The Best Breeds of Chicken For Aussie Backyards
There are many things to consider when choosing a breed of chicken.
Are eggs a priority for you? Do you have small children? Or does your area encounter extreme heat waves in summer?
See the below table for some things to consider.
What's the best layer?
I get asked a lot, "What's the best layer that's not an Isa Brown?"
When it comes to egg lay, it's important to remember that bloodlines are very important, arguably more important than the breed.
Not all Australorps are good layers these days! Check out this article for more on this. Ancona, Australian Langshan, Hamburgh and Isa Browns (hybrid commercial layers) are my top picks.
While Hy-Line Browns and Isa Browns are incredible layers and many are very friendly, they have a shorter lifespan and will lay very few eggs after their second year of lay.
All breeds have pros and cons (more pros!), however this is a great little guide to what you can expect from a 'handful' of my favourites.
What's the best breed for chicken for kids?
While breeds like Silkie, Polish and Pekin are typically great for kids, not all birds like being cuddled by kids! Whatever breed you choose, the trick is to get them young and teach your kids to move around them quietly and build trust. Treats also help!
What's the all-round best breed of chicken for backyards?
In no particular order, these are my favourite breeds of chicken for Australian backyards:
- Ancona – love to perch in tall trees (wing trimming essential to avoid this) but their quirks will keep one entertained for hours. Excellent layers of medium sized white eggs.
- Araucana – Blue egg layer, excellent in the garden.
- Australian Langshan – Feathered feet, and large eyes. The bantam variety in particular are very efficient little layers.
- Australorp – Heavy breed. Most are very gentle and docile. Unlikely to fly given their weight. Extra special care is required to keep heavy breeds cool during Australian summers.
- Hamburgh – Hilarious and so pretty. They cope well with hot summers. They do like to fly if bored with their backyard.
- Wyandotte – Tendency to go broody (clucky), and great mothers. Average layers of medium sized eggs.
- Silkie – Often catch the attention of children. They are primarily an ornamental breed, with black skin and fine fluffy feathers. Poor flyers, which can be an advantage!
- ISA Browns – Isa Browns are not a breed, but a hybrid commercial layer. They are most often very docile and easily handled by children.