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The 20 Best Chicken Breeds for Meat


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As time moves on, we all learn more and more about nutrition and health, which is why we progressively lean more towards healthier foods as opposed to just going for whatever we have at the supermarket.

This has been especially poignant in the meat industry, as more and more information has been spread around the general masses, to the point where most people nowadays know which meat to eat when dieting and which to avoid.

Chicken meat has definitely grown more and more in popularity in these last couple of years, especially thanks to the low calorie and high protein factor that it has to offer.

But as we all know by now, not all chicken meat is the same, and for today’s article we decided to take a second and line up the 20 best chicken breeds that you can get for their meat alone.

We have plenty of other articles based on chicken eggs and whatnot, but for today we will solely focus on them as meat suppliers. With that said however, let’s first give a brief explanation of what you need to look out for, when buying a chicken breed for its meat in the first place.

How to Choose a Chicken Breed for Meat

How to Choose a Chicken Breed for Meat
Photo by Raphael Wild / unsplash.com

First and foremost, you need to look at the general size of the chicken. Remember that you’re looking to get your money’s worth from this feathered baby, so you can’t choose the smallest one just because it’s cuter that way.

Second of all, you need to take into consideration the fact that different chicken breeds have different flavors when it comes to their meat.

Taste is pretty much almost completely affected by the diet that the chicken is consuming, but at the same time some chicken breeds’ meat is a lot sweeter than the other and so on and so forth.

Third, even though you are trying to get the best meat chicken breed you can still go for a dual-purpose breed, so that you can enjoy their eggs as well.

best chicken meat
Photo by Christian West / pexels.com

Fourth, you do need to keep in mind that the temperament of the chicken is always something to look out for. You don’t want to have to take care of riled-up chickens, especially since the more stressed out they are, the harder their meat will be which makes a huge difference to say the least.

Fifth of all, since you want to get their meat as soon as possible you will want their growth rates to be practically over the moon. This is why you need to invest into a chicken breed that grows up fast, so that you can rip the band aid off as soon as possible and enjoy some tasty chicken wings.

Last but not least, you need to decide whether you’re looking for a commercial chicken breed or a heritage chicken breed. This comes down to your preference alone, so you need to be the one to make this choice on your own, when all is said and done.

Now that we know what we need to look out for in terms of the best chicken breeds out there, how about we jump straight into our number 20th pick of the day:

20. New Hampshire Red

New Hampshire Red
Photo by Dornenwolf / flickr.com

This is a classic American breed right here, and although it is mostly famous for its egg production, let’s just say that it also truly deserves to be mentioned here as well.

After all, they take around 8 to 10 weeks to fully mature and during this time period they can grow as large as 8.5lbs in total.

The males can be a bit on the aggressive side however which is pretty hard to deal with, but as long as you can get over that you will definitely get your money’s worth from this chicken breed.

19. Kosher King

Kosher King
via pinterest.com

Most people know of this breed because of its gorgeous look, but what many of them don’t realize is that this can also be one of the top choices for chicken meat as well.

This all stems from the fact that its meat is especially tasty, and let’s not forget about the fact that the males grow so much faster than the females, which makes them perfect if you want to get to the butchering part as soon as possible.

18. Dorking

Dorking chicken
via silverlakefarms.com

If you’re looking for a chicken breed that has a very specific flavor to its meat, then look no further than the Dorking right here.

The best part about it is that although this breed makes for a great choice when it comes to its meat alone, it is also fairly decent at producing eggs, offering you around 140 large white eggs on a yearly basis with ease.

17. Croad Langshan

Croad Langshan
via bobs-hens.co.uk

If you want to add a new breed to your chicken coop to spice things up a bit, you may need to look into the Croad Langshan, because this breed is especially gorgeous to say the least.

Thanks to its beautiful black feathers and that green lining, you will be getting your hands on one of the prettiest chicken breeds of all time, and let’s not forget the fact that they are also fairly large, at around 9lbs or so, when they are 14 to 18 weeks old.

16. Delaware

Delaware Chicken
Livestock breeds / youtube.com

This is one of the most universally acclaimed chicken breeds, simply because its meat is incredibly tasty and easy to sell, and because it can produce as many as 280 eggs every year.

While most other chicken breeds out there are only good at laying eggs or for their meat, the Delaware chicken doesn’t really pick a side, instead walking the midline, being amongst one of the best at both at the same time.

15. Brown Leghorn

Brown Leghorn
via keygoatfarms.com

Although it is a smaller chicken breed, the Brown Leghorn can still hold its ground against most other breeds out there, by also laying as many as 280 eggs every year or so.

They are also very fond of hot climates, and although they can be a bit more on the aggressive side, we will say that they more than make up for it with their delicious meat alone.

Sure, it’s still a relatively small 6lbs chicken that you’re looking at, but that doesn’t change the fact that their meat is just very easy to sell and consume for yourself.

