Classic American Chicken Breeds

Heritage Chicken Breeds That Started in America

Classic American Chicken Breeds

Reading Time: 5 minutes

It’s fun to consider adding some truly American chicken breeds to your backyard. These breeds are the backbone of a hardy, productive flock. They are good egg layers with high levels of production. They can endure the tough weather we often get in this country. And many have unique features, such as hawk-coloring to avoid predator detection. Nothing fancy, only purpose, for these breeds whose history, in many cases, goes back to our founding fathers and helped to bring about a growing nation.

Ameraucana

Developed in the 1970s and first admitted to the American Poultry Standard in 1984, this breed is perhaps the most confused by consumers since many hatcheries mistakenly sell their Easter Eggers as Ameraucanas. True Ameraucanas are beautiful birds with muffs and a well-feathered body that lay blue/green eggs long into the season.

Class: All Other Standard Breeds

Origin: United States

Comb Type: Pea

Colors: Black, Blue, Blue Wheaten, Brown Red, Buff, Silver, Wheaten, White

Standard Size: 5.5 Pounds (Hen) 6.5 Pounds (Rooster)

Egg Color: Blue/Green

Egg Size: Large

Production: 3+ Eggs Per Week

Hardiness: Very Cold Hardy

Disposition: Docile, Active, Friendly

Digital Spotlight: countrysidenetwork.com/daily/poultry/chickens-101/ameraucana-chicken-breed-of-the-month/

Photo Credit: Lisa Steele

Buckeye

Developed in Ohio and named for the state tree because their color is comparable to the mahogany in a buckeye nut, the Buckeye is the only breed developed solely by a woman. They also hold the distinction of being the only pea-combed breed developed in the United States. Buckeyes are winter hardy, good layers and make good backyard pets with their friendly personalities.

Class: American

Origin: United States

Comb Type: Pea

Color: Mahogany Red

Standard Size: 6.5 Pounds (Hen) 9 Pounds (Rooster)

Egg Color: Brown

Egg Size: Medium

Production: 3 to 4 Eggs Per Week

Hardiness: Very Cold Hardy

Disposition: Friendly, Sociable

Digital Spotlight: countrysidenetwork.com/daily/poultry/chickens-101/buckeye-chickens-all-american-breed/

Photo Credit: Pam Freeman

Delaware

Named for the state where it was developed, the Delaware chicken was once a staple of the broiler industry. This is a friendly, dual-purpose bird that can be used for eggs or meat. Interestingly, female Delawares may be mated with male New Hampshire or Rhode Island Reds and the resulting chicks are sex-linked and able to be sexed according to their color.

Class: American

Origin: United States

Comb Type: Single

Color: White with Incomplete Black Barring

Standard Size: 6.5 Pounds (Hen) 8.5 Pounds (Rooster)

Egg Color: Brown

Egg Size: Large

Production: 4 to 5 Eggs Per Week

Hardiness: Cold and Heat Hardy

Disposition: Calm

Digital Spotlight: countrysidenetwork.com/daily/poultry/chickens-101/delaware-chicken-breed-spotlight/

Photo Credit: Marissa Ames

Dominique

This is thought to be the oldest American breed, one of the first breed of chickens established in America. Dominiques were replaced in popularity by the Barred Rock. The two breeds look similar with a barred color pattern that’s referred to as hawk-coloring, meaning it confuses aerial predators. Dominiques nearly became extinct, but are regaining in numbers.

Class: American

Origin: United States

Comb Type: Rose

Color: Black and White Barred

Standard Size: 5 Pounds (Hen) 7 Pounds (Rooster)

Egg Color: Brown

Egg Size: Medium

Production: 3 to 4 Eggs Per Week

Hardiness: Cold and Heat Hardy

Disposition: Calm, Gentle, Good Forager

Digital Spotlight: https://countrysidenetwork.com/daily/poultry/chickens-101/the-delightful-dominique-chicken/

Dominique Chicken
Photo by Tracey Allen, courtesy of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

Jersey Giant

As its name implies, make sure you have room to house your Jersey Giants, known to be one of the largest chicken breeds. Also as the name implies, this breed was developed in New Jersey. This is a slowly maturing bird with beautiful black feathers that become iridescent in the sun.

