Top 10 Breeds of Chicken

Here are some of my favourite chicken breeds. Surprisingly cute, chickens are a wonderfully affectionate addition to any garden.

When people think of chickens, they genuinely don’t perceive them to be the most interesting of animals. In truth, however, chickens come in a fascinating array of breeds, shapes and sizes, and some have gorgeous plumage! I keep chickens myself, and I assure you: they are wonderful pets, and surprisingly easy to keep. Below are my 10 favourite breeds of chicken, for varying reasons.

  1. Barnevelder

    This chicken is named after the Dutch town of Barneveld, the centre of egg production in the early 20th century. It has exquisite plumage, and is capable of laying around 200 caramel brown eggs per year.

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  2. Rhode Island Red

    Possibly the most famous farmyard chicken in the world. It lays more eggs than any other pure breed hen, laying around 260 a year. They make good pets, and are fairly easy-going too. They are eventhe official state bird of Rhode Island, USA!

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  3. Light Sussex

    Like the Rhode Island Red, lays around 260 cream to light-brown coloured eggs. Well known for being a particularly good show-bird, and my own Light Sussex is particularly friendly. Are quite happy being kept in a town garden!

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  4. Buff Orpington

    Listed simply because of how fluffy they are! Undeniably cute, make very good pets. Very good mothers, as they frequently go broody, but are not very good egg layers, and can be quite lazy!

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  5. Welsummer

    Happily kept in a back garden, originated in the village of Welsum in Holland. Lay about 200 eggs a year. Have not kept them myself, but I know they are a cross of many different breeds, including the above Barnevelder and Rhode Island Red!

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  6. Black Rock (Hybrid)

    A Hybrid of Rhode Island Red and Plymouth Rock, they are brilliant egg-layers, affectionate, and have gorgeous plumage. Brilliant egg-layers, they lay up to 320 eggs a year! Particularly curious and entertaining, my own have attempted to have a look around the house before! Hilarious company.

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  7. Speckledy Hen (Hybrid)

    Very attractive plumage, lay 260 eggs per year. Bred from the French Maran hen, they lay a dark brown egg. Active and boisterous, they are heavy eaters too! Make very good garden pets.

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  8. Japanese Bantam

    Has a large, upright tail. Incredibly cute, as a bantam they are naturally smaller. They dont lay very many eggs, but they make wonderful pets, and definetly have a noble, if somewhat humorous bearing!

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  9. Polish Bantam

    Thought to have actually originated in Holland, this bird is prized for its amusing puffball crest! Very popular, as they are good layers, and fairly tame too. Their size as a bantam means that they can be kept in smaller gardens. One disadvantage however, is that they are at particular risk of becoming infested with parasites due to their crests, and so you must de-louse them often.

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  10. Araucana

    A fascinating chicken, if somewhat difficult to find. On the top 10 because of its “ear tufts” and the fact that it lays pale blue to green eggs! It is also rumpless, missing its last vertebrae and lacking a tail.

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User Comments
  1. Vikram Chhabra

    On February 26, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    Wow, I never imagined that there could be so many breeds of chicken. I always associated chickens with my burgers…I guess I should be more respectful…

    Great article!

  2. CutestPrincess

    On February 27, 2009 at 9:57 am

    nice one! you did a great job here!

  3. Zoƫ

    On February 27, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Where’s the chicken that you showed me the other day, that was black and white and was just absolutely GORGEOUS?! [:
    xxxxx

  4. Karen

    On August 19, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    We are in the early stages of thinking of buying a couple of chickens for our garden so I was very pleased to find this article! Now thinking of buying a Black Rock and a Light Sussex as I would like friendly, entertaining chickens for our 3 children.

  5. zara

    On April 29, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Great article. I am thinking of buying chickens for both as pets and for their eggs. This has been valuable for my research.

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