Spring Chickens

our favorite chicken breeds

The countdown to Spring is well underway for farmers, homesteaders and all those anticipating a new batch of chicks! If you’re new to raising baby chicks, most choose to purchase them in the Spring when temperatures begin to rise. This period makes brooding easiest for those of us who live in a more seasonal climate. While brooding can be a full post of it’s own, I thought I would use this post to share some of our favorite breeds in our flock!

To most, a chicken is a chicken but there are several breeds, egg colors, temperaments and so forth that can attribute to raising a flock you’ll enjoy. 

Our first few chickens were gifted to us, then when we thought we were buying more of that breed we had accidentally bought a different breed. We lucked out, as they were also very friendly! That’s when we began to research breeds more thoroughly taking us from 3 chickens to about 50 in 2 short years. Our flock consists of a variety of breeds, but the ones we’ve chosen today are our staples and ones we constant recommend to those seeking new additions! We’ve also added a few we have our eye for this coming year!

Grandma, the OG Golden Buff

Egg Layers

Golden Buff

The holy layer of all layers. The Golden Buff goes by several names such as golden comet, isa brown, red sex-link and more! This breed is not only docile but can lay over 360 eggs a year. When we first moved to our homestead, we were gifted three Golden Buffs, one of which still remains as our OG promptly named Grandma.

If you’re looking for a producer, this is your gal!

 

Rhode Island Red

The second breed of chicken we purchased the following year was the Rhode Island Red. This is mostly due to the fact that we were confused by what breed our Golden Buffs were, because they go by so many names! The Rhode Island Red can often get a bad rep, as the males can be aggressive. The females however, are very calm and can lay over 260 eggs annually. The also make a great dual purpose breed if you’re looking to use your flock for both eggs and meat.  

Barred Rock 

Black Australorp & Barred Rock 

If you’re looking to add a little variety from the traditional chicken appearance, look no further than the Black Australorp and Barred Rock! The Australorp has beautiful black feathers with an iridsent sheen. We refer to the Barred Rocks as zebras with their black and white barred feathers. Both breeds are also calm, dual purpose and can lay up to 250 large brown eggs a year.

Colored Egg Layers

Despite the common misconception that there is a health difference between brown and white eggs, we do primarily keep brown egg layers. Why? For the simple fact that most white egg laying breeds can be flighty and skittish. We like to keep our flock pretty friendly sticking to brown egg layers and a few colored egg laying breeds.  

Lakeshore Egger Hen & Rooster

Lakeshore Egger

Most breeds with “Egger” in the name are hybrid breeds (a cross between two chickens), which is what causes the different egg shell colors. The Lakeshore Eggers are active, but easy to handle, laying an array of large blue, green and brown eggs a the rate of 250+ annually. 

 

Olive Egger

Again, as a hybrid there can be some variance in egg color but the Olive Eggers primarily lay medium olive colored eggs. This friendly breed lays an average of 200 eggs per year.  

Rare Breeds


Black Copper Maran

The Black Copper Maran is a much sought after breed due to it’s dark egg color. One of the darkest brown egg laying breeds, laying an average of 200 medium eggs they’re a fun addition to your standard egg basket.

Black Copper Maran

Silver Laced Wyandotte

Blue Laced Red Wyandotte

Not to geek out on you, but the blue gene in chicks is a fascinating one, as it can vary quite drastically in tone. The unusual color variance in the Blue Laced Red Wyandote makes it a unique addition to any flock.  There are various colors of the Wyandotte breed including Silver Laced and Golden Laced, but all Wyandottes are considered gentle laying 200 large brown eggs annually. We currently have some very chatty Silver Laced Wyandottes, with our eyes still on the Blue Laced Red Breed! 

Lavender Orpington

The Buff Orpington is a more common breed you may be familar with, but the breed is also avaialble in Blue and Lavender! With the blue gene variance at play the rarity of the Lavender Orpington is awfully enticing. Any color of Orpington breed you choose, you won’t be disappointed as they’re incredibly docile, and even known to be affectionate laying 200 large brown eggs annually!

So where do you get chicks from? Most are familiar with Tractor Supply’s chick days. While we have purchased chicks from there (because how can you resist..) most of the chickens we have today are from Meyer Hatchery! We love the ability to shop our chicken breeds online, mix and match breeds, the option to choose gender and have them shipped. Whether you’ve ordered your chicks from them or not, we highly recommend checking them out!

We’re curious to know, what’s your favorite chicken breed and who do you order from?

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