Keeping chickens in small backyards is becoming increasingly popular these days. Not only do they offer fresh and healthy eggs, but they also help manage waste sustainably, control insects and maintain soil.
However, choosing the right chicken breed can be a daunting task. Factors like available space, climate, noise tolerance, and personal preferences need to be considered.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the top six chicken breeds that are ideal for small backyards, along with their unique features, behaviour, temperament, and egg-laying abilities. Let’s begin this quirk-fest!
The Benefits of Keeping Chickens in Small Backyards
Are you looking to add some feathered friends to your small backyard? Keeping chickens is not only a fun hobby but also has numerous benefits. Not only do they provide fresh and nutritious eggs, but they also help with sustainable waste management and can even control insects and help with soil maintenance.
Let’s dive a little deeper into the many benefits of keeping chickens.
Firstly, fresh and nutritious eggs can be obtained by raising chickens in your backyard. Chickens produce more eggs in the spring and summer which also depends upon the breed of the chicken.
Secondly, waste management becomes easy as chickens consume table scraps and yard waste, turning them into nutrient-rich manure for your garden. Moreover, chickens also help to control insects, thereby reducing the use of pesticides in your yard.
Lastly, with their constant pecking at the ground, they help to keep your soil healthy and aerated. As you can see, keeping chickens in your small backyard provides many benefits. But choosing the right breed is crucial. Let’s take a look at some of the top considerations when selecting a breed for your backyard.
Top Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Chicken Breed
Keeping chickens in your backyard is becoming increasingly popular because of the various benefits associated with it. They provide fresh and nutritious eggs, manage sustainable waste, contribute to insect control, and maintain soil quality. However, choosing the right chicken breed for your small backyard can be a daunting task.
Before delving into the top chicken breeds for small backyards, let’s take a quick look at the benefits. Having chickens in your backyard means that you have a constant supply of fresh and nutritious eggs. They also help you manage organic waste and turn it into a valuable source of compost.
Additionally, they help control insect populations in your yard and maintain the quality of your soil.
Before selecting a chicken breed, there are a few critical factors to consider. Firstly, you need to ensure that you have enough available space for the birds to move around comfortably. You also need to take into account the local climate and weather conditions that can affect the health and productivity of the chickens.
Noise tolerance is another essential factor to consider, especially if you have close neighbors.
Lastly, personal preferences and needs should also be considered since not all chicken breeds are created equal. When it comes to available space, bear in mind that each chicken typically needs around four square feet of coop space and ten square feet of outdoor space.
You also need to ensure that the breed you choose can comfortably coexist with each other.
For example, Rhode Island Reds tend to be docile, whereas Wyandottes have a more assertive temperament. Regarding climate and weather conditions, certain chicken breeds tolerate cold weather better, such as Sussex and Wyandottes.
At the same time, others do better in hot weather, such as Leghorns. Make sure to select a breed that suits the local weather conditions where you live. Noise tolerance is another crucial factor to take into account.
Some chicken breeds, such as Leghorns and Rhode Island Reds, tend to be noisier than others, such as Sussex and Wyandottes. If your neighbors are close, it’s best to opt for a quieter breed.
Lastly, personal preferences and needs should also be considered. If you want a breed that lays a lot of eggs, Leghorns and Rhode Island Reds are excellent options. If you want a breed that’s good with children, Bantams and Plymouth Rocks are good choices. Choosing the right breed is essential to have a happy and healthy flock. Once you’ve considered all the factors, it’s time to pick the breed that suits your needs.
1. Bantam Chickens
Bantam Chickens are an excellent choice for small backyards due to their size and friendly natures.
These chickens come in various breeds and have unique appearances, personalities, and egg-laying patterns. One of the most popular breeds is the Silkie Bantam, which has fluffy feathers, a calm personality, and a reputation for being motherly.
Another breed is the Serama Bantam, also known as the smallest chicken breed globally, weighing only a few ounces. Despite its size, it is incredibly active and energetic, making it an excellent choice for a backyard flock. Bantams are also known for their excellent egg-laying abilities, and the eggs they produce are usually small and have a higher yolk-to-white ratio than most other chicken eggs.
In terms of temperament, bantams are friendly and calm and are great pets for children. They are also known for their docile behavior, which makes them easy to handle and care for. Their small size also means minimal feeding and maintenance costs, making them an economical choice for backyard chicken keeping.
All in all, Bantam Chickens make an excellent choice for small backyard setups.
2. Rhode Island Reds
When it comes to small backyards, Rhode Island Reds are a popular pick for chicken breeds.
These birds have a classic appearance with their dark red feathers and upright posture. They are known for their friendly and docile temperament, making them a great choice for families with children.
