Chickens come in all sizes, shapes, and colors and can mainly be found running free around a farmyard!
While there are big commercial farms that supply meat and eggs to the population, there are many smaller chicken farmers who produce only enough for their own needs or to sell at local markets. Some chickens have been bred for meat, while others are bred to produce lovely eggs.
Here is our list of the top 9 brown chicken breeds for chicken keepers.
- Isa brown chickens
- Novogen brown chickens
- Burford brown chickens
- Brown Leghorn chickens
- Lohmann brown chickens
- Bovan brown chickens
- Red star chickens
- Golden comet chickens
- Barnvelder chickens
Many breeders breed chickens for parading at shows and not only to provide eggs or meat.
Chickens make good pets as many of them are very friendly and have great temperaments. The color of the chicken does not necessarily have any meaning, even though some breeders do breed certain types of chickens to produce the color that they prefer.
Top 9 Brown Chicken Breeds
Over the years, breeders have produced new varieties of chickens by cross-breeding different breeds. Sometimes a certain breed may have inherited a defective gene causing a problem with the chicken, but through cross-breeding, this problem can be fixed.
Brown chicken breeds have been cross-bred through the years to become remarkable egg producers. So here are our top 9 brown chicken breeds.
1. Isa Brown Chickens
This chicken was bred in France in 1997, but the genetic makeup of this breed is a closely guarded secret! They are very gentle and long-suffering birds, a joy to have around your yard.
The female hen is brownish-red in color, whereas the male rooster is white and is bigger than the hen with larger feathers. Their eye color ranges from yellow to a bay red. The rooster weighs about 11 pounds (5kgs) and the hen around 8.5 pounds ((3.8kgs).
This chicken is a popular bird among chicken farmers as they are fantastic egg-layers. Each hen can produce up to 300 or more brown eggs per year from the age of 20 weeks!
They can live in almost all extreme weather conditions, although they do enjoy a pest-free environment, so clean their coop regularly to keep them happy.
This is a dual-purpose chicken raised for meat and eggs. In addition to their daily grains, feed them mealworms and a spoon of live culture yogurt once or twice during the week to keep them strong and healthy.
2. Novogen Brown Chickens
This breed is a cross between the Rhode Island Red and the Leghorn and was bred in France to produce extra-large brown eggs. Bred to be a hardy chicken, it will thrive in a variety of conditions.
Healthy and robust, these chickens are often kept as pets of the farm due to their calm and manageable personality.
Known in the community as a “red sex link “chicken, which means that both the male and the female can easily be identified when they hatch by their colorings. The male is mostly white, and the female is reddish-brown, with light-colored under feathers being a feature of both birds.
They are fast maturing birds and, from the age of twenty weeks, will lay strong shelled, high-quality brown eggs at a rate of 5 or more per week! One chicken can produce 395 eggs in 72 weeks of laying!
3. Burford Brown Chickens
Described as Britain’s favorite hen, the Burford brown is a beautiful bird with silky black plumage.
Originally bred commercially in the Cotswolds in 1980 to supply eggs for the London markets, this chicken is unique in that it is not a hybrid and produces traditional old-fashioned, dark brown eggs!
The Burford Brown is a hardy bird and can survive the harshest weather as she is a free-range chicken. She loves people and is the right choice for a pet.
She can produce up to 240 thick-shelled dark brown eggs per year under the right conditions and will continue to lay for many years.
4. Brown leghorn chicken
Originally imported from Italy, most eggs sold in supermarkets nowadays come from Leghorns or hybrids of them.
Although a nervous and flighty bird, the Leghorn is a foraging, free-range bird who can quickly avoid predators! This is a very slim bird, so not used as a meat provider.
The male brown Leghorn is a beautiful bird with orange and black feathers over a black tail, black wings, and a deep orange body. The female has a light orange neck with a brown stripe, a dark brown stipple back with light brown feathers, and a black tail.
They are prolific breeders, and given the space that they need, each female can lay around 220-300 white eggs per year.
5. Lohmann brown chickens
A cross-breed, selectively bred from the Rhode Island breed and the White rock breeds, this chicken was bred as a commercial egg layer. A free-range bird ideal for back gardens, yards, and smaller areas, they are very friendly and curious and make good family pets.
This is a large, pretty, although not a fancy bird, with orange-brown plumage with white highlights. They start to lay eggs from around the age of 14 weeks and lay up to 300 brown eggs per year with two years of good laying. T
hey live a good long life of up to ten years but won’t produce eggs during all that time.
6. Bovan brown chickens
Founded in 1954 by four Dutch families, the Bovan brand was established to breed strong, robust, and healthy laying hens. Today, these laying hens are found in poultry farms all over the world.
A very forgiving bird with a good appetite, she will thrive in any housing environment, which is an essential ingredient for any egg farmer to keep his business profitable.
Well known as a “robust” bird, the Bovan brown hen is a pretty bird with brown feathers and yellow feet. She is an ideal chicken for the commercial egg producer as she can lay up to 330 top-quality brown eggs per year.
To produce top-quality eggs, they need to be fed with high-quality feed and to have access to fresh drinking water.
7. Red star chickens
The Red Star is a cross-breed between the New Hampshire and either the Rhode island white, White Plymouth Rock, or the Delaware Hen. Bred in the 1950s for production, this chicken is used by large-scale commercial operations to produce eggs.
These birds can fly, so clip their wings regularly to keep them on the ground! They are great foragers and are friendly to people but can be more aggressive with fellow chickens.
The female bird is light brown in color, with the male being speckled white. Both the hens and roosters are of a standard size with a yellow beak and legs.
They can weigh up to approximately 8 pounds(3.6kgs) and are considered as a perfect chicken meal by owners. Prolific egg layers, this bird can start laying eggs from the ages of 10 – 16 weeks and can lay up to 300 brown eggs per year, even during winter.
8. Golden Comet chickens
A cross breed of the Cherry Egger rooster and Rhode Island white hen, this bird was bred as an egg-laying hen. The Golden Comet gets its name from its reddish-gold color.
They are small birds, with the females generally weighing around 4 pounds (1.8kgs) and the males weighing around 6 pounds (2.7kgs).
The Golden Comet is a friendly, laid-back chicken who loves to forage. She is often known as the peace-maker of the flock and will not fight with other chickens. These birds thrive in the free-range environment and make excellent pets!
This bird is a great egg layer and will produce around 250 to 300 brown eggs in a year. She begins laying eggs from the age of 16 weeks old.
9. Barnevelder Chickens
Originally from Holland, this breed was recognized by the US Standard of perfection in 1991. A dual-purpose bird, they are quite large as they provide good meat as well as eggs.
Roosters can weigh 8,5 pounds (3.8kgs), while hens can weigh 6 pounds (2.7kgs). They have specific colors as recognized by the standard of perfection. These include dark brown and silver varieties.
They are calm birds who love to forage. They are broody birds and devoted mothers to their chicks. The hen can lay between 180 and 200 eggs per annum in any weather and thrives better living in a pen but will adapt to being a free-range chicken!
Brown chickens are born to be free! They are not bred to live in a birdcage or to be cooped up. They are flock birds, so they need space to live and thrive amongst their chicken family.
One word of caution, though, these chickens do have an incredibly low immunity towards disease. They can also suffer from kidney disease, which could cause an early death.