Do you want to raise a few best dual-purpose chicken breeds in your backyard? If so, this breed list and pictures will help you choose one.
They will give you the best quality meat and lots of eggs. Dual-purpose chickens are crucial for the homestead because they are beneficial for farmers.
Choosing the best quality breed also plays an important role as it influences the coop and yard’s location, style, and construction.
The climate you live in also affects the breed’s choice for your area since some chicken breeds do well in warmer climates than others.
It sounds good to have an animal that can serve two purposes. Let’s find out which dual-purpose chicken breed suits your backyard coop.
What Are Dual Purpose Chicken Breeds?
In modern-day factory farms, chickens are bred for laying eggs or meat production. The laying breed produces impressive quantities of eggs, and most resources are used for egg production.
So, dual-purpose best chicken breeds are regarded as chicken breeds that lay a good number of eggs and a good amount of meat.
When hens stop laying eggs, farmers sell them on the market for meat. Dual purpose is an inaccurate term for backyards that do not process their birds.
Even though the dual-purpose breed is popular in backyards, raising only a larger size chicken breed is not a good option.
Though they can get easily startled because of their heavy bodies, they cannot fly over the fences, and during winter, because of their large bodies, they can bear the cold.
19 Best Dual Purpose Chicken Breeds for Getting Lots of Eggs and Meat (with Pictures)
Here is the list of the best dual-purpose chickens for excellent productivity:
1. Black Australorp chickens
Black Australorp chickens are known for their friendly and noisy personalities, which make other breeds bully them.
They do well in backyard confinement and on the free range since they are good at foraging. They are black and weigh 6 to 8 lb for females and around 8 to 10 lb for roosters.
They have an average lifespan of 6 to 10 years, but some can live past this period with proper maintenance.
Australorps lay 4 to 5 light brown medium eggs weekly and about 250-280 eggs yearly. Their good egg-laying and size make them one of the best dual-purpose chicken breeds.
Highest egg laying record by a Black Australorp hen was 364 eggs in 365 days.
2. Speckled Sussex chickens
Unlike the Australorps, Speckled Sussex chickens are the quietest dual-purpose chicken breed. These dual-purpose chickens are friendly and can be great pets for children.
Most farmers love them because of their rich mahogany color with speckles. They do well in all seasons with continuous egg production, even in cold winters.
The Speckled Sussex chickens are hardworking and can look for food independently in the free range.
Additionally, they are suitable for butchering since they average 6-7 lb for females while their male counterparts weigh 8-9 lb. These adorable fowls have a lifespan of more than 8 years.
These birds start laying eggs within their first two months and can lay up to 4-5 medium-sized eggs weekly.
3. Rhode Island Red chickens
RIR is one of the popular dual-purpose chicken for meat and eggs with alternating personalities. The Rhode Island Red chicken is docile and can turn hostile when provoked.
However, these birds are inquisitive about everything happening in the compound and love being a family.
Rhode Island Red chickens are primarily deep pink to black with a black tail that makes them different from other breeds. The roosters weigh 8.6 lbs, while the hens are a little bit lighter, weighing 6.6 lbs.
They have an average lifespan of 5 to 8 years despite other environmental factors influencing their survival. They are less prone to disease. Thus, proper management can make them outlive the average lifespan.
Cold weather can significantly influence the number of eggs the Rhode Island Red chickens will lay weekly. They lay medium to large eggs, ranging from 5 to 6 weekly.
4. Wyandotte chickens
The Wyandottes are the best dual-purpose chicken breeds that can be excellent for breeding in cold regions.
They are docile and friendly to humans and other breeds, making them excellent for beginners to handle. Wyandotte chickens love foraging in the compound as they feed the cheeks. However, they do best in confinement, unlike other breeds.
They are much heavier than the speckled breeds, with the hens weighing around 6-7 lb, while the roosters weigh 8-9 lb.
Their color is black, white, or a combination of both to give a nice speckled mixture. The Wyandottes have a lifespan of over 5 years, which can be extended with proper maintenance.
This breed of dual-purpose chicken lays up to 4 eggs weekly, with some going broody. They lay large light brown eggs, which most individuals admire because of the rich nutrients they provide.
5. Orpington chickens
Orpingtons are another calm, docile, dual-purpose chicken preferred because of their broodiness. In addition, these fowl are active and do well in open spaces and free range.
Their colors are Blue, Black, Buff, White, Chocolate, Cuckoo, Gold Laced, Jubilee, Lavender, Lemon Cuckoo, Partridge, and Red. Orpington males weigh 10 lbs. while females weigh around 7-8 lbs.
Provided they are given the proper care, Orpingtons will stay for approximately 8 to 10 years as you enjoy excellent profits from your egg business. It lays 3 to 5 large eggs weekly and 200 or more eggs annually.
6. Plymouth Rocks chickens
The Plymouth Rocks Chicken is a broody fowl that provides tender care to the baby chicks. It’s calm and curious about the environment surrounding its young ones or humans, which might change the calm trait.