Class: American

Origin: United States

Comb Type: Single

Colors: Black, White

Standard Size: 10 Pounds (Hen) 13 Pounds (Rooster)

Egg Color: Brown

Egg Size: Large

Production: 3 to 4 Eggs Per Week

Hardiness: Cold Hardy

Disposition: Calm, Gentle

Digital Spotlight: countrysidenetwork.com/daily/poultry/chickens-101/the-jersey-giant-chicken-an-outstanding-heritage-meat-breed/

Photo credit: Don Schrider

New Hampshire

This is a great family-friendly bird that’s named for the state where it was developed. Many confuse this breed with the Rhode Island Red, which makes sense because it was originally developed from Rhode Island Red stock. This is a dual-purpose bird that matures early and consistently lays brown eggs.

Class: American

Origin: United States

Comb Type: Single

Color: Red

Standard Size: 6.5 Pounds (Hen) 8.5 Pounds (Rooster)

Egg Color: Brown

Egg Size: Large

Production: 4 to 5 Eggs Per Week

Hardiness: Cold and Heat Tolerant

Disposition: Calm, Friendly

Digital Spotlight: countrysidenetwork.com/daily/poultry/chickens-101/new-hampshire-chicken-breed-of-the-month/

Photo Credit: Pam Freeman

Plymouth Rock

Plymouth Rocks are said to have been developed in Massachusetts after the Civil War and were named for one of the state’s most famous landmarks. Plymouth Rocks are one of the most popular dual-purpose birds for backyard chicken keepers. They are friendly, cold-hardy birds that bear confinement but are happiest when free ranging.

Class: American

Origin: United States

Comb Type: Single

Popular Colors: Barred, Black, Blue, Buff, Columbian, Partridge, Silver Penciled, and White

Standard Size: 7.5 Pounds (Hen) 9.5 Pounds (Rooster)

Egg Color: Brown

Egg Size: Large

Production: 4 to 5 Eggs Per Week

Hardiness: Cold Hardy

Disposition: Especially Docile

Digital Spotlight: countrysidenetwork.com/daily/poultry/chickens-101/plymouth-barred-rock-chickens-the-original-heirloom-chicken-breed/

plymouth-barred-rock-chicken
Photo Credit: Pam Freeman

Rhode Island Red

Rhode Island Reds were developed in the 1800s and the breed was named after the state where it was developed. This breed holds the distinction of being Rhode Island’s state bird. This is a utility breed that can be used for eggs and meat. It is considered a superior bird for backyard flocks.

Class: American

Origin: United States

Comb Type: Single

Color: Red

Standard Size: 6.5 Pounds (Hen) 8.5 Pounds (Rooster)

Egg Color: Brown

Egg Size: Large to Extra Large

Production: 5+ Eggs Per Week

Hardiness: Cold and Heat Hardy

Disposition: Docile

Digital Spotlight: countrysidenetwork.com/daily/poultry/chickens-101/rhode-island-red-chicken-november-breed-of-the-month-fp/

Wyandotte

Wyandottes were developed in New York and Wisconsin and named after the Native American Wendat tribe. The family’s parent variety is the Silver Laced Wyandotte. From there, many color variations have been bred, some recognized by the American Poultry Association, others not. This is a hardy, all-around useful chicken that graces many backyard flocks across America.

Class: American

Origin: United States

Comb Type: Rose

Popular Colors: Silver Laced, Golden Laced, White, Black, Partridge, Silver Penciled, Columbian, and Blue

Standard Size: 6.5 Pounds (Hen) 8.5 Pounds (Rooster)

Egg Color: Brown

Egg Size: Large

Production: 4 to 5 Eggs Per Week

Hardiness: Cold Hardy

Disposition: Calm

Digital Spotlight: countrysidenetwork.com/daily/poultry/chickens-101/wyandotte-chicken-june-breed-of-the-month/

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