Silver-Laced Wyandottes

The Wyandotte chicken, in general, is well-known to be an all-around bird. They have a beautiful, simple appearance, they lay a fair number of eggs, but also are a good meat bird when it is their time. The Silver-Laced variety was the first developed of the Wyandotte chickens, around the year of 1885, with all of the other varieties emerging a few years later. This breed in particular is known to have a pleasant curved appearance, with a deep saddle and graceful lines.
  • Appearance: Silver-laced Wyandottes have silver-white feathers with a black lacing (black edge on feather). The black may have a slight sheen to it, and the thickness of the lacing may vary both from chicken to chicken, and on different parts of the body. They have a red rose comb (occasional single, but these are considered an impure variety), red earlobes, yellow skin, a yellow beak, and red-bay eyes.
  • Weight: Rooster- 8.5 Hen-6.5 Cockerel-7.5 Pullet-5.5*
  • Purpose: They are dual purpose.*
  • Origin: New York State, America
  • Common: Yes
  • Egg color: Brown
  • Egg size: Large to X-Large
  • Eggs a week/year: 3-4 eggs a week/180-200 a year
  • Broody: Yes
  • Confinement: Well
  • Compatibility: Good
  • Hardy: They are relatively heat hardy, but more so in the cold due to their feathering, and their rose combs which are better suited to cold weather than single combs.
  • Bantam: Yes*
  • Personality: Known to be a very energetic and vocal chicken, they are also motherly and not as aggressive as usual.
A good chicken that not only is a fair egg producer, but also fun to show to your friends and family.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user: Rick Scully
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*for more information on terms listed above, see Key to Chicken Entries

Buff Orpington

The most common of the Orpington chicken breeds, the Buff version is a later-developed variety, developed by William Cook in Orpington, Kent, England. This chicken was revealed in 1894, and made its way to the USA soon afterward. They hit a decline, but are now recovering and becoming a popular choice for the backyard chicken owners like us. They lay a good number of eggs and are heavily and loosely feathered (lots of feathers that are fluffed outward).

  • Appearance: They should be a buff color, which would look like a rich amber or yellow-orange, there are many that look more dark, or light in color, but try to get as close between as you can. They have a red single comb, red earlobes, white skin, a light pink beak, and red-bay eyes.
  • Weight: Rooster-10 Hen-8 Cockerel-8.5 Pullet-7*
  • Purpose: They are dual purpose, especially with their heavy frame.*
  • Origin: Buff Orpingtons were bred in Orpington, Kent, England, like I said before.
  • Common: Yes, the Buff variety is the most common of the Orpington breed, but not as common as the White Leghorn or Rhode Island Red.
  • Egg color: Light brown
  • Egg size: Medium
  • Eggs a week/year: 3-4 eggs a week/175-200 a year
  • Broody: Yes, they prefer to have large batches of eggs and will be very maternal.
  • Confinement: They are very easy-going by nature, and it is not like them to try to escape.
  • Compatibility: As they are larger, and more laid-back, they are often low in the pecking order. As a result they along great with other Buff Orpingtons, but may be picked on by other chickens.
  • Hardy: They are very cold hardy from all of their feathers, but they may not do too well in the heat for the same reason.
  • Bantam: Yes*
  • Personality: As I said Buff Orpingtons are very laid back, and maternal. They are very loving to their owner, and are the kind of chicken that you could handle and pet a lot.
Buff Orpingtons are a very friendly, loving chicken. They produce a good number of eggs, and are very good for roasting. Definitely good if you would want to show your chicken to your friends, and family, while still being useful.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user: vylettefairwell
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*for more information on terms listed above, see Key to Chicken Entries

Double-Laced Barnevelders

Originating in Holland the Barnevelder chicken was a very sought after chicken in the early 1900's for it's ability to lay dark brown eggs in good numbers. That is not the case today, with the majority of breeds being produced for looks, rather than for egg color and production. Nonetheless some breeders are determined to bring these aspects back, and some chickens of greater quality can be found for higher prices, but buy with caution.

