My Favorite Backyard Breeds

Rhode Island Reds – The Reds are friendly chickens with a good nature. They areusually friendlier with familiar people, such as those responsible for feeding. They are very good pets for children. Rhode Island Reds are tough birds, resistant to illness, good at foraging and free ranging, and typically docile, quiet, and friendly. They are good layers through cold periods. Rhode Island Reds are excellent egg layers. They can end up producing up to 300 large,
light to dark brown eggs per year.

Sussex – The Sussex chicken is an alert, docile breed that can adapt to any surrounding, they are comfortable in both free range or confined spaces. The breed sometimes (but not very often) goes broody, the speckled version is most likely to do so. They are good foragers. The Sussex was bred to be a dual purpose bird and is one of the most productive breeds of poultry. They lay large eggs that are cream to light brown in color. A person owning a hen of this breed should expect approximately 240 to 260 eggs a year.

Plymouth Rock – Often called simply Rocks or Barred Rocks. Generally, Plymouth Rocks are not aggressive, and tame quite easily. They are docile and may show broodiness. Plymouth Rocks lay a large egg that varies in color from light to medium brown, sometimes with a touch of pink. The birds continue laying all through the winter with decreased production. On average, each hen will lay more than 200 eggs per year. Choice among families who choose to raise chickens at home as pets. The birds are well-adaptable to confinement or free range, are docile, friendly, and easily-handled.

Star – also called Black Sex Link and Red Sex Link – They are cross-bred chickens whose color at hatching is differentiated by sex. Blacks are a cross between a Rhode Island Red rooster and a Barred Rock hen. Sex-links can be extremely good egg-layers which often produce 300 eggs a year. Generally they are considered to be a friendly breed.


Wyandotte –  These come in a variety of sizes, the most common of which are the golden laced and the silver laced.  The hens weigh around 6 pounds and handle confinement in a run well.  They are a friendly breed and are not that flighty.  They will lay over 200 brown eggs a year.



Australorp – They were bred in the late 1800’s from Rhode Island Reds and Black Orpingtins with a few other breeds mixed in.  They have glossy black feathers that have a green sheen.  Australorps work well in backyards being hardy, docile, and very good egg layers.  They will lay 250 or more light brown eggs a year.


Welsummer – These chickens originated from the town called Welsum in the Netherlands.  Welsummers were bred from; Rhode Island Reds, Barnevelders, Wyandottes, leghorns, and cochins.  They are a smaller more docile breed that is a very good layer of really dark brown eggs that sometimes are spotty.  The rooster on the Kellogs cornflakes box is a Welsummer.