The breeds that are good for both meat and eggs are dual-purpose breeds of chicken. Suppose you are looking for suitable chickens that you can raise in your backyard. Then you have to come to the right place to read.
I will help you to choose the chickens by listing them from good to best. You will get 10 helpful chicken breeds for dual purposes.
Why Should You Consider Dual Purpose Chickens?
There are some chickens that are good for laying above 250 eggs a year as well as some are quite heavy for the diner table to enjoy.
These kinds of chickens are suitable for mainly mass production and industrial use. They usually don’t use dual-purpose chickens and making them endangered breeds.
But dual-purpose chickens can also be as profitable for a more extended period. In case you are raising chickens in your backyard, then dual-purpose breeds are your favorite option.
We know that the egg-laying capacity of chickens decreases with their age, normally after 3/4 years, it can not lay eggs that it used to lay.
After that, there is no way but to eat the chickens. If they are massive in size, then you can feed more mouths.
1. The Black Australorp Chicken
It is a breed from Australia that got recognized in the 1920s. According to its name, its skin color is black. Also known as Australian Orpington. This breed has the highest number of egg-laying records.
First, Orpington was imported from England to Australia. Then it was crossed with Rhode island red, White leghorn.
So basically, the black Australorp is a crossbreed product of Orpington, Rhode island red and White leghorn.
Benefits of Having Black Australorp
- Weight – Male: 3.20-4.10 kg and Female: 2.250-3.10 kg.
- Eggs are laying per year:364 eggs(the highest record).
- It is a friendly chicken with heavy and soft feathers.
- It has a solid body with a nice round breast.
- They are just fine in confinement and enjoy more in open space.
- They are fast-growing.
- It is a meaty and healthy chicken that means no special requirements.
- Life span 6-10 years.
- It fits in any kind of weather, whether it is cold or hot.
- They are used to the noise and bustle.
- They are an excellent exhibition bird and have won many contests.
They are incredible birds for your homestead. They are easy to go, friendly to children, well adopted. It is an all-rounder bird.
First, it is shy, but when it is used to something, it will grow very well. So, this is truly no 1 for your choice.
2. Rhode Island Red Chicken
It is an American bird and also a state bird of Rhode Island. Perhaps one of the successful birds in history. In 1854 Malay was brought by a sea captain in America and crossed with his farm chickens.
It was noticed to give more eggs, and later it was bred with other fine breeds like java, cochin, little Brahma, Plymouth rocks, and brown leghorns.
Then in Rhode Island Reds centenary, it became the state bird of Rhode island state.
Benefits of Having Rhode Island Red
- Weight – Male: 3.9 kg and Female: 3 kg.
- Eggs are laying per year: 200-300 eggs.
- Eggs are medium to large and tend to become more larger with the chickens’ age.
- They can be calm as well as rude.
- They are friendly, loveable again, sometimes a bit pushy.
- They are forages and hunt for frogs, mice.
- They are good in confinement, but the backyard is preferable.
- They are not broody, so time will not lose.
- They are really strong, hardy, healthy birds. It may be inherited from the Malay.
- They are not just tolerant of adverse weather but also they thrive in this.
- They do well when it is around children except for the roosters.
Rhode island red is undoubtedly one of the best breeds for dual purposes. They are of two kinds: heritage and industry. In the modern industry, Rhode island reds are mainly used for egg purposes.
The roosters can be aggressive; you must take care of that. They are good at bug catching and also eat the seeds. They need a little care, and they are good to go.
3. Buff Orpington Chicken
Orpington is mainly a British breed. Originated in Orpington in the county kent, England by William Cook.
He wanted to make a dual-purpose chicken breed. He gathered Minorca, Langshan, and Plymouth Rocks to make a great egg laying and table bird.
It had white, blue, buff, black color at first. But the buff is the most popular color. And it was created by gold spangled Hamburgs, Dorkings, and buff Cochins to get the perfect buff color. It is a heritage bird.
