Choosing the Right Breed

Choosing a chicken breed is important for a variety of reasons. The chicken breed you choose ultimately depends on the purpose your chicken will serve. That could be for meat, eggs, or to have them as pets. 

Certain breeds are better for egg laying, like Black Australorps or Plymouth Rocks. Other breeds are better for meat purposes, like the Cornish Cross. If you are just beginning the journey of chicken keeping, it might be best to choose a dual-purpose breed. The most popular dual-purpose breeds include Brahmas, Cochins, New Hampshire and Rhode Island Reds, Wyandottes, Ameraucanas, Barred Rocks, or Buff Orpingtons. 

Time and Maintenance 

An important factor to consider before choosing a chicken breed is how much time and maintenance they require. Some breeds are low maintenance and don't require a lot of attention like Australorps, Delawares, Plymouth Rocks, or Buff Orpingtons. Other breeds can require more maintenance like Leghorns because they are high-energy chickens. 

Local Climate

Before you decide on the breed, make sure they are suitable for weather conditions and the climate where you live. Most often, chickens are fine in all climates. 

If you live in colder climates these breeds do well, Wyandottes, Rhode Island Reds, New Hampshire Reds, Barred Rocks, Delawares, Brahmas, Plymouth Rocks, and Black Australorps. Heat tolerant breeds include Silkies, Rhode Island Reds, Buff Orpingtons, and Plymouth Rocks. 

Choosing the Right Chicken Coop

Choosing the right chicken coop is a very important step in chicken keeping. Depending on the breed you choose, you might be fine with a smaller setup, or you might need a larger setup with lots of space. Chicken coops are essential to raising a healthy flock and should give them a safe place to protect them from weather elements and predators. Check out our Beginners Guide to Raising Chickens for more tips on selecting the right chicken coop for you and your flock. 

Large OverEZ Chicken Coop

What Should A First Time Chicken Owner Look For?

Generally as a first time chicken owner, these chicken characteristics are most popular:

  • Easy to maintain
  • Lay lots of eggs
  • Friendly
  • Quiet

Best Chicken Breeds for Beginners

Buff Orpingtons

Buff Orpingtons are a very popular breed, and are known for their egg-laying and hardiness. They are a great chicken breed for beginners due to their sociable and friendly nature. 

Buff Orpington chickens are a dual-purpose breed, and lay about 3-4 eggs per week, which is about 180 eggs per year. Their egg production is slightly lower than other breeds because they are known for getting broody during the summer. They are easy to care for and remain one of the most popular breeds of chicken for those who value both egg production and pet compatibility. 

  • Temperament: Gentle, friendly, and sociable
  • Size:
    • Males: 7.9 - 10 pounds
    • Females: 6 - 7.9 pounds
  • Egg Laying Capacity: 180 medium sized brown eggs
  • Color: Buff is the most common, but can also be black, blue, and white
  • Climate: Tolerates the cold and heat
  • Lifespan: 8 years 

Buff Orpington Hen

Rhode Island Reds

Rhode Island Reds are a dual-purpose breed, useful for eggs and meat. They are a popular choice for people looking for docile, friendly, and hardy chickens. This breed is higher maintenance and require lots of attention or they can become detached. If you plan on spending lots of time with your chickens, this breed is a great choice. 

Rhode Island Reds have high egg productivity, and lay up to 250 medium sized brown eggs per year. 

  • Temperament: Friendly and gentle towards people and children 
  • Size:
    • Males: 8.5 pounds
    • Females: 6.5 pounds
  • Egg Laying Capacity: 250 eggs per year
  • Color: Red
  • Climate: Tolerates the cold and heat
  • Lifespan: 5 years

Rhode Island Red Chicken

Plymouth Rocks

Plymouth Rocks are one of the most popular choices for dual-purpose breeds. They are known to be very active, friendly, easy to raise, and trainable. They are an excellent choice for a backyard pet chicken. This breed is a great choice for beginners because they are low maintenance and provide reliable egg production. 

Plymouth Rocks lay around 4 eggs per week, which is 200 medium-sized eggs per year. Their tolerance to the cold and ability to actively produce eggs in the winter months make them a suitable breed for colder climates. 

  • Temperament: Friendly, active, and trainable
  • Size:
    • Males: 9.5 pounds
    • Females: 7.5 pounds
  • Egg Laying Capacity: 200 medium-sized, brown eggs per year
  • Color: Black and White
  • Climate: Tolerates the cold and heat
  • Lifespan: 10-12 years

Plymouth Rock Chicken


Dominique chickens are a dual purpose breed, extremely friendly, and make great pets. This breed is an especially perfect pet for children and first time chicken owners. They are low maintenance and self sufficient. 

They lay around 230-270 medium-sized light brown eggs per year. Dominiques go broody occasionally, so they are a perfect breed for reliable egg production. 

  • Temperament: Extremely friendly and gentle
  • Size:
    • Males: 7 pounds
    • Females: 5 pounds
  • Egg Laying Capacity: 230-270 medium-sized, light brown eggs per year
  • Color: Black and White
  • Climate: Tolerates the cold and heat
  • Lifespan: 6-8 years

Dominique Chicken

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Delaware chickens are a dual-purpose breed, and are extremely calm, gentle, and friendly. They are ideal for first time chicken keepers due to their low maintenance lifestyle. Delawares are also great for families with children due to their docile nature. 

Delaware chickens lay around 4 eggs per year, which is around 200 light brown eggs per year. They do not go broody very often, making them a great breed for egg reliability. 

  • Temperament: Calm, gentle, and friendly
  • Size:
    • Males: 8 pounds
    • Females: 6 pounds
  • Egg Laying Capacity: 200 light brown eggs per year
  • Color: Black and White
  • Climate: Tolerates the cold and heat
  • Lifespan: 5 years

Black Australorps

Black Australorps are a great choice for beginners due to their friendly, sweet temperament, and outgoing nature. They do extremely well in cold climates and are exceptional egg layers. Laying six eggs a week, and over 300 eggs per year. 

  • Temperament: Friendly, sweet, and outgoing
  • Size:
    • Males: 6 to 8 pounds
    • Females: 5 to 7 pounds
  • Egg Laying Capacity: About 300 eggs per year
  • Color: Black
  • Climate: Tolerates the cold, does not do well in heat
  • Lifespan: 6 - 10 years

Black Australorp

Speckled Sussex

Speckled Sussex chickens are a dual-purpose breed, and are friendly and docile. They are a hardy breed and do well especially in cold climates. These birds are a great option for beginners due to their low maintenance, friendly nature. 

Speckled Sussex chickens will lay around 250 eggs per year, and are known to rarely go broody. Making them a reliable choice for egg production. 

  • Temperament: Friendly, docile, and enjoy the company of humans
  • Size: 
    • Males: 9 pounds
    • Females: 7 pounds
  • Egg Laying Capacity: About 250 eggs per year
  • Color: Brown features, with black and white speckled pattern
  • Climate: Tolerates the cold and heat
  • Lifespan: 8+ years


Do you have chicken breed recommendations for first time chicken owners? Let us know in the comments! 

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OverEZ Chicken Coop has everything you need to make raising chickens EZ!