Whether putting together your first backyard flock or adding to an existing one... these breeds will produce an amazing amount of fresh eggs for the family!
Black Star Sex Link - Created in America shortly after World War 2 ended because of the demand for more egg production in the post-war, food rationed economy. Being Sex Link chickens, means that they can be sexed accurately when they hatch from the egg. Both males and females are black, but the males will have a white spot on top of their heads and scattered white highlights while the females are primarily black with golden breast feathers. Black Star pullets will feather out black with some red feathers in their necks while the cockerels feather out with the barred rock pattern along with a few red feathers.
The Black Star is a cross between a Rhode Island Red or New Hampshire rooster and a Barred Plymouth Rock hen. They are excellent free-rangers and as hybrids, they are extremely hardy and do well in cold climates. They have a friendly, quiet nature and usually only make noise when they have laid an egg. The hens are egg laying machines and are expected to lay around 280-300 brown eggs per year. The hens typically weigh around 2.5 pounds and begin laying around 22 weeks, while the roosters weigh around 3.5 pounds at maturity.
Golden Comets (Cinnamon Queen) – Hybrid mix of either a Rhode Island Red and Leghorn or Rhode Island White.
Golden Comets are known for being very sweet and docile and are a great choice as you begin your flock and learn the ropes. They will most likely follow you around affectionately and make a great choice for families with kids.
They are prolific egg producers, laying between 250 and 320 brown eggs per year and can start laying at 16 weeks.
The hens have the characteristic golden color and will typically have white lacing throughout their feathers. Male Golden Comets come in white. They do very well in both very warm and colder climates.
Rhode Island Red – One of the most famous chicken breeds which can be used as a dual-purpose bird. The males mature at 8.5 pounds and the females at 6.5 pounds. They are also excellent laying chickens, laying extra-large light brown eggs beginning as early as 19 weeks and will lay around 260 eggs per year.
Rhode Island Reds have a very calm disposition and are generally docile making them perfect for families. They can thrive in almost any type of weather and are known to do well in the colder and warmer parts of the country.
The Barred Plymouth Rock – This chicken breed was developed in England in the early 1800’s and was very popular before the end of World War 2 due to it’s egg productivity. They are used as a dual-purpose bird with the males maturing at 9.5 pounds and the females at 7.5 pounds. They are cold-hardy birds and a reliable source of brown eggs even in the winter yielding between 190 and 240 eggs per year.
This breed needs a lot of room and enjoys being free range. They are a friendly breed that are easy to handle and love being around people making them a good choice for the family backyard flock.
Leghorns – originated in Tuscany Italy and was brought to America around the late 1820’s. Leghorns lay large white eggs and lay longer than most other breeds beginning at 18 weeks of age. You can usually harvest around 280 eggs per year from this breed.
Leghorns do not typically get broody and are known to be a nervous breed that doesn’t always enjoy human companionship. They are not ideal for those with small children or for those who want to raise their chickens as pets as well as producers.
Ameraucanas – Developed in the United States in the 1970’s from the Araucana chickens brought from Chile. They are an excellent breed to consider if you are starting or expanding your flock. They lay beautiful blue or turquoise eggs and will usually produce around 200 per year.
Ameraucanas are very friendly, good natured and will often follow you around the yard or come running when they see you outside. They are also one of the quieter breeds, making them perfect for the backyard hobbiest. They are a hardy breed that handles confinement well. They do, however, enjoy a lot of room to forage and supplement their diet with plants and insects.
Egg laying depletes protein and calcium from the hens. Supply extra calcium in the form of crushed oyster shells. Protein enriched feed or a little cat food helps supplement their protein intake. Ameraucana roosters have an aggressive streak. Keep them separate from the hens and each other unless breeding.