Benefits of Having Buff Orpington
- Weight – male: 3.60-4.55 kg and female: 2.70-3.60 kg.
- Eggs are laying per year: 200-280 eggs.
- The bird has heavy, fluffy feathers, a curved back, and a broad body.
- The buff Orpington are very docile and stately.
- They are friendly and need to cuddle.
- They tolerate the cold very nicely because it has fluffy feathers.
- It is capable of living in warm weather, but shades have to be given to them.
- They are good brooders and good mothers and very protective during broodings.
- Comfortable in confinement, but the backyard is preferable.
- They are not aggressive, so don’t keep them with aggressive birds.
- Not easy for the predators to prey on.
The birds are really fluffy, friendly, delightful, and good mothers. They are great as a dual purpose breed. It is easily manageable. They are not high temperature tolerant, so make some ventilation for then and shades.
They are lazy birds, so try to keep them busy with activities. As they have dense feathers, they are more susceptible to lice and mites, so check them regularly. It can grow unnecessarily fat so keep an eye on their diet.
4. Wyandotte Chicken
It is an American breed for dual purpose use. Developed in the 1870s and named after the wyandotte people of North America. Also known as American Sebright before 1883.
It was created by four people Fred Houdlette, John Ray, L. Whittaker, and H.M. Doubleday, for the first time in America for dual purpose.
The silver laced variety was the first to be created and the second was gold laced Wyandotte.
In the 1880s, it was sailed to England, and the folks liked it that much that it cost equal to a small house back then.
Benefits of Having Wyandotte
- Weight – Male: 3.50-4.00 kg and Female: 2.70-3.20 kg.
- Eggs are laying per year: around 200 eggs.
- It is a heavy, large bird with a deep breast frame.
- They like to remain calm, quiet, and friendly to others.
- It ranks high in the pecking order, so it won’t tolerate others to harm itself.
- It is good with confinement.
- It enjoys roaming in free space and always ready to catch bugs.
- Its heavy feathers protect itself from the extreme cold weather, but in summer needs shade and ventilation.
- It lives 6-12 years
- It has a wide variety of color may enhance the elegance of your backyard.
- They are good mothers and protective of the chicks.
- It is a robust bird having robust health.
It is a beautiful bird for your backyard, having a huge variety of colors. It is docile and friendly with the children. It loves to make noise and loves fuss, so watch out if you have a problematic neighbor.
It is a reliable bird that lays eggs in the winter and a great mother. It is a heavy table bird to enjoy.
5. Plymouth Rock Chicken
It is an American breed first seen in Massachusetts, mainly created for dual purposes in the nineteenth century. It was so much popular before the world war that everyone was encouraged to have them in their backyard. Back then, the chickens’ only competitor was Rhode island red.
It was disappeared for 20 long years. Then in 1869, an Upham of Worcester, Massachusetts, bred with barred males and java hens for barred plumage and clean legs.
Benefits of Having Plymouth Rock
- Weights – Male: 3.4 kg and Female: 2.95 kg.
- Eggs are laying per year: 200 eggs per year.
- It is huge, a tringle body with a deep breast and broad back.
- Feathers are soft and super soft in the abdomen area.
- Its legs are clean.
- They lag a good amount of eggs in their first 3 years and are known to lay eggs till 10 years!
- It is not known for broodiness, but hens can be good sitters.
- They mature early, and by 8-10 weeks, it can be sold as a broiler.
- They are very friendly, calm, and docile and don’t peck each other.
- They are good at confinement, but the area of confinement has to be big, and it likes to range free.
- They have a good immunity inherited by ancestors, so they are healthy and robust.
They are a good choice for your backyard cause they are neighbor-friendly. They make noise but not enough to disturb them. They can be lap chickens and good towards children.
Because They are easy to maintain, they are very healthy. So that poor maintenance can be tolerated. It can be the right chicken for the family settings.
6. The Speckled Sussex Chicken
It is a very ancient bird of England. They were almost gone in the 1900s, but some poultry keepers had them alive for further improvement. When did it created or any information about its ancestors are unknown.