Nonetheless, these dual-purpose chickens are friendly and accommodative to beginner chicken farmers. Also, because of their quiet nature, you can run them without causing a nuisance to the neighborhood.
The Plymouth Rock chickens are of several varieties, depending on their seven recognized colors. We can have silver-penciled, blue, buff, Columbian, partridge, or white Plymouth. Their standard weights are 7 lbs for the roosters and 3.4 lbs for the hens.
This dual-purpose chicken breed begins to lay eggs within the first 4 months of life. Most farmers are bound to collect 4 eggs every week. The eggs are brown and large to give you excellent nutrition.
7. Dominique chickens
Dominique is a tranquil dual-purpose chicken breed that most individuals love keeping for commercial and social purposes. This chicken breed loves to graze in the backyard.
Even with much provocation, this breed of chicken will rarely get aggressive. Their chicks are affectionate, and you’ll feel them running over your feet as they keep you company.
Their colorful feathers with white and black strips form a barred pattern. They weigh 4 to 5 lbs for female chickens and 6 to 7 lbs for male Dominique.
The lifespan of the Dominique breed ranges from 6 to 8 years but can be less or more than this, depending on the care measures instituted by the farmer.
They lay more than 4 medium size eggs every week. The number decreases after 2 years.
8. Jersey Giant chickens
As the name suggests, Jersey Giants are some of the largest chicken breeds. They are typically tame and friendly towards the owners. The Jersey Giant is not aggressive or noisy and thus can be kept with other breeds of chickens.
The Giants can have black, blue, or white feathers; thus, most individuals confuse them with the Australorps. However, they have hefty weights that average 15 lb for the rooster and 11 lb for the hens.
Jersey Giants have an egg production of 2 to 4 eggs per week and are mostly winter layers. They lay medium to large light brown eggs and have a lifespan of up to 8 years.
9. Black Star chickens
This is a hardy fowl that adapts to any environment. In addition, they are docile, though very cautious about what is happening in their environment.
They are black with some striking pink around the neck. These medium-sized chickens weigh 8 lb for the rooster and an average of 5 lb for the hens.
The Black Star is one of the dual-purpose chickens for meat and eggs that is easy to raise in a tough neighborhood without putting you through the hassle of silencing it. They have a lifespan of less than 5 years.
They are usually nicknamed “egg-laying machines” because they produce 5 medium-sized eggs weekly. Black Star hens are excellent options for poultry interested in collecting a consistent number of eggs.
10. Buckeye chickens
This is one of the most active dual-purpose chicken breeds that do well in confinement. They are hardy, friendly, and easy to handle in any setup.
Buckeye roosters are very aggressive when their female counterparts breeding. They have a deep red plumage with black speckles on the tail.
Most hens weigh around 6.5 lbs, while roosters have an average weight of 9 lbs. They can stay for more than 10 years if the farmer takes good care of them.
A Buckeye hen can lay 3 to 4 medium or large eggs weekly, which is perfect for any farmer. They are averagely broody, making them excellent setters.
11. Chantecler chickens
The Chantecler is one of the amenable dual-purpose chickens that can be temperamental under provocation. However, most of the time, it’s gentle, calm, and hardy in cold climates.
These dual-purpose chickens have white and pinkish feathers with some black speckles. The roosters have an average weight of 9 lbs, with their female counterparts weighing 6.5 to 7.5 lbs.
They are not prone to diseases and thus can survive for approximately 8 to 10 years.
Chantecler hens lay 4 eggs per week. They are layers rarely affected by the cold as they can withstand the cold winters. Despite their fair broodiness, they lay large brown eggs and are good mothers.
12. Austra White chickens
This tame and pliant breed is friendly and economical to keep since it can forage for food. It has a high level of nervousness and is easily provoked into a temperamental fowl.
The male Austras are white, while the hens are white with black stripes around the neck. Their weights vary depending on the care and maintenance provided by the farmer.
The Austra roosters weigh 6.5 lbs, while the hens have an average weight of 5 lbs. Generally, Austra White lays 4 to 5 eggs weekly, translating into over 230 eggs annually. The eggs are white or creamy and large.
13. Langshan chickens
Langshan chickens are calm, lenient, and friendly. They are smaller breeds compared to the Cochin and massive Brahmas. In addition, these adorable birds are hardworking and thus good foragers in large flock sizes in free range.
Most of the Langshans are black or white with speckles around the neck to give them a refined look. The male Langshans weigh 9.5 lb, while the hens have an average weight of 7.5 lb.
They have a lifespan of 5 to 8 years and are resistant to cold winters. They lay an average of 3 to 4 large brown eggs per week.
14. Cochin chickens
This is a hefty dual-purpose chicken breed with a friendly personality that makes it ideal for a hobbyist. Cochin chickens are generally calm and docile, making them good pets for children. These charming fowl are the most cuddly among other breeds.
Cochins have a variety of colors, with black and pink fowls being the commonest. Most roosters have an average weight of 11 lbs, while the hens weigh around 8.5 lbs.
