Dual purpose chicken breeds are exactly that. They serve two purposes. They typically have a great egg laying rate and are large enough birds to be used for meat when they are past their egg-laying prime. Most hens will lay solid for approximately two to three years. After that, their laying rate slows to about one egg a week until they stop laying completely.
Dual purpose chicken breeds are our favorite chickens!
First, peruse the list below and determine which breed will meet your needs. Like in our previous articles, the many factors to consider are climate, docile or aggressive personalities, egg production and weight. You’ll find dual purpose chicken breeds are the most versatile birds. Most are friendly and these breeds are most common in backyard flocks.
Now onto the chicken breeds!
DUAL PURPOSE BIRDS ~ Chickens used for both meat and eggs
Ameraucana: Birds come in large and bantam size. They have a pea comb and are cold hardy chickens. Laying a medium to large egg, they are the most beautiful colors ranging from light blue to light green. They go broody often and are generally docile birds originating from Chile.
Australorp: These cold hardy birds are large and bantam with a single comb. They lay a large brown egg, go broody often and are a docile breed. Originating in Australia, you’ll often here chickens called chooks.
Barnevelder: A large or bantam sized chicken with a single comb. They are cold hardy and lay a medium to large chocolate egg. They never go broody and are docile birds. They are from the Netherlands.
Buckeye: Large or bantam chickens with a pea type comb. They are cold hardy laying white or brown eggs. They go broody often and are docile creatures. They come from Ohio.
California Gray: Large birds, cold hardy birds with a single comb. Great layers with a rate of close to 300 eggs per year. They lay a white egg, occasionally go broody and have a docile personality. And you guessed it, they come from California!
Catalana: A large or bantam sized chicken that is heat tolerant. Laying a medium light brown egg they have a good lay rate at around 150-200 eggs a year. They do not go broody and are flighty Spaniard birds.
Chantecler: Large or bantam chickens with a cushion style comb. They are cold hardy birds laying a large brown egg. These birds are broody and flighty in nature originating from Canada.
Delaware: These chickens come in large and bantam sizes. They have a single comb and are cold hardy. Laying an egg large or extra large in size, brown eggs are typical. Delaware’s are docile chickens from Delaware.
Dominique: Much like a Barred Rock, these chickens come in large or bantam size. They are cold hardy birds. Their rose comb separates them from the Barred Rock breed. They lay 150-200 medium to large eggs a year. They are docile and friendly birds originating from the Old World and Haiti.
Dorking: These guys have a single or rose comb and are cold hardy chickens. Laying a medium to large light brown egg, they go broody often. Originating from England they are docile and friendly in nature.
Faverolle: A large or bantam sized bird with a single comb. They are cold hardy and also ornamental birds as they have beautiful plumage. Laying 150-200 medium to large brown eggs a year, they go broody often. Predominately a docile bird some have been known to be aggressive hailing from France.
Holland: Large or bantam single comb, cold-hardy birds. They lay a large white egg and are docile birds originating in the USA.
Houdan: These chickens are large or bantam in size. They are cold hardy and heat tolerant birds with a V style comb. Laying a small to medium white egg who sometimes go broody. Docile in nature these chickens come from France.
Java: A large or bantam bird with a single comb. They lay a medium to large brown egg and go broody often. Docile in nature it is thought to be these chickens come from Java, but it is unconfirmed.
La Fleche: Heat tolerant chickens who are large and bantam in size. Their combs have a V style. They lay medium to large white eggs and never go broody. Flighty in nature they hail from France.
Langshan: Cold hardy and heat tolerant birds these guys are large or bantam and have a single comb. They lay 150-200 medium to large brown eggs a year. They go broody often are docile originating in China.
Marans: Marans come in large or bantam sizes. They are cold hardy birds with a single comb. Laying a large brown colored egg they are flighty and originate from France. You’ll find Marans come in different combinations such as Black Copper Maran or French Copper Maran. These birds lay beautiful dark chocolate colored eggs with a red tint and have feathered feet.
Minorca: With a single or rose comb these chickens come in bantam or large sizes. They are heat tolerant birds and lay up to 300 large to extra large eggs in one year! These chickens are not broody and have a flighty personality. They originated in Spain.
Naked Neck: These chickens look different because they have no feathers on their necks! They are heat tolerant birds in large or bantam sizes. Laying 150-200 large brown eggs a year they go broody often. Typically a docile bird originating from Transylvania.
New Hampshire: Large and bantam sized chickens with a single comb and cold hardy. Laying a large to extra large egg these chickens are often broody. Docile birds originating from New Hampshire.
Orloff: Large and bantam sized birds with a walnut style comb. They are cold hardy and lay a medium brown egg. Docile birds who often go broody hail from Persia.
Orpington: A single combed large or bantam chicken that is cold hardy. They lay a large to extra large brown egg and frequently are broody. These England birds have docile personalities.
Penedesenca: These chickens are large with a carnation style comb. They are heat tolerant and lay a medium chocolate colored egg. Not known for their broodiness, they tend to be flighty and come from Spain.
Plymouth Rock: Often referred to a Barred Rock, these birds are large or bantam in size. They have a single comb and tolerate both heat and cold. Laying approximately 200-250 large brown eggs per year they also have a lot of meat on them. They are friendly and docile originating from Massachusetts.
Redcap: Large or bantam birds, these guys have a large rose comb and are cold hardy. They lay 150-200 medium white eggs a year. Recaps do not go broody and are flighty birds from England.
Rhode Island Red: These chickens are large or bantam sized birds with a single or rose comb. They are cold hardy and heat tolerant. Laying around 200-250 large and extra large brown eggs a year they are a great dual purpose bird. Most are docile, but some have been known to be aggressive. Sometimes these chickens will go broody. They hail from Rhode Island.
Rhode Island White: Like the Rhode Island Reds (RIR) these birds come in large or bantam size. They have rose combs and are cold hardy. Laying only 150-200 large to extra large brown eggs they can’t quite keep up with the RIRs. They are more docile in nature, never go broody and are from Rhode Island.
Shamo: These chickens are large and bantam size with a pea or walnut comb. Heat tolerant birds they lay large brown eggs and are broody birds. Most are docile with some being aggressive. They originate from Thailand.
Sussex: With a single comb, these large and bantam size chickens are cold hardy birds. They lay 150-200 large brown eggs a year do not go broody. These chickens are docile and come from England.
Vorwerk: Large and bantam size birds with a single comb. They are cold hardy and lay medium brown eggs. Some go broody and originate both from Germany and the USA.
Welsummer: These birds are large and bantam with a single comb. Cold hardy and heat tolerant qualities make these birds attractive in all climates. They lay a medium to large chocolate colored egg and do not go broody. These friendly birds come from the Netherlands.
Wyandotte: These beautiful birds are also large and bantam in size. They have rose style combs and are cold hardy. Their colorful plumage makes them an attractive bird. Laying large brown eggs they sometimes are broody. Most are docile, but some can be aggressive. They are from both the Huron lands and the USA.
Wow! Is your head spinning? It’s so hard to keep them all straight! Dual purpose chicken breeds are the most popular of the chickens. But we aren’t through yet. If you still haven’t found the chicken of your dreams, stay tuned for our next post on ornamental birds. These guys make great companions and are pretty too!
~Until Next Time,
Question: Which dual purpose chicken breed is your favorite?
Source: The Chicken Encyclopedia by Gail Damerow; pgs 304-311 Copyright 2012