It was first seen at an exhibition and named that day. They were raised in the southeastern parts of England, Sussex, and Kent. The meats were tendinous and juicy that was supplied to London.
At the time of the 2nd world war, the Sussex and Rhode island reds chickens were the only hope in the case of meat and eggs. The speckled Sussex is said to be the oldest of the varieties.
Benefits of Having the Speckled Sussex
- Weights – Male: 4.1 kg and Female: 3.2 kg.
- Eggs are laying per year: up to 250 eggs.
- Their feather quality is excellent, and it gets better every year.
- Their colored feather works as a camouflage when they range free.
- They have a broad back and deep chest.
- They are quite friendly and calm.
- They are curious in nature.
- They are good in confinement and also enjoy free-ranging.
- They are good layers, even in the winter season.
- They are robust birds and tolerate the winter easily. But in summer they need ventilation and shades.
- Good at removing pests from the garden.
It is a lovely bird for dual purposes. It is a heritage bird. It has a good reputation for camouflage. It is good with the children and easy to maintain. It has a brooding problem. But overall, it is a good bird to keep on your farm.
7. Brahma Chicken
It is one of the oldest breeds and popular with unknown genetic makeup. It is famous for its giant size, also called as king of chickens.
It was once called the shanghai chicken back in the 1800s; it was a cross between Malay and cochin birds.
Then the shanghai bird was crossed with grey Chittagong, which came from Bangladesh. The development of Brahma was initially done in the United States and refined for over 50 years.
Benefits of Having Brahma Chicken
- Weights – Male: 5.5 kg and Female: 4.5 kg.
- Egg-laying per year: 150-200 eggs.
- It is a large chicken, 30 inches tall, and has a deep, long body.
- It has feathered legs, which gives them a cuddly look.
- It is a gentle,docile and non agressive bird.
- They are fine in confinement.
- They are tolerant in cold weather because of its dense feathers.
- They can be good mothers and not over broody.
- They are high in the pecking order.
- It is enough to be a table bird for a four-membered family.
- It is a healthy bird.
It is a good table bird as well as a good layer bird. This gigantic bird can give you more meat than any other bird. They should be taken care of in the winter and check them if they catch parasites.
They take almost two years to become mature, but the wait is worth it. It is a friendly bird but has some health issues. It has a problem in wet soil so keep the ground dry.
8. Delaware Chicken
Delaware chickens are comparatively new to the field of poultry, and it is special. In the 1940s, it was very much considered to become the most famous chicken in the poultry industry, but things didn’t go well.
They were going to disappear, but then it was raised as a dual-purpose chicken. It is a pretty special bird.
It all started when a man name called George Ellis started working with them. He wanted a bird that would be heavy weight and also lay a good amount of eggs. Also, it should be white for the poultry industry.
It was prepared for the competition in the poultry industry. The original bird was called the Indian rivers. It was also named Ohio beauty for a short period of time, but later, the name Delaware came.
It was a tremendous success, but it didn’t last too long, only for 15-20 years.
However, it was meant for the poultry industry. It was also kept in the farms and homestead.
Benefits of Having Delaware Chicken
- Weight – Male: 3.9 kg and Female:2.9 kg.
- Eggs laying per year: up to 200 eggs.
- It is a medium sized breed with a long, broad, deep body.
- They are very docile, friendly, intelligent, and curious birds.
- They are not over-talkative, don’t disturb the neighbors.
- They are assertive.
- Some are lap birds and like to sit on laps.
- They lay jumbo or large eggs.
- They don’t have any broodiness.
- They are healthy and robust birds.
- This breed is good for homesteads and little farms.
- They pick bugs well and a good companion in gardening.
- They are careful of the predator.
- They need low maintenance.
- They are good in the exhibition.
So, they are a good choice for your backyard. They lay a good amount of eggs and a good table bird. They are calm and neighbor-friendly.
They are curious and love to cuddle, and good with the children. So it would definitely make a list in the dual-purpose breed chickens.
