With more than 100 recognized breeds to choose from, hen selection is your first high hurdle. Are you interested solely in eggs or meat, or do you prefer a dual purpose bird? Brown eggs or white? Standard size hens or small bantams? This is no job for the featherbrained!
A hen is only an egg's way of making another egg.
–Samuel Butler (1835–1902)
- Ancona - White eggs
- Australorp - Brown eggs
- California White - White eggs
- Hamburg - White or tinted eggs
- Lakenvelder - White or tinted eggs
- Leghorn - White eggs
- Minorca - Chalk White eggs
- Production Red - Brown eggs
- Redcap - White eggs
- Sex-Link - Brown eggs
- Brahma - Brown eggs
- Cochin - Brown eggs
- Dark Cornish - Brown eggs
- Jersey Giant - Brown eggs
- Araucana - Blue green eggs
- Black Sex-Link - Brown eggs
- Dominique - Brown eggs
- Faverolle - Brown or tinted eggs
- Houdan (crested) - White eggs
- New Hampshire - Brown eggs
- Orpington - Brown eggs
- Red Sex-Link - Brown eggs
- Rhode Island Red - Brown eggs
- Rock - Brown eggs
- Sussex - Brown eggs
- Wyandotte - Brown eggs
Remember: Consider the rooster!
- If you plan to hatch some of your eggs into chicks, or if you prefer fertilized eggs for breakfast, you'll need a roster or two. Otherwise, they're ornamental, sometimes feisty, and a lot of fun and trouble.
- Breeders suggest having a rooster for every 8 to 12 standard-size hens. A single cock can "accommodate," as they say, up to 18 hens.
- If you've ordered straight-run chicks (see our Chicken Glossary) and ended up with several cocks, you may want to cull some or separate them from the hens to minimze pecking-order fights.
- Since roosters are prone to favorites, rotating two cocks among the flock may even things out.