By Melissa Wynn

[media-credit name=”Stacy Fisher” align=”alignleft” width=”300″]Chicken 1[/media-credit]

So you’ve decided to raise some chickens. The first question is what are you raising , the chicken or the egg? Many first timers are just looking for a few birds that can peck around and lay some eggs, others want table chickens for meat production and some would like a bit of both. Next do you want white eggs, brown eggs or blue-green colored eggs? Here are a few details to help you choose the breed best for you.

Leghorn chicken breeds are arguably  the best laying chickens around save the Rhode Island breeds.  A small, white, noisy bird with red comb and waddle, Leghorns like to move about. They are good foragers and can often glean much of their diet from ranging over fields and barnyards. Leghorns are light and like to take flight and often roost in trees when available. Leghorns lay more than 300 white eggs a year.


Australorp breeds are Autralian birds developed from the Orpington chicken. These larger plump fowl have black feathers with a green sheen and a red comb and waddle. These breakfast makers are popular fortheir ability to lay eggs from as early as 5 months. Australorps lay about 300 dark brown eggs a year, so another good layer for chicken eggs.
The Rhode Island Red Chickens are another excellent source of medium brown eggs. Relatively hardy, they are probably the best egg layers of the dual purpose breeds. These are a great choice for those who wish to raise table chickens as well as collect eggs. Reds handle marginal diets and poor housing conditions better than other breeds and still continue to produce eggs,  200-250  a year.
The Barnvelder is the bird for you if you desire a quiet and often lazy little bird that lays 180-200 light brown eggs a year. Originally from the town of Barnvelder in Holland, it is the most popular dual purpose chicken in this country, great for eggs or the stew pot. Brown and buff bodies with black heads and small red comb make this breed a dapper looking bird.  A good chicken for damp and cold, windy climates makes the Barnvelder a  great choice for higher elevations.

If colored eggs for fun is what you’re after then perhaps the Aracuna is the breed for you. The Araucana is a South American bird that is rumpless and a producer of 180-200 medium-sized blue/green eggs a year. Although the eggs are smaller, no dying needed for the Easter basket.

These are just a few of the breeds available for your own backyard barnyard. For a longer list and more details an awesome visit is