9. Cochin Chicken
It is a feathered, big, fluffy bird. Anyone would say this when they see the cochin bird because it is covered from head to toe with feathers. First appeared in the 1840s and called the Cochins-china.
They were first imported from France, then what is now Vietnam. It didn’t look like the same at first, not so beautiful. They were tall and rangy more look like malay chickens.
They were given to Queen Victoria. It was an excellent layer first, but when it was crossed to make it prettier, it lost its worth. It laid fewer eggs after that.
The fluffy feathers give it a look that it is much bigger than the actual.
Benefits of Having Cochin Chicken
- Weights – Male: 3.6 kg – 5.9 kg, Female: 3.2 kg – 5.0 kg.
- Eggs are laying per year: 150 eggs approximately.
- It is considered one of the biggest chicken breeds.
- They are a poor flyer. You don’t have to worry about neighbors.
- The Cochins are calm, friendly even the roosters also.
- The ladies are good broodies and also good mothers.
- They can be good foster mothers to abandoned chicks.
- They are good at confinement.
- They also lay eggs in the winter.
- They are healthy and can live up to 10 years.
They are good pets, and cuddling is best for them, you will certainly love the chicken. It may not lay many eggs in a year, but it is a good table bird and a friendly pet also.
They are perfect house chickens. They are good exhibition birds. They are easy to handle. But they become obese very soon, so keep them in a safe place so that predators cant harm the chickens.
10. New Hampshire Chicken
It is a breed that looks similar to the Rhode island red chicken. It never had the success that it should have. It was overshadowed by the Rhode island red chickens.
This breed was developed in New Hampshire, and Massachusetts of the united states as a separate strain of Rhode Island Red chickens a hundred years ago.
The credit for creating this breed goes to professor red Richardson, who wanted to make a chicken that not only lays a good number of eggs. But it is good for meat also.
Benefits of Having New Hampshire Chicken
- Weights – Male: 3.9 kg, Female: 2.9 kg.
- Eggs laying per year: 240 eggs.
- It is the same size as Rhode island red but with a triangular body.
- It has a deep, broad body.
- They are good broodies and good mothers, too, even to other chicks.
- It is a calm, friendly chicken.
- They are healthy and robust chickens.
- They do well in cold weather.
- They survive for 7 years.
- They do well in confinement.
- They adjust in hot weather, but shades are helpful.
They are friendly and sturdy chickens. They are worth to have much popularity. they are both good for meat and eggs chicken. It doesn’t like noise, so they are neighbor friendly.
They mature quite soon. It can be an option for you if you want a handsome amount of meat and eggcellent eggs.
Now that I have discussed the 10 best chickens for dual purpose. You may think if there is any downside of the dual-purpose chicken.
If they are the best, why don’t people only use dual-purpose chicken. The drawbacks may few, but you need to know that.
The Trouble You Might Face Raising Dual Purpose Chickens
The chickens are so much adorable and friendly and make a good pet. They start to give you eggs, and you forget about the other part that they are for meats also.
When you are raising the chickens, you might get attached to the beloved ones. It is not easy to slaughter the chickens and eat them because you raised them.
When we buy them only for meat and eat it, it doesn’t feel the same because we didn’t see it grow. It is hard to butcher the chicken and have them as dinner on your plate. Many people will fail to do that.
So if you are going to raise dual-purpose chickens, you must be prepared for the consequences. You have to hold the strength to butcher the chickens you raised for months and years.
Another thing you should keep in mind that you must feed them accordingly that someday you will get a meaty chicken, not a skinny one.
So, it was all concerning the dual-purpose chicken. If you keep aside the fear of slaughtering the chickens, which is also done with meat and egg purpose chickens, the dual-purpose chickens are the superstars, and they save your money also serving with eggs when alive and meat after butchering.
There is no reason that you won’t choose the dual-purpose chickens and the chickens mentioned here are the best for you. So don’t waste your time, raise the chickens, and enjoy both eggs and meat.