The type of chicken breeds that you choose will largely depend on what you consider to be important for you and your family.
It is however important to consider the following factors before you decide on the best breed of chickens to keep:
The Climate of Your Region
Choosing a hen that will ultimately lay a lot of eggs is great but your first consideration should be the climate of the region you live in.
Most chicken breeds are hard enough to survive in both cold climates but there are specific breeds that struggle in hot conditions. For example, Brahmas and Chanteclers do well in cool conditions while other breeds such as Minorcas and Phoenix chickens prefer warm climates.
If the place you live in has warm and humid conditions for a large part of the year, you will do well by choosing chicken breeds that are heat tolerant such as Leghorns, Andalusians, and Penedesencas. These breeds of small bodies and large combs enable them to stay cool in hot conditions.
If you live in a cold climate area, go for large-bodied chickens that have small combs such as Australorps, Cochins, Wyandottes, Barred Rocks, and Buff Orpingtons. The most important thing to consider is finding a breed of chickens that best survives and thrives well in your climatic conditions.
Annual Egg Production
We now come to one of the most common traits people look for in a chicken breed. This is about egg production. All chickens are birds and therefore they produce eggs, including ornamental or pet breeds. Even a chicken breed with medium egg production will be sufficient for your family.
However, egg production and size vary from one breed to another. So, if you keep small-sized Bantam chickens expect to get smaller eggs, which will probably not be enough for your full cake recipes.
If you are looking for maximum egg production in the chickens you keep, you may consider going for good egg layers such as the Barred Rock, Leghorn, Sussex, Delaware, and Rhode Island Red. These are breeds famous for giving you a good number of eggs over a year.
It is also worth noting that no chicken breed can give you an egg every single day but a good layer will ensure that you have around five to six eggs every week, especially during the spring and summer months.
This is another important consideration, especially if you have young children or you want a flock of friendly birds that you can even feed out of your palm.
Friendly and calm breeds include Australops, Silkies, Buff Orpingtons, Cochins, Faverolles, and Brahmas. Brahma are also known for being extremely docile.
They are almost half the size of most chicken breeds and are therefore less intimidating, especially to kids.
The Color of Eggs
Egg color is another consideration people look for in their choice of chicken breed. Well, while a basket full of multi-colored eggs sounds quite exciting, egg color should not really be your first consideration. After all most chicken breeds produce brown eggs.
Some Mediterranean breeds produce white eggs, while Marans lay dark chocolate brown eggs. Other breeds like the Cream Legbar and the Ameraucana produce uniquely beautiful blue eggs, while Olive Eggers will give you olive green eggs. If you want fun different colored eggs, you may consider going for Easter Eggers.
Easter Eggers produce a different colored egg ranging from blue and green to pink and cream. Remember that you will know the color of eggs your hen lays only after she has laid her first eggs.
How Much Space You Have
The size of the breed you choose can factor into your decision if you’re operating in a tight space. Bantam chickens are generally smaller in size, and so more chickens can fit on the roost at night, or in your yard, or whatever other limiting factors you might have. The tradeoff is that they’re generally going to produce smaller eggs though.
Overall Appearance and Beauty
This would only be a consideration if you intend to keep fancy pretty chickens with unique beautiful feathers and feet.
Fine examples include Cochins, Marans, and Faverolles – or other chickens with unique features such as beards and cheek muffs such as the Ameraucanas, and crazy hairdos such as the Polish breed.
These are often not known to be the best egg layers but will definitely entertain and delight you with their attractive appearance, and make great pets.