Chicken breeds

If I do decide to get a few chickens, I’m looking at a few different dual-purpose heritage breeds. I think chicks are available most of the year, though, so no hurry.

Australorp (good layer and tasty)

“Attractive black birds developed in Australia, Australorps are especially known as good layers, but make good dual purpose breeds as well. Like Orpingtons, from whom they are descended, they have calm, docile personalities.” (

“Egg-laying: 260/year
Egg colour: Light Brown
Weight: Standard hen weighs 6 1/2 lb. (

“They are excellent layers of tinted eggs and hold the world record for egg production as a hen of the breed laid 364 eggs in 365 days! They are smaller and neater than Orpingtons but still have a lot of meat on them. […] The Australorp is an active breed and they are fast growers with hens reaching point of lay at around five months of age. They are amazingly productive and are not prone to broodiness. They make good pets as they are calm and friendly birds […] They will happily live in runs but they do enjoy being allowed to free range. They aren’t good fliers so fencing doesn’t need to be particularly high. They are also very hardy and will stand cold weather well. An Australorp cock will weigh in at around 8½ lbs while the hens tend to be in the region of 6½lbs.” (

Dominique (good layer, tasty meat)

“A heritage breed, now endangered, Dominiques are famous for their excellent foraging and mothering skills. Handsome and hardy, they make good choices for both eggs and meat.”(

“Dominiques were well known in the US prior to 1750 and provided eggs, meat, and chicks while foraging for their food in the farm yards of the newly settled colonies. By the 1850s the Dominique (or “Dominiker” as they were sometimes called) was the most popular of US chicken breeds but that was soon to change. The importation of Asiatic breeds soon pushed the Dominique out of the farmyards as the new “fancy” breeds became more available. Used to develop the Barred Plymouth Rock.” (

“Reasonably good layers (170 per annum) of light to dark brown eggs. Also good meat birds. Known for their hardiness – do well both on open range & in confinement. Generally calm by nature. High fertility -hatch well, feather early, mature young. Medium weight. 5-7 lbs. ” (

“The Dominique is a classic old American breed. It is often confused with the Barred Plymouth Rock. However, the differences are that the Dominique has a rose comb instead of single, and the Barred Plymouth Rock is larger. The dominque is often referred to as ‘dominecker’, which is a corruption of dominique. Special features: Goes broody occasionally, and are good mothers when they do. In the olden days, they were expected to earn their keep by raising a brood or two a year. Good in cold weather, such as that of the more northerly US states.” (

Barred Plymouth Rock

Another of the most popular breeds for small flocks, Barred Plymouth Rocks are friendly, cold hardy, and make good mothers. They lay plenty of large brown eggs and are also good meat birds. Other Rock breeds also make good choices for small flocks.(

“The Plymouth Rock is considered to be a heavy breed […] They are friendly birds which are easy to tame and are vigorous and hardy birds which don\’t need a lot of space but do appreciate the chance to run free, They are not good fliers so do not require high fencing. They lay a good number of cream coloured eggs averaging around 200 per year. Plymouth Rocks do tend towards broodiness though so regular egg collecting is important to avoid too much of this. (Three and a half stars in the garden).” (

Rhode Island Red

“One of the most popular dual purpose breeds ever bred, the Rhode Island Red is what many people picture when they think of a chicken. Rhode Island Reds are best known for their egg laying ability, but they are true dual purpose birds who also make a good dinner. Hardy and friendly, Rhode Island Reds do not tend to be especially broody.(
(I have heard these can be aggressive birds)
“Excellent farm chicken. Excellent layers of large brown eggs. Can produce around 180-300 eggs per year. Known for their hardiness. Average 7 1/2-8 1/2 lbs.” (“The Rhode Island is another bird created for both meat and eggs, to satisfy the demands of the American population.[…] Rhode Islands are classed as a heavy breed, but are active. They enjoy foraging on grass. They are bright and alert but at the same time quiet. They make great pets and are relatively hardy. They will produce a large amount of brown eggs a year. (Four stars in the garden).” (

“Origin: Rhode Island, USA.
Egg-laying: 260/year
Egg colour: Tinted/brown
Weight: Light large fowl. Also comes in bantam form.
Purpose: Egg laying.” (

2 Responses to “Chicken breeds”

  1. Jonathan Says:

    I love dominiques. They are calm, affectionate and expressive! Give them a gentle rub on the throat!

  2. Anonymous Says:


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