Highlighted Chicken Breeds


So, lots of people think that chickens are just white or brown. Well, if you’re here and reading this, you know that’s just not so! Chickens come in all shapes, sizes, colors… I’ll feature some of the fascinating variety of poultry on this page!

I’ve been slow to update this page–apologies! If you’re looking for something more compreHENsive, check out HENderson’s Breed Chart!

Buff Orpington A cold-hardy breed, these birds are generally sweet and docile. Lots of feathers make them look quite plump, and they are a good dual-purpose bird: meat and eggs. However, all those feathers can cause them some difficulty in the heat of summer, so make sure that water and shade are plentiful and always accessible.  They’re not the smartest or cleverest birds on the block, but in terms of cuddly and cute, you can’t beat them.

Buff Orpington hen

Buff Orpington hen

Serama These have got to be the cutest li’l chickens you’ll ever see (next to my personal faves, the bearded Belgian d’Uccles… or was that the penciled Hamburgs?) At any rate, I just found a flock of tiny Serama roosters at the Feed Store in Summit, IL, today (10/21/2010)! These bantam (small-sized) chickens are from Malaysia. They are the smallest breed in the world, weighing in at a max of 20 oz. (570 g). Seramas are gentle, and their posture sets them apart: broad breast thrown out, head back, wings held nearly perpendicular to the ground. The rooster I held today was about the size of a pigeon.

Serama rooster

Serama rooster

ISA Browns These chickens are not a true breed; they are a hybrid – a cross of a Rhode Island Red hen and a white Leghorn rooster (or was it the other way around? Some sources say Rhode Island Red and Rhode Island White – don’t quote me on the breeds). I’ve noticed that while they are good egg producers, they can have issues with internal laying, producing weird clumps of calcium instead of eggs, and with becoming egg bound. I’m not terribly fond of them, but a lot of Chicago chicken keepers have had positive experiences.

ISA brown hen

ISA brown hen

8 responses to this post.

  1. The ISA brown looks exactly like the Red Star hens I purchased last year from McMurray. I also saw these labeled as another “breed” in heritage class from another hatchery. So, these are like tomato plants where everyone sells the same seeds but calls them something else? This would be the equivalent of a chicken “mutt?” I also have Black Star hens… I guess those are also mutts. Oh well. I like them anyway – and they are good layers.

    Reply

    • Yes, they are mutts – a sex-linked hybrid – and you are right – red star is another name I’ve heard applied. They and black stars are good layers Thanks for your comment!

      Reply

  2. I have two favourite chickens breeds, the light sussex and the wyandotte. One is a British breed and the other is American.

    Reply

  3. Posted by bellav54330 on June 24, 2013 at 11:44 am

    I currently have 2 ISA Browns (Red Stars). I purchased 2 from Belmont Feed & Seed and one had internal issues, like you mentioned. The other is a fantastic layer with the cutest brown eggs with red speckles. The store was kind enough to trade out my defective hen with a new ISA pullet that hasn’t begun laying yet. The eggs are larger than my Rhode Island Red’s, and darker. The birds themselves are not as friendly as the Rhode Island Red, and are below her in the pecking order. So far, they’re pretty good chickens, but not amazing or anything. I’ve only had chickens for a few months now, but I find them to be somewhat friendly, good layers, and very docile so far.

    Reply

  4. Posted by kristina tyer on September 12, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    I had a one just like this one and he was great he was just like dog he lived in doors then we moved and put him out and he got to hot and died and my kids was so sad I would love to have more but can not find the breed

    Reply

  5. I’ve had 2 ISA Browns that have come to an early, natural death. They are great layers but don’t seem to be very hardy in the long run.

    Reply

    • Hi, Cindy. That has been my observation, too. They are lovely birds, but I think breeding them to be egg-laying machines messes them up a bird. I’ve seen quite a number with reproductive-related issues.
      Jen

      Reply

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