ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Dual Purpose Chicken Breeds

Updated on December 5, 2010

There are a number of different types of chicken, including egg laying breeds, meat breeds, show or fancy breeds, and dual purpose breeds.

Dual purpose chickens, which provide both good eggs and good meat, are generally the best choice for homesteads, small farms, or backyard flocks. Dual purpose breeds also tend to be healthier, more self-sufficient, and better foragers than many more highly bred and specialized breeds.

There are a number of different dual purpose breeds to choose from. Here is some basic information about some of the most popular:

Rhode Island Red

One of the most popular dual purpose breeds ever bred, the Rhode Island Red is what many people picture when they think of a chicken. Rhode Island Reds are best known for their egg laying ability, but they are true dual purpose birds who also make a good dinner. Hardy and friendly, Rhode Island Reds do not tend to be especially broody.

Photo by woodleywonderworks
Photo by woodleywonderworks

Barred Plymouth Rock

Another of the most popular breeds for small flocks, Barred Plymouth Rocks are friendly, cold hardy, and make good mothers. They lay plenty of large brown eggs and are also good meat birds. Other Rock breeds also make good choices for small flocks.

Araucana and Ameraucana

The famous "Easter Egg" chickens, who lay eggs in pale blues, greens, and pinks. (Ameraucanas lay blue eggs only.) Both are good dual purpose birds. Be aware that Araucanas are difficult to breed due to a lethal gene they carry that causes many chicks to die in their shells. This is not a problem with Ameraucanas. True Araucanas are rare as a result, but there are many hybrids (often described as Easter Eggers) who do not conform to breed standards.


A hardy, handsome bird, Wyandottes are great foragers. Generally easy-going, some Wyandottes have dominant personalities that can cause them to become aggressive.

New Hampshire

An excellent meat bird and steady, but not as frequent layer as some of the other dual purpose breeds here. Some individuals are prone to aggressiveness.

Buff Orpington

Orpingtons are large birds that are consistent layers with excellent meat quality. They are well known for their good mothering skills and docile, affectionate personalities.


Attractive black birds developed in Australia, Australorps are especially known as good layers, but make good dual purpose breeds as well. Like Orpingtons, from whom they are descended, they have calm, docile personalities.


A heritage breed, now endangered, Dominiques are famous for their excellent foraging and mothering skills. Handsome and hardy, they make good choices for both eggs and meat.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image

      Rainbow Ranch Farms 

      5 years ago

      Basket of Eggs! We won the wire basket on a Facebook challenge, and we filled it with our fresh eggs over straw bedding. We posted the photo on our blog and we are very pleased to see it here displayed on a dual purpose chickens blog. Thank you! Keep up the great work and thanks for the awesome info on heritage breeds.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)