There are many, many chicken breeds to choose from that suit many needs. Over time, chickens have been primarily bred for three things- for egg production, for meat production, and for the best balance of both of these factors. But with the recent upsurge in backyard chicken keeping for more than just food, chickens that are just as good as beautiful pets as they are at making eggs (even more fun with a egg cuber) are becoming a sought after commodity. And, in many settings, good chicken pets need other qualities such as tameness, quietness, calmness, and gentleness. Balancing these qualities can make for an ideal chicken in any backyard. Here’s a rundown of the best breeds that can have all of these qualities.
- Orpingtons are a favorite chicken breed the world over, and for absolute good reason. They’re adorable, large breed chickens that are quiet. Many keepers often refer to them as puppies in feathers. They lay eggs very well, and if you’re so inclined are also good heritage meat birds. They do well in the cold weather, and good in hot weather. They’re tough, healthy birds. But, they’re gentle, quiet disposition and egg production make them easily tamed, fluffy, happy breakfast machines that love living with people. And, they come in many wonderful colors. One of the most popular is buff- a beautiful reddish yellow solid color reminiscent of every barn and farmyard.
- The Silkie is an old breed that was once bred for its interestingly dark colored meat, but now is enjoyed as a very adorable, poodle-like lap chicken that people seem to collect like all toy dogs, or even fancy Persian cats. You may have even read or heard a story or two about a house chicken in a diaper that is much loved and overly spoiled. It was probably a Silkie. Quiet, small, fluffy hair-like plumage sets Silkies apart. Silkie hens especially sport a fluff ball of feathers on top of their heads, comically and endearing they are. Silkie roosters have a more swept-back pompadours. They have feathers all the way down to their feet and also come in numerous colors and mixes, and are a small little chicken. For their size, they lay eggs surprisingly well too, and are actually pretty hardy and healthy chickens. Gentle and calm, you’ll find yourself wanting to bring them in the house like a pup or cat too!
- And finally, the Cochin makes our list of best backyard chicken breeds- as they are also wonderful, calm pets. They come in standard size (a large bird) or in the very popular bantam size. Both sizes of birds have the same calm and sweet disposition. They often enjoy being picked up and held, and aren’t heavy garden scratchers. In appearance they are super fluffy, round little basketballs of adorable-ness, with heavy feathering all over their bodies and onto their feet. Extremely quiet, they’re also good with children. And like the other two breeds here, they’re hardy and healthy and lay surprisingly well.
We hope you enjoy our favorite chicken breeds for the backyard. Remember, chickens are also individuals and will have personalities of their own. But overall, these breeds are sure to please!