  • Appearance: These chickens have a brown double-laced feather pattern from which this variety draws it's name. They have a beetle-green sheen on their hackle (neck area), a red single comb, red earlobes, yellow skin, a yellow beak, and red-brown eyes. Right click on this picture, hit "view image" and look at the breast and wing to see the double-laced feather pattern.
  • Weight: Rooster-7.5 Hen-6 Cockerel-6.5 Pullet-5*
  • Purpose: They are dual purpose*
  • Origin: These chickens originated in the Barneveld region of Holland, from which the breed takes it's name.
  • Common: This chicken breed is the most popular in Holland, and is quite common in many other countries
  • Egg color: Dark to light brown
  • Egg size: Large to X-Large.
  • Eggs a week/year: 3-4 eggs a week/180-200 a year, which is good for a dark egg layer.
  • Broody: Yes, and they make wonderful mothers, with the rooster often chipping in a little bit.*
  • Confinement: Well, especially as they have short wings it is difficult for them to get out if they wanted to.
  • Compatibility: Good with other animals and chickens.
  • Hardy: Very cold hardy from where it was bred, and rather heat hardy too.
  • Bantam: Yes
  • Personality: Kind and friendly, they will often accompany you to your house or around the chicken coop. They are also very maternal, and clean for a chicken.
Generally a very good chicken with maternal qualities, making it good for a family with young children, and a need for eggs only every few days, not every single one.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user: sanneonix
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*for more information on terms listed above, see Key to Chicken Entries

White Leghorns

Another incredibly common chicken, that is found in many varieties, with the most common, and famous being the White. They are the primary white egg producer of the world, and will be the source of what you pick up in the supermarket. Especially the Pearl-White variety (pictured) are very regal looking, and would be a nice addition to your flock in more ways than one. However they are a bit of a smaller bird, and so they are used primarily for egg-laying. They are usually up there right with the Rhode Island Red.
  • Appearance:
    • Male: These chickens have white feathers that are very bright and beautiful when taken care of. Their tails are very large. but are displayed less in the way of height, but in distance behind them. They have large red facial features in contrast to the white, and will be what "the barnyard rooster" should look like.
    • Female: Same as male but without the large swooping tail and large facial features. Otherwise she may be a little more "compact", reflecting on the good food to egg ratio that this breed has.
    • Face: Red
    • Comb: Large red single or rose comb
    • Earlobes: White
    • Skin color:Yellow
    • Beak color: Yellow
    • Eyes: Red-Orange
  • Weight: Rooster-6 Hen-4.5 Cockerel-5 Pullet-4*
  • Purpose: White leghorns, due to a smaller body are for Egg-Laying purposes.
  • Origin: This breed of chicken originated in Italy, and take their name from Livorno, also known as Leghorn, which was the first city that they were shipped from.
  • Common: Extremely
  • Egg color: White
  • Egg size: Medium to Large
  • Eggs a week/year: 5-6 eggs a week/280-300 a year, known to lay in nearly all conditions.
  • Broody: No, broodiness has been almost completely bred out of them.
  • Confinement: Generally take confinement very well.
  • Compatibility: Good with others of it's kind, but not especially with others.
  • Hardy: Good with heat, and okay with cold. In the cold they may need a little petroleum jelly on their comb.
  • Bantam: Yes*
  • Personality: Nervous, but intelligent... They usually handle new situations with caution.
  • Available from: *
Well known to be amazing egg-layers, they are also visually pleasing. Definitely a good addition to the backyard chicken owner's flock.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user: calpsychik 

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*for more information on terms listed above, see Key to Chicken Entries

Black Australorps

Australorps were bred from a variety of breeds in Australia, including Black Orpingtons from which they take their name. They were bred as utility birds, and have a good egg laying rate, currently holding the world record for most eggs laid in a year, with 364. However, this was in the 1920's, when the breed had a better laying rate. Australorps are unofficially considered the chicken of Australia.
  • Appearance: 
    • Male: Black feathering with a very prominent beetle green sheen. Tails are held high and they have a very broad front. They have a large single comb, and other large facial features such as the wattle, and earlobes.
    • Female: Same as male but with a less prominent green sheen. They also have a somewhat lower tail, and smaller comb.
    • Face: Red
    • Comb: They have a large red single comb
    • Earlobes: Red
    • Skin color: White
    • Beak color: Black
    • Eyes: Dark brown or black
  • Weight: Rooster-8.5 Hen-6.5 Cockerel-7.5 Pullet-5.5*
  • Purpose: Australorps are dual purpose*
  • Origin: Australia
  • Common: Yes
  • Egg color: Light brown
  • Egg size: Medium to Large
  • Eggs a week/year: 4-5 eggs a week/200-250 eggs a year
  • Broody: Sometimes, though they will even raise others eggs and chicks.*
  • Confinement: Australorps do not usually try to escape.
  • Compatibility: Often low in the pecking order, Australorps are compatible with other chickens.
  • Hardy: Generally Australorps are hardy in hot and cold weather.
  • Bantam: Yes, there is a bantam form of the Australorps.
  • Personality: Generally friendly, and social with others. They may submit and be bullied occasionally however. 
  • Available from: *
A good layer, along with a simple yet beautiful look, makes this chicken a complete package for backyard chicken owners.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user: buildakicker
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*for more information on terms listed above, see Key to Chicken Entries