In our more than 15 years of backyard chicken husbandry we’ve tried a lot of breeds. And if you’re a beginner, you should too. It’s part of the fun. Thumbing through the Murray McMurray catalog – “Ooo, look at the mop top on that Polish…oh, oh, check out that Blue Andalusian, it’s actually blue!”
But when you’ve tried all those and you’re ready to settle in to an ideal breed for the average home chicken raiser, get yourself some Buff Orpingtons.
They have it all. First, they’re beautiful. Buttery yellow, pretty red comb, full plumage. They’re just nice to look at.
Next, they’re nice, which is not true of all breeds (I had an Araucana once that was certifiable). Very mild mannered and docile, perfect around kids, these girls are sweeties. I say “girls” because you don’t need to, nor ever should, have roosters.
Buffs are also very hardy, in hot and cold weather. They’re just tough. And long-lived. Ours routinely live five years or more.
Last, they lay like the dickens. A healthy hen in her prime will lay five eggs a week or so, creamy tan-shelled chicken embryos.
Get Buff Orpingtons. They’re the best all-around backyard chicken breed there is.
A couple other options
- Rhode Island Reds – lots of the same characteristics as Buffs, but a little more temperamental. Hardy, long-lived layers though.
- Plymouth Rocks – great chickens as well, just not as pretty. Sorry, we’re shallow.
Mostly, have fun
Especially if you’re a beginner. Try those weird breeds and see what suits you. But in the end, I think you’ll agree that a good flock of Buff Orpingtons will make you happy.