Looking to start your own flock of backyard chickens? Or perhaps you are wondering which chicken breed you should add to your established chicken coop? Look no further! Read on for our comprehensive list of the top 20 chicken breeds for backyard chicken keepers to love. From the popular to the rare, we have the inside scoop on all the breeds that will make your flock the envy of all the neighbourhood coops!
1. ISA Brown
The ISA Brown is a humble chook. The name ISA Brown is not actually a breed name, but a copyrighted brand name. The breed was developed and patented by a French company in 1978 for optimum egg production and since then their popularity has grown to great heights. They are a well-known choice for backyard chicken coop keepers and farmers alike, and these gorgeous girls are a renowned favourite for a bunch of reasons. We love the ISA Brown for her gentle nature, her resilience and her egg-straordinary egg laying talents that leave all other hens in the dust-bath!
2. Plymouth Rock
The Plymouth Rock chicken is a wonderful breed of chook for first time keepers and seasoned Chicken Ladies and Lads alike. They are relaxed, resplendent and responsive and make any coop a more loving and fun place to be. Introduced in the late 1900s, the breed was named after the town of its origin and quickly rose in popularity across America due to their egg-cellent egg laying skills and their laid back look on life. Plymouth Rock hens make great additions to backyard chicken coops and our egg-sperts just love their chilled out vibe and kid-friendly nature.
The Dutch bred barnevelder breed has to be one of the most popular, distinctive and attractive types of backyard chickens in Australia. Though breeds like ISA Browns, Australorps and Orpingtons are of course intensely popular due to their high egg yield, barnevelders are still a standout breed due to its unique plumage, quirky personality and of course those pretty and peculiar eggs that they lay. But, for most Chicken Ladies, it will be love at first sight when they see the iridescent green tinge in the feathers of a barnevelder chook.
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie – cluck, cluck, cluck! That’s the response you’ll get if you have a coop full of frisky, friendly and fabulous australorps! The locally bred australorps are a favourite in many Australian backyards due to their brilliant black, white or blue plumage, eggceptional egg laying talents and their characteristic happy-go-clucky Aussie attitude. Though we absolutely love chickens from all over the world, from the elegant English orpingtons to the alluring American Rhode Island Reds, there is something special about a homebred lady.
5. Naked Neck
Most Chicken Ladies will never forget the first time they their lay eyes upon a distinctive, quirky and downright bizarre naked neck chicken. When animal lovers first see a naked neck chicken most, without meaning to cause offense, say, “what’s wrong with that chicken?” Yes, these girls sure look peculiar, but it’s the way nature made them. Originating from Transylvania, naked neck chickens are famous for having featherless necks, which sort of make them look like turkeys. There has been some rabble that naked necks are in fact a cross between a turkey and a chicken, however this conspiracy theory has long since been debunked by scientists. Naked neck chickens are undeniably different on their own terms, like Cyndi Lauper or Freddy Mercury, which only makes this exceptional breed all the more loveable.
The cute, courteous and courtly orpington chicken might very well be one of the best mother’s in all of the animal kingdom. Created by British poultry breeders at the turn of the 20th century, the orpington chicken was designed to be a hardy breed that can endure England’s most bitter winters, whilst still laying at an unstoppable rate. These heavy-set, fluffy and cuddly ladies will be a figure of grace and dignity in any coop. Orpington chickens may seem homely and commonplace however these powerhouse egg laying wonders will make an eggstraordinary addition to any chicken lovers flock.
Silkie chickens have a reputation for standing out due to their fluffy and puffy plumage! Some of you may be imagining a brown or black mess of feathers, but silkie chickens have style in spades compared to some of their cousins, like ISA browns and australorps. Silkies may be small in stature, only weighing approximately 1.5 to 2 kilos, but they always leave a big impression because of their discrete resemblance to celebrities like Lady Gaga, Jimmy Hendrix and Vivienne Westwood. Silkie chickens are such a remarkable breed that the great merchant and traveller Marco Polo, after encountering them in China, felt compelled to bring some back to the west with him. What would other visionaries like Albert Einstein, Andy Warhol and Coco Chanel have made of silkie chickens? One can only assume that they would have been humbled by the brilliance of these unique birds.
8. New Hampshire Red
The New Hampshire chicken breed is a reliable and robust hen that doesn’t disappoint when it comes to producing delicious eggs or forming wonderful feathered friendships. These girls are gentle and warm, make egg-cellent mums and are quietly beautiful. Think of the New Hampshire chook as the hen-next-door, an unassuming chicken that is definitely more worthy of your attention than her looks let on. The breed was developed in the early 1900s by New Hampshire farmers who wanted to improve on the existing Rhode Island Reds and have a chicken breed to call their very own. The farmers focused on breeding hens that were fast growing, early to lay and hardy in the bitterly cold winters of the north-eastern US state. The resulting delightful bird was officially coined the New Hampshire in 1935.
The dramatic and stunning Frizzle chicken is a curious looking chook with a warm temperament and a surprising amount of grit for someone so glamourous! These girls come in standard and bantam sizes and have unique feathers that curl outwards instead of lying flat. To the untrained eye, these Frizzle feathers give them the appearance of someone who has had an unfortunate blow dry, but these girls are ahead of the times! They know they are setting trends with their uncommon looks and wear their frazzled and fluffy feathers with pride. These ladies can usually be found parading around a show ring, taking home ribbons for their frizzle factor, but they aren’t just the next starlet in line to fall from grace! The Frizzle chicken is not above joining the common backyard flock and makes a wonderful choice of pet for your family and a great addition to your coop.
10. Belgian d’Uccle
The Belgian d’Uccle chicken is one of the sweetest, loveliest and cuddliest pets in the whole wide world. Originating from Uccle in Belgium these vibrant ladies come in many different shapes, colours and sizes. Whether you’re looking for a chicken that looks as stunning and stylish as a casino dancer or if you are simply looking for a chook that’s sleek, elegant and classic, you’ll surely be able to find a Belgian d’Uccle that suits your unique taste.