group of three chickens
Andrew / Flickr (Creative Commons)

When buying chickens, there are so many different breeds to choose from that it can be difficult to know which best suit your needs. You can choose a breed that’s right for you by taking a few things into consideration.

First, think about why you are raising chickens in the first place. Is it for their eggs or meat, or do you primarily want them as pets?

Keep in mind that if you want to buy chicks at the best price straight from the hatchery, usually the smallest number you can buy at one time is 25.

If you want just a few birds, call up your local farm and garden store, and find out if they bring in live chicks in the spring. Otherwise, you can get on craigslist and see if someone is selling. Check out our article on buying chicks.

Browse By Chicken Breed:

Which Chicken Breed Is Right For You?

Chickens As Meat

If the bird’s meat is your primary interest, your biggest question will be is raising heritage breeds important to you, or are you open to raising a modern breed?

Modern breeds of chicken are often times more efficient at producing eggs and grow faster than heritage breeds. For meat birds, modern breeds are selected to have larger breasts, which will result in a noticeably different food product than what a heritage breed will produce.

Chickens As Pets

If you want chickens as pets, or if you have children who will be around chickens, your biggest questions will be what breeds have calm and gentle temperaments?

Every individual bird has unique traits, and the chicken breed doesn’t guarantee a temperament. However, part of the joy of raising animals is getting to know them as individuals.

Chickens As Egg Layers

If you are interested in eggs, your biggest question will be how often does a specific breed lay eggs? Some breeds lay more eggs than others.

Some breeds start laying younger than others. Different breeds produce different colored eggs. These are all details that can be make or break in choosing one breed from another.