Popular backyard poultry breeds

If you wish to have a few backyard chickens to have a supply of eggs, you can purchase pullets at point of lay or spent hens (hens at the end of the commercial cycle) from a nearby commercial egg farm that keep Isa Brown or Hyline brown hens, that are usually fully vaccinated against the common poultry diseases.

Another option is to purchase hens from fancy breeders who believe that the best bird for a backyard is a crossbreed, both in terms of egg production and a long and healthy life. The more common crossbreeds are:

  • White leghorn cross –typically white and small. A good layer but not much meat. Can have a nervous disposition.
  • Australorp cross – typically black and large (so a good table bird once they have stopped laying). A tendency to go broody, so less productive in eggs. Usually a calm disposition.
  • Rhode Island Red cross –typically reddish brown. Highly productive in eggs and are usually calm. They are probably the best option for backyarders who simply want plenty of eggs with the least hassle.
Page last updated: 19 Feb 2024