There are different kinds of chickens out there, and it can be hard to tell them apart. Different chickens have temperaments and require different care needs. Regardless of your level of experience at caring for chickens, it’s helpful to know what kind of chicken you have to ensure you’ll raise them properly.
What kind of chicken do you have? You most likely have any of the most popular chicken breeds like the Wyandottes, Plymouth Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, Leghorns, and Orpingtons. Many people own these chickens and keep them in their backyards.
Read on for more fun facts about chicken breeds!
How Many Chicken Breeds Are There?
There are 53 recognized chicken breeds in the American Poultry Association and more than 500 unique varieties outside those standards. This doesn’t include all the different smaller breeds that have been developed and not recognized.
Chicken breeds fall into 2 main categories: bantam and standard. Bantam chickens are smaller versions of standard breeds. Standard chickens are much larger and can be harder to raise. They require much larger spaces and more food than other breeds.
What Is the Most Common Chicken Breed?
The most numerous chicken breed is the Cornish Cross, which is used for meat production. Wyandotte chickens are the most common pet chicken breed.
Domestic and food chickens are raised for different purposes, and they are each popular for other reasons. They both have pros and cons that are important to their goal.
Wyandottes, Plymouth Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, Leghorns, and Orpingtons are all domestic chicken breeds. They’re prevalent because they’re friendly, easy to care for and raise, and hearty.
So, domestic chickens should be healthy, friendly, and easy to raise. All of these traits will make them ideal for families and small backyard production. They’ll live long lives and weather many diseases.
The most populous production chicken is the Cornish Cross. It is a breed known for its fast growth because it is meant for meat production. They are not very healthy birds in the long term and should not be kept as domestic birds.
They’re designed to grow for slaughter and gain bulk very quickly. You shouldn’t keep them as flock chickens. They have weak immune systems and are prone to organ failure and other health issues, so they don’t do well in family settings.
What Is the Largest Chicken Breed?
- Jersey Giant Chicken: This is the largest chicken breed developed in New Jersey. They can grow as large as 6.8 kg (14.99 lb.), and males range between 55 and 66 cm tall (21.65–25.98 in).
- Brahma chicken: This is the second-largest chicken developed in India. They’re a large, feather-legged chicken usually around 76 cm (29.92 in) tall and typically weigh between 3 and 5 kg (6.61 and 11.02 lb.).
Both of these breeds are distinctive because of their size. They’re so heavy that flight is near impossible, and they spend most of their time roaming around and foraging. Both of them require large runs and lots of space to move around.
These are the 2 most prominent, but some chickens are on the far end of the spectrum. They’re so small that you can hold the roosters in your hands. These tiny breeds are members of the Bantam family, and the smallest is the Malaysian Serama.
What Is the Smallest Chicken Breed?
The smallest chicken breed is the Malaysian Serama Bantam. They’re between 15 and 25 cm (5.90 and 9.84 in) tall and weigh only as much as 500 g (1.10 lb.).
The Malaysian Serama comes in a micro variety that is the most miniature version of this breed. They can weigh as little as 0.2 kg (0.44 lb.) and stay under a foot (0.30 m) tall.
Bantam breeds are the smallest breed of chicken. They’re smaller versions of some of the giant breeds. These chickens are shorter, weigh less, and are generally better tempered.
While temperament isn’t a sure thing, this is something that the Bantams have consistently shown. Bantams are generally easy-going and work well in blended breed flocks. They also come in various colors.
What Breed of Chicken Is Grey?
Any chicken breed can be grey, and it’s one of the most common colors of chicken. Blue variations give a bluish-grey tint to any color pattern and can be created in any bird with at least one black parent.
Chickens come in different grey spectrums: silver, true grey, blue, and speckled color patterns. There are also color patterns like salt and pepper that can fall under the grey category.
Grey is one of the natural colors that chickens come in. It’s prevalent, and as we have said, every breed of chicken can form some grey color. On the other hand, blue colors are also a common mutation that can show up in non-grey birds.
Blue colors are caused when 2 parents with black coloration and blue carrying genes mate and produce offspring. The grey gene manifests and dilutes the black color. It creates a silver tone that’s highly coveted.
This same blue tone manifests in dogs, horses, and cows. It’s widespread with domestic animals and can create beautiful color patterns. In many other animals, the blue color is accompanied by blue eyes.
Andalusian chickens are one of the most common grey and blue chicken breeds. They can manifest both color variations all the time and are readily available. These chickens are friendly and work well in flocks. They’re more squat and round than other breeds.
Ameraucana chickens are also friendly and common, available in different colors, including salt and pepper, grey, and grey mixed. They’re social, curious birds that’ll be perfect for any flock. These chickens are usually thin and lean, hence unideal meat birds.
The most notable thing about Ameraucanas is that they lay ‘easter eggs.’ Their smaller eggs come in shades of green and blue. A single chicken will lay one color of egg, but in a flock, there can be many different shades.
What Is the Friendliest Chicken Breed?
Jersey Giants are the most friendly chicken breed. Plymouth Rocks, Silkies, and Wyandottes are all very friendly, too. Other rarer breeds are also lovely and good in flocks.
Ameraucana and Andalusian chickens are excellent for beginners because of their temperament. They’re also great with kids. These chickens function well in flocks. While they aren’t exactly the most cuddly chickens, they make great pets.
What Breeds Make a Red Ranger Chicken?
Cornish, Rhode Island Reds, New Hampshire, Delaware, and other everyday use chickens make a red ranger chicken when crossed breed. The entire breed heritage has been lost to time, yet they are good dual-purpose chickens with the best breeds.
Red Rangers are meant to be premium egg layers and great meat birds. They were bred to be ideal for harvesting meat and eggs with high egg production and quick growing times.
These chickens are more independent and typically free-range. They dislike confinement and should be raised in small flocks. Additionally, they’re also excellent cohabitors with other breeds and aren’t known for broodiness.
However, keepers have complained that these chickens don’t have the same level of meat production as other breeds and that they have small core parts, such as the breasts and thighs. This can be due to a longer range and poor keeping rather than a problem in the breed.
Red Rangers have been a consistent and well-working breed. These chickens grow well and are generally easy to care for. They need a lot of feed to function well and shouldn’t be kept too long.
List of Sources
Choosing a Chicken Breed: Eggs, Meat, or Exhibition