Here at Miller Micro Farm, we raise a multitude of chicken breeds. We adore all of our chickens, but there have been a few standout breeds over the years. These standouts deserve special recognition for a job well done. So raise an egg and help congratulate our pick for top breeds.
Cold Climates Breeds
Australorp – A large heritage breed, an amazing layer, and the hen’s kind disposition make them one of my favorite breeds. I have not had great luck with the roosters of this breed, I have been chased down by more than one.
Brahma – Another amazing heritage breed, proven to be my best winter layers. They may only give 3-4 eggs a week, but I have Brahmas tipping five years old that still lay 2-3 eggs a week. The roosters I have had are as sweet and docile as the hens.
Orpington – Sweet, gentle, and loving breed. They take in our new pullets every year showing them the ropes with no aggression. The roosters, on the other hand, I have found to be rather aggressive. Therefore, they go to freezer camp rather quickly around here.
Wyandotte – They do amazing in the cold climate of Ohio. They really know how to cuddle together to stay warm at night. I’ve had many over the years, they are of the healthiest of our breeds. Presently I have not lost a single Wyandotte to illness or injury.
Plymouth Barred Rocks – A gorgeous bird to say the least. Easy to tell the sex right away, which is always nice. We accidentally acquired a rooster “Mr. Rock”; he is the gentlest rooster I have ever had of any breed. He makes pretty babies to boot. He is able to pick up, loved, and even cuddled at any time, earning them the GOLD for sweetest roosters.
Silkies – They like warm climates, but will need shade and air circulation if the temperatures get too high. They also do ok in the colder temps if you have the right setup. Any drafts and they will get sick very quickly in my experience. The roosters well 50/50 chance whether he will be nice or a jerk. The females are full of personality and sass.
Leghorn – The perfect chicken for warm weather. They lay medium-large white and are very dependable. They are great independent birds, they do not seem to do well in confinement. If you choose to keep them where it is cold, watch out for frostbite on their combs.
Polish – They seem to do well in most climates, tolerating hot climates very well. They lay medium white eggs all winter long. They seem to take a vacation from laying during the heat of the summer. Who doesn’t love their little hats?
Road Island Reds – Very much like the Leghorn, enjoy the summer warmth. I find them to be very independent and a little mean to newcomers. They are wonderful layers for a year to eighteen months, then their production drastically tappers off.
Easter Eggers – They do well in all climates except where the winters get extremely cold. They tolerate the heat quite well. And who doesn’t love their gorgeous colored eggs? They have an extremely docile demeanor.
Silkies – These little birds are full of personality and cuteness. They will go broody and stay broody for extended periods of time. They can be annoyingly broody when you are not in need of chicks. I have had some that made great moms and others that did not. Therefore they get the GOLD awarded for top broodies.
Orpington – The big mama, they have always been great for me, they teach the babies everything they need to know. They can handle a large clutch of eggs or just a few. They will protect their chicks at all costs. I have even been able to give mine chicks when she’s not broody and she takes them in and raises them like her own. They get the GOLD for best mommies.
Cochin – Another breed that can be extremely broody all the time. I find them great in the winter, they keep all the eggs from freezing. Their fuzzy little butts make great heating pads.
Buff Chantelle – Docile sweet birds by nature, they are a bit smaller than the Orpington. They make great all-around moms. But careful if she’s on eggs you want, your hand may come out with wounds.
I’ve seen so many articles saying Brahmas are great broodies, but in my case, I have never had one Brahma hen go broody in the five years I’ve raised them.
Australorp – They will never let you down with their gorgeous large light brown eggs. For the two years, you can count on them almost daily. In addition, they get GOLD for the most consistent layer.
Orpington – Another light brown egg layer that will fill your baskets. Well, when they are not broody at least. I have five-year-olds that still lay on a routine basis.
Plymouth Barred Rock – Gorgeous brown or brown-speckled eggs are delivered almost daily. They lay well for about 2 years then begin to slow down drastically.
Road Island Reds – The best of the best brown egg layers. You can count on them to fill your pockets daily. Consequently, they slow down quicker than other breeds with good laying decreasing around eighteen months.
Leghorn – This white egg layer probably gives the most eggs per week, compared to any other white egg layer. They do not seem to lay much in the winter though.
Welsummer – Do you want dark brown eggs and lots of them? Well, here’s the chicken for you. Built like a Leghorn, it’s no wonder they are a powerhouse layer.
Dark Brahma – My absolute favorite big girls, awarding them GOLD status for sweetest personality. These gentle giants are so sweet, we use them on our farm tours for kids to hold. We also have Buff Brahmas they are not near as affectionate and docile as our darks.
Salmon Faverolles – This cute little fluffy cheeked, feathered footed, five-toed breed is extremely docile. Mine demand attention by standing at my feet and chatting up a storm until I give them a few pets. They will run across the yard just to see you. They get the SILVER medal.
Silkies – The fluffy little five-toed birds are as docile as they come at least the hens. The roosters can be a different story some seem to have Napoleon Complex. Want a soft chicken to cuddle? Here is your breed.
Australorp – Another of my favorite giants, they follow me around, chit-chatting as I walk. They are always the first to come running when they hear the treat bucket. They do well in confinement as well as free-range.
Buff Laced Polish – Now here is an odd one our buff laced polish are so sweet and gentle, but the other colored Polish we have are skittish. We have White Crested Black, Silver Laced, and Blue all have been withdrawn and skittish. Can a color really make a difference? I’m not sure.
Colored Egg Layers
Easter Eggers – Green, blue, and pink are possibilities
Cream Legbar – Blue, olive, and green may show up in your basket.
Welsummer – Gorgeous deep brown eggs some even spotted. They are very pretty eggs.
Black Maran – The darkest of the brown egg layers I believe. Gorgeous chocolate eggs my customers love them. Awarded GOLD for the most sought after colored eggs.
Olive Eggers – Camo green eggs I’m not sure how I feel about this color yet. There is something about it that puts me off a bit.
My favorite breeds of all time?
Dark Brahma, Buff Orpington, Buff Laced Polish, Silkies, and Salmon Faverolles round out my list.