Breeds Of Chickens

If you are thinking of raising chickens, you will need to know the available breeds of chickens and their descriptions.

If you are going to raise chickens, you will need to know the available breeds and descriptions.

The first thing to decide is which breed will best suit the needs for your raising chickens.

Chickens come in many shapes, colors and sizes and this will be a major decision. A breed is a group of which all in this group will have the same physical features such as body shape or type, skin color, carriage or station, number of toes and featured or non-feathered shanks. Variety is a sub-division of a breed. Strains are families or breeding populations possessing the same common traits.


Varieties: Single Comb Dark Brown, Single Comb Light Brown, Rose Comb Dark Brown, Rose Comb Light Brown, Single Comb White, Rose Comb White, Single Comb Bluff, Single Comb Black, Single Comb Silver, Single Comb Red, Single Comb Black Tailed Red, Single Comb Columbian.

Standard Weights: Cock 6 pounds, hen 4 1/2 pounds, cockerel 5 pounds and pullet 4 pounds.

Skin Color: Yellow

Egg Shell Color: White

Use: An egg-type chicken, Leghorns are in most of our modern egg-type strains.

Origin: Leghorns were named after the city of Leghorn, Italy, their place of origin.

Characteristics: A small, spritely, noisy bird with lots of style. They are good foragers, like to move about, often glean much of their diet from barnyards and fields. They can fly easily and will actually roost in trees. They are noted for egg production and usually have large heads.

Plymouth Rocks:

Varieties: Barred, White Buff, Partridge, Silver Penciled, Blue and Columbian.

Standard Weights: Cock 9 1/2 pounds, hen 7 1/2 pounds, pullet 6 pounds and cockeral 8 pounds.

Skin Color: Yellow

Egg Shell Color: Brown

Origin: These chickens were developed in the barred variety in the last part of the l9th century. These are noted for the meaty back and birds with barred feathers are considered premium. The name Plymouth Rock implies a barred bird, this is the designation for the breed.

Characteristics: They are very good farm chickens, are docile, will be broody, have a long, broad back, deep full breast and one comb.

Some of these are good layers but they are mostly grown for the meat. These chickens make good mothers, their feathers are fairly loose but don't tangle, and they aren't very aggressive.


Varieties: Dark, Buff, White Laced Red, White

Standard Weights: Pullet 6 1/2 pounds, hen 8 pounds, cockeral 8 1/2 pounds and cock 10 1/2 pounds.

Skin Color: Yellow

Egg Shell Color: Brown

Use: These have the best meat, and have excellent muscle development and arrangements giving them wonderful carcass shape.

Origin: The Cornish were developed in Cornwall, England, have the obvious influence of Malay and other oriental food, their white meat is of fine texture.

Characteristics: These chickens have legs of large diameter, widely spaced and have a broad, well muscled body. The males are often pugnacious and the chicks tend to be cannibalistic. To look at these chickens you will find them very impressive. The feathers are short and close to the body and not much of the skin is exposed. In cold weather they will need protection as the feathers don't insulate very well.


Varieties: Black, Partridge, Silver Penciled, Silver Laced, White, Buff, Columbian and Golden Laced.

Standard Weights: Pulled 5 1/2 pounds, cockerel 7 1/2 pounds, hen 6 1/2 pounds and the cock 8 1/2 pounds.

Skin Color: Yellow

Egg Shell Color: Brown

Use: Meat or eggs

Origin: These were developed in New York State and some in the north and northern states in the last part of the l9th century and early 20th century.

Characteristics: These are a good, medium-weight and are useful in small family flocks under even rugged conditions. They have an attractive curvy shape, gentle disposition and are very attractive with their color patterns. Sometimes single combed offspring come from rose combed parents and these should not be kept for breeders.

Rhode Island Reds:

Varieties: Rose Comb and Single Comb

Standard Weights: Pullet 5 1/2 pounds, cockeral 7 1/2 pounds, hen 6 1/2 pounds and cock 8 1/2 pounds.

Skin Color: Yellow

Egg Shell Color: Brown

Use: These are a medium heavy fowl, and are used more for egg production than meat production.

Origin: These were developed in the New England in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and are influenced by Malay blood and thus their deep red color, strong constitution and hard feathers.

Characteristics: These Reds are good for a small flock, hardy and probably the best egg layers of the dual purpose breeds. They don't need specific housing conditions and always continue producing eggs. Some of the male Reds are very aggressive, have long bodies and are dark red in color. Most Reds will be broody.

New Hampshire Reds:

Varieties: None

Standard Weights: Pullet 5 1/2 pounds, cockerel 7 1/2 pounds, hen 6 1/2 pounds and cock 8 1/2 pounds.

Skin Color: Yellow

Egg Shell Color: Brown

Use: This is a multi-purpose chick and is used more for meat production than for egg production. It is medium in weight, and can dress as a plump carcass as either a roaster or a broiler.

Origin: These are a new breed introduced in l935. They are specialized from the Rhode Island Red breed, for rapid growth, fast feathering, maturity and vigor.

Characteristics: These Reds possess a deep, broad body, grow feathers very rapid and will brood and make good mothers. The pin feathers are a reddish buff in color and don't detract from the carcass appearance very much. These are good, medium sized meat, and have good laying ability.

© High Speed Ventures 2011