Cochin hens lay an average of 150 medium-brown eggs annually. However, this might decline with time as the chicken approaches 8 years of age, which is its lifespan.
15. Egyptian Fayoumi chickens
This is an irresolute breed of dual-purpose chicken with a skittish trait. The Egyptian Fayoumi is very intelligent and inquisitive about its environment. Despite being an excellent forager, you must provide some supplemental feeds.
Most Fayoumis are slate blue with a silver-white color around their necks to complement their charm. The Fayoumi roosters weigh 5 lb, while the hens have an average weight of 3 lb.
Fayoumi has a higher fertility rate and can produce 150 to 250 medium-tinted eggs annually, with a high yolk content. It has a life expectancy of more than 5 years.
16. Naked Neck chickens
This is a calm breed of amenable chicken that doesn’t get temperamental quickly. Naked Neck chickens lack feathers around their neck but can come with different feathers for the other parts.
In addition, they are cold and heat-hardy and tolerate cold and hot climates to produce excellent eggs when other breeds cannot lay eggs.
Naked Necks can be black, buffy, white, or red feathered, giving you myriad options to suit your desires. They are medium-sized and weigh 8.5 lb for the roosters and 6.5 lb for the hens.
Naked Neck chickens have a short 4-6 years lifespan but can outlive this when maintained. In a year, these dual-purpose chickens for meat and eggs produce an average of 100 medium-light brown eggs.
17. Delaware chickens
Delawares are a cheerful, active, and friendly breed of dual-purpose chicken that can keep you company as you garden. They are very explorative and wish to know more about what you engage in in the garden.
The Delaware chickens are white with black barrings around their necks to give them nicely blended feathers. They are medium-sized breeds and weigh 8 lb for the males and 6 lb for the females.
Most Delawares produce an average of 4 large brown eggs per week, most of which can live for more than 5 years.
18. Brahma chickens
Brahma chickens easily accommodate other breeds and don’t cause trouble easily. They are tame, docile, and thus effortless to handle for a beginner or any chicken farmer.
Depending on the chosen variety, these giant chickens can be dark, buff, or light in color. Their weights are hefty and are only rivaled by the Jersey Giant dual-purpose breeds.
The Brahma rooster weighs 10 lb., while the hens have an average weight of 8 lb. As with other dual-purpose chicken breeds, Brahma has a 5 to 8 years lifespan. They are good layers and produce 3 large brown eggs every week.
19. Faverolle chickens
The Faverolle chickens are gentle and docile, making them more accommodating to other breeds and family members.
In addition, Faverolle chickens can be friendly and curious about anything happening in the compound. They are excellent dual-purpose chicken breeds that can do well in the backyard or free range.
These adorable dual-purpose chickens come in various colors, ranging from chic mahogany to blue salmon. However, the white and salmon Faverolles are the commonest.
The roosters have an average weight of 8 lb, while the hens weigh around 6.5 lb. They produce 240 medium/large tinted eggs annually and have a lifespan of 5 to 7 years.
Benefits of Raising dual purpose chicken Breeds
Here are some benefits of raising a dual-purpose chicken breed:
- The most apparent reason for the dual-purpose chicken breed is that it provides versatility.
- The dual-purpose breed also contains heritage genes, which means they have many advantages regarding health and hardiness.
- The chickens of the dual-purpose breed are bred because they have balanced health. They are less prone to parasites and other ailments. Here are some of the best chicken wormers to keep chickens worm free.
- These breeds’ lifespan is comparatively greater than the others, and they have high egg-laying production.
- Compared to specialized breeds, dual-purpose breeds do well in a pasture-based setting with moderate grain, depending on the age and reproduction stage.
- Bird of dual-purpose chickens for eggs and meat breed has a superior flavor and makeup with nutritional content when compared to high-quality breeds. Here is a guide to the best chicken vitamins for chickens.
- The breed that can perform more than one task means you can have more than one income stream.
What are the largest dual-purpose chicken breeds?
Brahma chickens are the largest dual-purpose chicken breeds with hefty weights of 10 lb and above. They produce 3 large eggs every week.
When to harvest dual-purpose chicken breeds?
The harvest time depends on the various breeds and your primary intention with the chicken. Most dual-purpose chickens for meat only take 12 weeks to be ready for harvest. However, the hens might take up to 3 or 4 months to lay eggs.
When to butcher dual-purpose chickens?
The best time to butcher the dual-purpose chicken breeds is when they are 18 weeks old since this will be when there is enough meat deposition on their bones to give you a good meal.
Where to buy dual-purpose chicken breeds?
Dual-purpose chickens can be found everywhere in the market. However, you can consider buying them from the hatcheries for quality.
You can also check out your nearest chicken breeds and find some exciting dual-purpose flocks for breeding.
Dual-purpose chickens are the best fowl you can keep on your homestead for emergencies and to promote an egg business.
You can choose from several breeds to give you an excellent result as you begin the egg production business.
In addition, some dual-purpose chickens do well with other breeds. I hope this list of the best dual-purpose chicken breed helped you choose one.