Rhode Island Reds are also excellent egg producers, laying between 250-300 brown eggs per year. In terms of size, Rhode Island Reds are a medium-sized breed, weighing in at around 6.5 pounds for hens and 8.5 pounds for roosters. They are cold-hardy birds and can handle a wide range of climates, making them suitable for many backyard setups.
One thing to keep in mind is that Rhode Island Reds can be vocal at times, so they may not be the best choice for urban settings with noise restrictions. Overall, if you’re looking for a chicken breed that is easy to care for, good-natured, and produces plenty of tasty eggs, Rhode Island Reds are an excellent choice for your small backyard flock.
When it comes to choosing the best chicken breeds for small backyards, Leghorns are a great option that you shouldn’t overlook. Known for their active and alert nature, they’re perfect for those who want a breed that’s always on the move. Appearance-wise, Leghorns are slender with a strong build and are typically white.
They have a single comb and a relatively large head that makes them stand out from other breeds. In terms of temperament, Leghorns can be independent and self-reliant, making them a great choice for those who don’t want a breed that requires constant attention.
One of the key reasons that Leghorns make such a great choice for small backyards is their excellent egg-laying abilities. They’re known to lay large, white eggs almost daily, meaning you’ll always have fresh eggs on-hand for breakfast. Overall, Leghorns are a versatile and reliable breed that’s perfect for those who don’t want to sacrifice egg production for space. Plus, their active nature makes them a lot of fun to watch!
4. Plymouth Rocks
Plymouth Rocks are a hardy breed that thrives in small backyards. Their size makes them perfect for small spaces and their friendly nature ensures that they can live harmoniously with other chicken breeds.
Plymouth Rocks are easily recognized due to their striking black and white stripes that lend them a unique appearance. In terms of temperament, Plymouth Rocks are docile and friendly, making them great companions for backyard chicken enthusiasts. They are also highly intelligent and can be trained to respond to a range of commands.
When it comes to egg production, Plymouth Rocks are excellent layers and can produce as many as five eggs a week. One thing to consider when selecting Plymouth Rocks is that they are relatively noisy birds.
They love to cluck and can create quite a raucous in the backyard. If you have nosy neighbors who are easily perturbed by loud noises, this may not be the breed for you. All in all, Plymouth Rocks are a versatile breed that can thrive in small backyard spaces. They are friendly, intelligent, and productive layers that will keep your garden buzzing with activity.
Are you looking for a breed that is both charming and useful in your small backyard? Look no further than the Sussex breed! With their striking good looks and friendly personality, they are a breed that can’t be beaten.
Sussex chickens are striking in appearance, with beautiful feathers that come in a variety of colors, including speckled, red, white, and more. They have a sturdy build, with broad backs and chests.
Behavior and Temperament: These chickens are known for their friendly and docile personalities, making them great for families with kids. They are also good foragers, which means they love to scratch around in the dirt for insects and other goodies. Egg Production: Sussex chickens are excellent layers, typically producing around 200-250 eggs per year.
Their eggs are medium to large in size and have a lovely creamy white color. In short, the Sussex breed is a great all-around choice for the small backyard chicken enthusiast. With their good looks, friendly personality, and excellent egg production, they are sure to be a favorite with both you and your family.
Wyandottes are a great choice for a small backyard, mainly because of their appearance.
They have a unique and striking pattern of feathers, which makes them stand out from other chicken breeds.
And bigger isn’t always better, right? But it’s not just their appearance that makes them a popular pick.
Wyandottes are friendly and easy to handle, which makes them a great choice for families with young children. These birds are also quite docile, which means they’ll rarely throw a fit, unlike people we know. They do like to take charge, though, and can be a bit bossy at times.
Aside from being pretty and sociable, Wyandottes are excellent layers as well. They can produce up to 200 eggs a year, making them one of the most productive breeds around. Their eggs are medium-sized, brown or cream-colored, and tasty, with a smooth texture and rich flavor – perfect for breakfast.
Overall, if you’re looking for a breed that’s both beautiful and productive, the Wyandotte might be the ideal choice for you. Just know that they have high standards, so don’t be surprised if they start charging you rent someday.
When it comes to choosing chicken breeds for small backyards, factors like available space, local climate, and personal preferences matter. Bantams, Rhode Island Reds, Leghorns, Plymouth Rocks, Sussex, and Wyandottes are some of the best options based on their appearance, behaviour, temperament, and egg production. Happy chicken-keeping!
Shannon Stansberry has been engaged in the business of raising chickens for more than 12 years. In 2016, she accomplished the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. At present, she tends to more than 80 chickens on her 4-hectare farm. Shannon regularly shares her insights and experience on how to raise healthy and contented chickens on the platform Typesofchickens.com