If you're looking for the perfect chicken breed out there, then you're looking at it the wrong way. A perfect chicken means something different to different people. For me, a perfect chicken would be able to make a perfect omelette and coffee for me in the morning and serve me breakfast in bed while I meditate.
Obviously that kind of chicken doesn't exist, so I'll have to settle for them just laying eggs and making the omelette and coffee myself.
But if you are someone who is more realistic about this and wants to know what kind of chicken breed would be best for your chicken coop, this is the article for you. I'll go over all the different kinds of chicken breeds out there, what you should look out for and what they are well known for.
So you can make an educated decision about which chicken to get and which one to avoid. Because let's be honest, the last thing we want to do is to get a flock of chicken that not only takes a lot more time to manage, but it also makes your hobby a chore. Which we definitely don't want it to turn into.
So, let's jump right into it.
This breed of chicken was first discovered by a Chilean aviculturist who was researching the local chicken breeds in, you guessed it! Chile. It was discovered in 1914. Fun fact, the Araucana is the parent breed of the American Ameraucana which is known to lay those blue colored eggs.
As far as their temperament goes, the Araucana chicken are friendly around other animals and even children. So you don't have to worry about them taking up much of your time when it comes to feeding or trying to protect other animals from them. And if you have children, you can ask them to feed these chicken if you want so you can just watch the chicken grow and lay eggs.
Every year you can expect them to lay around 200-250 medium sized blue or green colored eggs.
Well isn't this a surprise!
As we mentioned above, Araucana is the parent breed of Ameraucana and it was first discovered in the United States in the 70's. Sure, this breed is a little late to the game but they lay those light blue colored eggs that everyone loves. So I think we can ignore the fact that this breed of chicken has only been around for the last 50 or so years.
The American scientists specifically bred the Ameraucana to preserve those light blue colored eggs. I guess they were passionate about those eggs as much as we were.
Besides the egg color, the Ameraucana chicken behave similarly to the Araucana - friendly, easy to control and curious. But they are easily spooked, so if you have young children who like to mess with animals, you might want to keep them away.
You don't want to have your chicken live in a constant state of anxiety because that will affect how many eggs they lay each year and their lifespan also decreases.
You can expect them to lay around 150+ of those beautiful light blue colored eggs per year.
Interesting fact - the Barnevelder was developed by the Dutch chicken breeders in the early 20th century in the Netherlands. They wanted to develop a "double laced" chicken breed because they already had a single-laced feather breed. So they imported breeds from Asia and started breeding their single-laced breeds with them. And soon enough they developed the double-laced feather breed that is known as Barnevelder.
This breed of chicken is known to be easy going, peaceful and likes people which is great. Your children would be able to play with these chicken without you having to worry about the chicken being more aggressive or being spooked by them.
Barnevelders lay around 150 dark brown colored eggs per year.
This breed of chicken is known as one of the most expensive and the best tasting chicken in the world. And obviously it is very hard to get hold of this chicken (I mean legally) because you are only allowed to raise this chicken within a legally defined area. And that area is, you guessed it, in the region of Bresse that is between the French Alps and the Rhone River.
This breed was discovered around 500 years ago and very quickly it was recognized as one of the most distinct breeds of chicken in the world.
As the French people are very particular about things, they have rules about how much land must be dedicated to raising this breed of chicken, what they should be fed and how you can process them.
The reason (only my opinion) why the French don't want you to raise Bresse anywhere in the world, is that for them to be called Bresse, they have to raised in France and have followed all their rules. Or else they won't be recognized as Bresse.
The amazing thing is that the original Bresse breed has been preserved and is still alive in France. I guess that's mainly due to the strict rules they have come up with. But I think that is the price you have to pay if you want to eat the best tasting chicken in the world.
But worry not my American friends, there is always a solution. Back in 2011, American breeders brought home this breed and started raising them according to the rules set by the French Agriculture Department (not that they had to, but they decided they wanted to since they also wanted to have the best tasting chicken without having to pay so much).
Bresse grown in America is called American Bresse.
The Bresse can lay around 220-250 large golden brown eggs per year.
If you wanted a chicken that lays a ton of eggs but you can also butcher it quickly and prepare those delicious chicken wings, then this is the breed for you.
The Brown Leghorn can lay about 280 eggs per year and they can also be butchered at about 16 weeks. They'll weigh a good 5-6lb which is perfect!
This breed has been around since the early 1800's and were initially called Livorno which is the name of the port city in Italy from which this breed was exported. But by 1865, these were known as Brown Leghorn which is the English word for Livorno which means Italians.
Now, the different color variety of this chicken that you see today, was not originated in Italy. Most of them were developed in America, Denmark and the Great Britain.
It's so interesting to see that the history of the world is so intertwined with breeding chicken. In some cases, we preserved the types of chickens we like and in some, we developed different colored breeds that no one would've ever thought about.
When it comes to temperament, the Brown Leghorns are nervous and skittish. They are not your usual socializing type of chicken breed. For the most part, they like to be left alone and they also don't do very well with other breeds of chicken or other animals.
On top of that, these little birds are fast runners, so it will be hard for you to catch them if they manage to get out of your chicken coop somehow.
