Dual Purpose Chickens

Raising Dual Purpose Chickens is a Great Idea and a Great Addition to Your Flock

Deciding to raise dual purpose chickens is a great step towards food self-sufficiency and can make a significant, positive impact on your budget. 

Most chickens used for egg production are bred purely for maximum production, so they usually are not the best for meat. 

Some other important qualities are bred out of these chickens too, for example, “broodiness" since the best egg laying chickens are not very broody.

Solid, Meaty, Dual Purpose Chicken

Broody or broodiness refers to those chickens that currently are, or are wanting to hatch eggs and raise their young.

Broody hens pretty much cease to produce eggs and this can go on for the 3 weeks they're sitting (it takes 21 days on average to incubate and hatch an egg) as well as for another 5 weeks while they're tending their brood. 

Families looking primarily for egg production will need to replenish their laying stock as needed by buying chicks from a hatchery. 

In a similar way, the favorite chicken breeds used for meat production are not the best of egg layers.

They are bred primarily for muscle mass and quick growth, often times being of age and ready for harvesting in just 5 or 6 weeks. They're not bred for their reproductive ability. 

The dual purpose breeds produces both eggs and meat well. These chickens also tend to go broody, so they will do a good job of  replenishing their numbers on their own.

Here is a list of some of the best dual purpose breeds: 

  • The Barred Plymouth Rock: Plymouth Rocks were originally bred for dual purpose use. They are large and long-lived. Plymouths lay abundant brown eggs and are good mothers. They are hardy and do well in cold climates.
  • The Rhode Island Red: Rhode Island Reds (RIR’s) are known for their high egg production and are a common breed found on many family farms and in small backyard flocks. They also produce excellent meat.
  • The Buff Orpington: Known as a “heavy purpose” breed, Buff Orpington hens weigh about eight pounds when fully grown. Known for being calm and friendly, Orpingtons are also the broodiest breed. They make good mothers and are great with their chicks. Very hardy in cold weather, they lay pinkish brown eggs. 
  • Wyandotte: Wyandotte hens lay about 200 eggs a year. They are good setters. These hardy birds are also good foragers. 
  • New Hampshire Reds: These chickens were bred for early maturity and high egg production. The large birds are also attractive as well as tasty on the dinner table.

All of these breeds will make a great addition to your flock of dual purpose chickens!

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