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Chicken Breeds Ideal for Backyard Pets and Eggs

By: Anna Millman
Popular picks for backyard flocks, these breeds rate high for their friendly personalities, beauty or unusual looks, hardiness in hot and cold climates, and reputations as good egg layers.
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Rhode Island Red

This hen named Fronk is a fine-looking specimen of its breed, one that dates back to the late 1800s. Exceptionally hardy, the Rhode Island Red lays large brown eggs. Some chicken owners say RIRs have easygoing personalities; others say they are bossy. As with many breeds, it comes down to whether they are handled frequently when they are chicks and whether human interaction is encouraged with treats. The RIR is the state bird of Rhode Island.

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Partridge Silkie

Resembling a puffball with a beak, Silkies are one of the most popular ornamental chicken breeds. They are bantams, which are miniaturized poultry. Due to their unusual looks and docile nature, some chicken owners keep them as indoor household pets. Silkies get their name from their soft feathers that look more like fur. While this picture shows a rooster, both sexes look virtually identical. Silkies are one of many breeds that have feathered feet. Earliest mentions of Silkies date back to the time of Marco Polo.

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Golden Campine

Campines are originally from Belgium and are fairly good layers of medium-sized white eggs. The solid gold plumage on her head, her white ears, the barred plumage on her body and her upright tail make this golden variety hen named Jenny a strikingly beautiful bird. Her good looks combined with the breed's penchant for foraging and flying have led Jenny's owners to nickname her the "traffic-calming chicken," as she's frequently found strutting up and down the sidewalk where she lives, causing drivers to slow down and check her out. Campines come in two varieties — golden and white. This rare breed is said to date back to the time of Julius Caesar.

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Easter Egger

If you want a hen that lays pastel blue, green or pink eggs, then the Easter Egger is the one for you. Easter Eggers are technically not a breed, though they resemble Ameraucanas and Araucanas. EEs come in a variety of colored plumage and frequently have pea combs, muffs and ear tufts. EEs are regarded as hardy, friendly and good layers. This EE is named Quilla and lays pale blue eggs.

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