If you're a new chicken coop owner (which you mostly likely are), then I would recommend you stay away from this breed for now and go with the ones that are more friendly, slow runners and like to hang out with people.
But, let's say you have some experience raising chicken and would like to have a challenge, then the Brown Leghorn is for you. And you also get a nice reward for going through all the trouble as they lay around 300 large white eggs every year.
If you want a perfect backyard chicken or a lap chicken, this is the one. This fluffy chicken loves to be cuddled and is an overall amazing bird for your children to play around with.
Fun-fact: Because of the heavy body and how muscular the Cornish chickens are, they were considered as one of the most sought after meat-only chicken back in 1893 when it was added to the APA Standard chicken in America. These days, almost all the chicken used in the meat industry today is part Cornish which is mind-blowing.
This breed of chickens were originally developed in the Cornwall County in England. And given the fact that it was quickly considered as one of the most popular chickens at that time, I would say the sole purpose of developing this chicken was to have more meat.
But a good side effect was that these chickens turned out to be fluffy that can be cuddled. But don't think that this breed does not have a darker side, and I don't mean the color of its feathers.
The Cornish breed of chicken is loud, active and aggressive. So unless you are an experienced person raising this breed, I wouldn't recommend you get it.
Another thing to note is that this chicken grows very fast. So fast in fact that its own body can't keep up with it. So you have to quickly butcher them so they don't suffer from their own growth.
By week 4 or 6, they will weigh around 8lb and that's when I recommend you cull them.
If you do decide to get this chicken, you shouldn't be looking to get them to lay a lot of eggs as they can only lay around 100-120 medium sized light brown eggs every year. What you should be looking for, is meat. As they grow quickly, you can butcher them quickly and have a tasty meal prepared straight from everything that was done in your own backyard.
How cool is that?
This is one of the mystery breeds on this list. The Crevecoeur is one of the rarest and oldest chicken breeds out there. We don't know much about its origins other than that it comes fro Normandy.
Historically though, this breed of chicken was very much sought after. Even to a point where people would sometimes give this chicken as payment for renting or purchasing land in France. That goes to show you how much valuable this chicken was back in the day.
But now, it has become so rare that it is now on the endangered list.
If we were to consider its temperament, I'd say it is easy to take care of since it is active by nature but it isn't as aggressive as the Cornish. And it is also low maintenance.
So for a beginner, someone who is looking for a breed that is easy to raise, the Crevecoeur is the perfect breed.
But because of its rare nature, it is very hard to get hold of and usually isn't recommended that you go through all the trouble to raise it. There are better breeds out there that you can raise that are as easy as this one.
You can expect a Crevecoeur to lay around 100-120 medium sized white eggs per year.
If you're looking for a bird that lays a good amount of eggs and you can also get a lot of meat from, the Delaware is for you my good friend.
This breed of chicken was all set to take over the US as the #1 broiler chicken but then the Cornish was introduced. And the Delaware fell into obscurity.
But it seems to be making a comeback in the backyard chicken coop crowd because it is easy to raise and general people have a good time doing it.
You can expect this beautiful, white chicken to lay around 4 jumbo brown eggs per week under ideal conditions. And when it comes time to cull it, it will weigh around 5lb.
But the best thing about this bird is the temperament. It is friendly, calm and overall just funny to watch. If you have an afternoon free and you have a fenced backyard, then I recommend just letting them roam free and you'll see what I'm talking about.
Not only that, the Delaware's are also good foragers.
Just make sure that you keep them under ideal conditions like proper food, water and weather and it should be a breeze for you to raise them.
This breed was first developed in the 1860's in Worcester, Massachusetts. And it was quickly recognized by the American Poultry Association in 1874.
If you're looking for a bird that can consistently lay eggs all year long and you live in cold weather, then the Plymouth Rock is for you. These birds will lay about 210-270 large, brown colored eggs each year. And the great part about it is, you don't have to worry much about keeping them in ideal conditions.
As long as the conditions aren't too extreme for them, they'll do good.
When it comes to their temperament, the Plymouth Rocks are a perfect bunch if you ask me. They can be raised with other breeds of chicken, can be tamed easily and are friendly with people. Not to mention, they are active too. So you won't have to force them out of the coop to get some activity in.
But you do have to keep an eye out because it is possible for some males to become big and active enough to cause some problems. But nothing too big to worry about. As long as you keep an eye out and make sure that everything is calm, you should be alright.
As I said in the beginning of this article, the meaning of perfect is different for everyone. For me, it was a chicken that could make omelette and coffee for me 🙂
All jokes aside, for you, perfect would mean a breed that can supplement your diet with eggs and meat if you're into homesteading or if you're a smallholder. But you would also want to make sure that the cost for raising these birds is not too high. Or else you might just go out and buy those eggs and meat.
And if building a chicken coop and raising chicken is a hobby for you, then you might want to raise a bird that is easy going, easy to maintenance, like the Plymouth Rock would be perfect.
It all depends on what you're looking for.
And sure, this list is pretty short considering the fact that there are so many different breeds of chicken out there. But I purposely did that to make it easier for you to make a decision.
The last thing I want is for you to see a page with hundreds of breeds and then be confused which one to choose.
I hope this helped.