meat that hasn’t had growth hormones pumped into them. That is why many folks will grow and raise their own food, namely chickens.

Cornish Cross.

Here are the top 5 chicken breeds that are most known for their meat:

  • Cornish Cross - The Cornish Cross, and other hybrid breeds like it, are most favored because the birds grow very rapidly and can be harvested within 4 to 6 weeks, where the bird will weigh 12 pounds (male) or 8 pounds (female). These chickens have wide breasts, large legs and thighs with an enriched yellow skin.
  • Jersey Giant - The Jersey Giant is a purebred bird that requires a lot of food and more time (up to 21 weeks!) to reach harvest weight, which ranges between 13 pounds (male) and 10 pounds (female). Because these birds require so much food, they are not preferred among the commercial markets, but they are very popular among home owners.
  • Orpington - The Orpington chicken is a heavy breed that takes roughly between 18 to 24 weeks to reach harvest weight, which is 10 pounds (male) and 8 pounds (female). These birds are usually used to lay eggs, as they can lay about 200 per year, but they are favored for eating because of the flavor and tenderness of their meat.
  • Breese - The Breese chicken is an expensive but popular breed that is most noted for their blue feet. Should you invest in a breeding pair of Breese chickens, the only expense you have to worry about is the food need to raise them. These chickens are known for being exceptionally tender, although they do not get too heavy – 7 pounds (male) and 5 pounds (female) – and they have a 16 to 20 week harvest wait.
  • Freedom Rangers - The Freedom Rangers were bred to be a good pasture-fed chicken, which was aimed for the organic market. These birds are great birds who can live off of field bugs, as well as corn feed. These chickens take between 9 to 11 weeks to reach harvest weight, which is 6 pounds (male) and 5 pounds (female).

Rarest And Unusual Chicken Breeds

When it comes to the different types of chickens, there are bound to be some pretty rare and unusual breeds out there! Here are some of the rarest and most unusual chicken breeds that you could still raise in your backyard!

  • Brahma - The Brahma is a large breed chicken that  lays about 180 eggs every year. They come in a variety of colors, but what’s neat about these birds is that they have feathered feat. People who opt to raise these birds mainly do so for ornamental purposes, but they are also raised for their meat. Do keep in mind that they do well in cold areas, but they can also fair pretty okay in warmer climates as well.
  • Sumatra - The Sumatra chicken is a lovely bird that has black plumage that shimmers a beetle green when the sun hits it. These birds are at risk of going extinct if we don’t help them. These birds are social birds and they are quite chatty. These chickens are often thought to be undomesticated, but they are highly intelligent and have unique personalities that can play a role in how they behave.
  • Wyandotte - The Wyandotte is a recovering breed that can thrive in cold climates pretty well. These birds are dual-purpose birds, as they lay a decent amount of eggs and their meat is pretty flavorful. These birds aren’t going to be the friendliest chicken breed you’ll come across, but if you can overlook their aggressiveness, they are one of the lovelier types of chickens to have running around your property, be it a large ranch or in a smaller area.
  • Ayam Cemani -The Ayam Cemani is one of the most exotic breeds in the world and they are found mostly in Asia. These black chickens are completely black – their feathers, skin, feet, and even their organs are black! The chickens only lay about 60 eggs a year and the meat is considered a delicacy among the wealthy. It’s safe to say that these chickens are extremely pricy and they are only sold by the pair. So if you want a pair of Ayam Cemani, you better be prepared to pay at least $5,000 for the pair.
  • Dominique - The Dominique is thought to be the original American chicken breed. The breed was thought to have been extinct in the 1950s, but they are making quite the comeback, although they are still on the watch list. These chickens are good foragers and do best as a free range breed, but if need be, they can thrive quite well in a pen as well. These birds have a small rose-colored comb that helps protect them against frostbite, but it’s worth noting that they can also adapt to living in climates that are hot and humid.

Conclusion

More and more people are interested in raising chickens. Some do it because they want a fresh supply of eggs whenever they want them. Some do it because they want to be more mindful of the food they eat and wish to avoid growth hormones and other chemicals that are used with commercial poultry.

Chicken walking.

All around the world, there are hundreds of different types of chicken breeds. Some are better for egg production, like the Sussex or Plymouth Rock. Some chickens are preferred for the quality of their meat, like the Cornish Cross and Jersey Giant. Then you have those beautiful rare breeds like the Dominique or the Sumatra that are just lovely to look at!

Whatever your reason for breeding chickens may be, you can be sure to find a particular type of chicken that suits your needs perfectly!

Leave a Comment: