The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Statistics on common chicken breeds

Pet chicken
Are you the type of reader who likes to skip to the end of the book to see how the story turns out?  If so, here's a handy chart summarizing the pros and cons of the types of chickens mentioned in Thrifty Chicken Breeds.

Avg. eggs per year
Weight of adult rooster / hen (lbs)
Primary uses
Primary disadvantages
250 (prolific)
6.5 / 5.5
Green and blue eggs
True Ameraucanas are very rare.  Most birds listed as "Ameraucanas" are actually hybrids more properly known as "Easter Eggers."
250 (prolific)
9 / 6.5
Eggs and meat
Only a moderate winter layer
150 (average)
12 / 9.5
Meat, pets
Feathered feet
110–160 (below average)
11 / 8.5
Broody  hens, pets
Feathered feet
150–180 (average)
10 / 5.7
Less efficient converter of feed to meat than Cornish Cross
Cornish Cross
May not live to laying age
10 / 6
Hybrid, so you can't keep your own flock going.  Also, this very productive meat bird may be hard to keep in homestead conditions.
180–260 (average, good winter layer)
7 / 5
Eggs and meat
Aggressive roosters
Easter Egger
200 (varies)
varies (about 6–7)
Green and blue eggs, pets
Inefficient layers
200 (above average, good winter layer)
10 / 8.5
Currently bred for looks, not production
280 (extremely prolific)
2.4 / 2
White variety attracts predators, flighty behavior
150 (average)
8.5 / 7
Broody hens, "chocolate" eggs
Inefficient layers, skittish behavior
New Hampshire
200–280 (above average, good winter layer)
8.5 / 6.5
Eggs and meat
Inefficient layers
175–200 (average, good winter layer)
10 / 8.5
Eggs and meat, broody hens
Most strains are now bred for looks, not production
Plymouth Rock
200–280 (average, good winter layer)
9.5 / 7.5
Eggs and meat
Most strains are now bred for looks, not production
Red Sex Link
200–280 (varies, but usually prolific)
8–9 / 6–7 Eggs, pets Inefficient meat producer, too friendly for some homesteads, doesn't breed true
Rhode Island Red
200 - 280 (extremely prolific, good winter layer)
8.5 / 6.5
Eggs and meat
Aggressive roosters, flighty behavior
150 (average, small eggs)
2.3 / 2
Broody hens, pets
Inefficient producers, can't see predators, feathered feet
240–260 (above average, good winter layer)
9 / 7
Eggs and meat
White variety attracts predators, too friendly, inefficient meat production
200 (average, good winter layer)
8.2 / 6
Eggs and meat
Fluffy vent feathers can make it hard for roosters to fertilize eggs

Easter Egger chickenWhat if the breed you're interested in isn't listed above?  Here are a few of my favorite sources for chicken stats if you want to research further:

Henderson's Chicken Chart is a great way to compare many different breeds at a glance. 

BackYard Chickens
has a helpful section where visitors have rated many breeds, listing the pros and cons of each. 

Wikipedia is a good source for just-the-facts stats. 

Cackle Hatchery includes egg-laying statistics on most of their breeds. 

But don't get bogged down in crunching numbers and making pro and con lists.  Your on-the-ground data might not match what others have reported, so there's no replacement for just diving in and trying a new breed out!

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt from Thrifty Chicken Breeds.  If so, why not read the whole thing for only 99 cents?  Or stay tuned for another excerpt here on the blog tomorrow.

This post is part of our Thrifty Chicken Breeds lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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We have red and black sex links, Easter eggers, barred rocks and orphingtons I love all my chickens, but have noticed my Easter eggers are the most prolific, giving me an egg per day all spring summer and fall, and an egg every other day each all winter, and they are going on 3 years old now! The sex links come in next in terms of production, but man are they fearless! They will sit on my foot in the coop until I pet them... I love my orphington girls as they are so pretty, I have a lavender and a blue, and they raise my baby chicks as they go broody nearly constantly. When they lay, they lay regularly, but the broody ness is rather annoying in the summer. These girls raised my barred rocks which are still too young to lay, so I can't speak to their abilities yet.
Comment by Brittany Brain Sun Jul 6 21:09:03 2014

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