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The Best 10 Dual-Purpose Chicken Breeds For Eggs And Meat

Updated on December 14, 2015
tazzytamar profile image

Anna studied psychology, law, English, and animal welfare in college. She is a mother of two and aspires to become a vet some day.

Why Choose a Dual-Purpose Breed?

Dual-Purpose chickens have been bred to produce the best quality of meat and eggs. Many birds who are bred to be good table birds will lay few eggs, and some hens haven't been bred for the purpose of egg laying or providing a family with meat, especially now that chicken shows are becoming vastly popular.

I feel very strongly that families who can keep, raise and harvest produce, whether animal or vegetable, off their own land will enjoy it far better than those who do not, or cannot. You can choose how your hens are fed and what life they will lead, which means happier birds and better food! I never went back to shop bought eggs for instance - home-grown is always the best!

Light Sussex Hen

Light Sussex

Light Sussex hens weigh around 7lbs and are renowned as excellent table birds as well as good egg-laying birds - typically laying around 250 medium-sized cream or light brown eggs a year. They are usually white, with black tails and some black feathering around their necks (although other colour varieties such as red are available). This breed is also well known for it's hens being wonderful mothers, who will raise as many chicks as she can at once.


Everything You Need to Keep Chickens

Silver Laced Wyandotte

Wyandotte

Wyandottes are beautiful birds, which will lay up to 240 brown eggs a year and, like the Light Sussex breed, were bred as dual-purpose chickens who make great table birds due to their flavour and size - which is typically around 6lbs.

Buff Orpington Hen

Orpingtons

Buff Orpingtons are heavy birds, with the hens being capable of weighing over 10.5lbs, but they are more commonly around 8.5lbs. They go broody often, and make great mothers, as do the other two breeds listed above, however, these hens will lay slightly fewer eggs than some of the other dual purpose breeds, with 200 large brown eggs a year being average. This is because these chickens have been selectively bred for showing, rather than specifically meat or egg-laying.

Barred Plymouth Rock

Plymouth Rock

Plymouth Rocks are beautiful birds, that are available in eight colours and lay roughly 260 large brown-pink eggs per year. The hens weigh around 7lbs and make excellent dual-purpose chickens. This breed has influenced many others, for it's size, docile nature and egg-laying capabilities.

Brahma Rooster

Brahma

Brahma chickens are one of the largest breeds in existence, with hens weighing around 10lbs, and cockerels about 12lbs. They lay around 200 brown each year, and do very well in cold climates because of their size and heavy feathering. However, they do require extra care because of the feathering on their feet which need to be kept clean, or the chickens can lose nails and even toes, which can be fatal to the bird if this becomes infected.

Delaware Hen and Rooster

Delaware

Delaware chickens originated from the US, and are currently listed as a rare breed. The hens weigh between 6.5 and 8lbs, and lay up to 200 large eggs a year. They look similar to the Light Sussex breed, but have fewer black markings. Again, the hens do tend to go broody, but in general make excellent homestead birds.


Ixworth Rooster and Hens

Ixworth

Ixworth chickens are very good layers, laying around 240 eggs a year, and also make good table birds as they weigh around 7lbs. They are a British breed which is now classed as rare. They are beautiful, pure white birds who do very well if they are allowed to roam free-range.


Marsh Daisy Hen

Marsh Daisy

Marsh Daisy chickens are extremely well-suited to the free-range lifestyle. They are hardy and strong birds, who are excellent foragers and great mothers. The hens weigh around 5.5lbs and lay roughly 220 eggs every year, however the cockerels of this breed are known to have heart problems, and some will not live past 3 years of age.

Cochin Hen

Cochin

Cochins are very similar to Brahma chickens - they are huge birds, with hens averaging at about 10lbs in weight, and they are renowned for their excessive feathering, meaning they can survive cold climates and harsh winters. Hens will lay you around 200 large eggs every year.

Transylvanian Naked Neck

And last but not least, the Transylvanian Naked Neck. As the name suggests, these birds have no feathering whatsoever on their necks, but despite their unusual appearance, they are often kept as dual-purpose as they have meaty bodies, weigh up to 8.5lbs and are immune to nearly all diseases. They will lay you around 220 eggs per year and the eggs are large and brown. They are also fine in colder temperatures, despite their bald necks.

Rearing Chickens For Meat

Do you have chickens? - If so, what breeds?

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    • profile image

      DebMartin 3 years ago

      I used to have chickens but moved to the bush. Too many predators here. I used to have Barred Rocks. I also had a few Ancona. They would come running when they saw me get out the rake.

    • MelaniePaige13 profile image

      Melanie Paige 3 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Helpful lens :)

      My Dad has 9 acres, 11 laying chickens ( some orange and others white, can't recall the breed though) and 4 broody chickens (silky cross something), and they're allowed to roam free during the day.

      The sheep love it too, as do the new baby lambs (which are so adorable!). He also grows his own fruit and veg when possible, though it's still early yet, almost a year since we moved there. Organic, home-grown food is always best, as well as fresh eggs :)

    • tazzytamar profile image
      Author

      Anna 3 years ago from chichester

      @takkhisa: We have 34 hens and 2 cockerels :) - they did well considering we started with 8!!! Thank you for visiting :)

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 3 years ago

      Interesting topic! Loved it very much. Well, I don't have any chickens now but I used to have when I was a kid. How many chickens do you have? I am just curious to know. :)

    • BodyHairRemoval profile image

      BodyHairRemoval 3 years ago

      Very interesting lense on chicken breeds!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

      My plans are to start with three of the more docile breeds. I am interested in the egg laying capacities (moderate is fine with me). I do like the Buff Orpingtons, Plymouth Rocks, and Americaunas.

    • DeborahDian profile image

      Deborah Carr 3 years ago from Orange County, California

      Fascinating info about chickens!