14. Wyandotte

Wyandotte chicken
Photo by ripperda / wikipedia.org

This is one of the most beautiful chicken breeds out there and they are also very sought after thanks to their exquisite meat. Each and every Wyandotte chicken out there looks unique in its own way, and on top of that they are extremely resistant, which makes getting one for yourself all the better.

The only real problem with this breed is how hard it is to come by, which can often times result in you having to overpay by quite a lot to get your hands on one or two.

13. Rhode Island Red

Rhode Island Red
Photo by JulieAnne van der Lek / pixabay.com

This chicken breed is known for laying extra-large brown eggs at a very accelerated rate, to the point where it can produce as many as five of them every week or so.

But since they also grow fairly large, with the males reaching around 7 to 8lbs in total, they are also considered to be great in terms of their meat production.

They can easily survive the coldest of winters as well, and although they can be a bit friskier, they are pretty docile as long as they’re not provoked.

12. Australorp Chicken

Photo by Elsemargriet / pixabay.com

Despite the fact that this is a relatively newly discovered breed right here, the Australorp chicken breed as already become one of the top choices in Australia, even going as far as to replace most other chicken breeds in Australia within a couple of years or so.

They are very easy to take care of and they’re also fairly large which is always nice to see. With a total production of 250 eggs per year, let’s just say that we understand what the hype is all about with them.

11. Plymouth Rock

Plymouth Rock
Thomas Kriese / flickr.com

This is actually considered to be one of the very first breeds to have ever been produced in the US. On top of that historical significance, the Plymouth Rock chicken breed is also great for its egg and meat production.

It can grow as large as 7 to 8lbs in around 8 to 12 weeks or so, and on top of that it is one of the most docile chicken breeds in the world.

10. Chantecler

Chantecler Chicken
Chantecler Fanciers / facebook.com

The great thing about this chicken breed is that they are extremely docile and easy to take care of. On top of that they can easily survive any cold climate whatsoever, and they make for some great egg layers as well, which means you will never run out of resources to sell, or use yourself from them.

In about 11 to 16 weeks or so they are ready to be butchered, and around this time period they will have reached their maximum potential of around 7-9lbs.

They also produce around 200 or so eggs every year, which is great to hear considering just how much of a profit you can make off of that alone.

9. Freedom Rangers

Freedom Rangers
via caponcrossing.com

This chicken breed is actually one of the best ones you can invest into, specifically because they don’t need a lot of protein to grow, and because they can easily scurry around for their own meals, as long as they have a large pen to run around in.

They are avid lovers of bugs and corn, and they are surprisingly easy to take care of too, because of how docile they really are.

They take around 9 to 11 weeks to fully mature up to around 5-6lbs, which may not be the best choice for you quantity wise, but their meat is also especially tasty so keep that in mind.

8. Orpington

Orpington chicken
via wikipedia.org

If you’re on the market trying to get your hands on a fairly large chicken breed, then we definitely have to recommend this one right here, because of how practical it really is.

Although the hen is a lot smaller than the rooster, with the female ranging around 7 to 8 pounds and the male hovering around 9 to 10, they are still especially popular for how tender and sweet their meat is.

The only real problem with them is the fact that they take around 18 to 24 weeks in total to mature, which is nowhere near as acceptable as the time span offered by most other breeds that we have for you here.

7. Bresse

Bresse Chicken
via gradeehfarms.ca

The interesting part about this chicken breed is the fact that although it is one of the more expensive options you could choose from, it is also one of the most popular because of how tasty their meat is.

They are also very docile and although they don’t have that much meat on their bodies, Breese chicken meat is considered to be a delicacy in most restaurants out there.

They take around 16 to 20 weeks to mature as well, which is definitely not the best thing in the world, but it is worth it considering how good their meat is.

6. Buckeye

Buckeye Chicken
via pinterest.com

If you’re looking for a chicken breed that can really survive anything you throw at it, you’re most likely looking to get your hands on a Buckeye Chicken.

This breed is super adaptable and most breeders out there love to handle them because of how resistant they are to most diseases out there. Just keep in mind that they can be a bit more violent towards small animals and even children.

They do grow as large as 9lbs though, in around 16 to 21 weeks or so, which is definitely a plus.

5. Turken (Naked Neck)

Naked Neck chicken
University of Edinburgh / nationalgeographic.com

Despite their funky name, this breed is actually not a mix between a chicken and a turkey, quite the opposite actually. The only reason as to why they are named as such in the first place is the fact that they look similar to turkeys.

Other than that, however, their meat is especially tasty and flavorful, although they are a bit on the smaller side with them reaching around 6lbs or so as soon as they turn 11 to 18 weeks old.

4. Egyptian Fayoumi

Egyptian Fayoumi
via backyardchickens.com

Quite possibly some of the best foragers in the chicken ecosystem, this Egyptian breed is known for absolutely loving hot climates and being as spicy as they get. That’s right, this breed is actually quite the opposite of docile, but at the same time they are very resistant against most diseases which is always nice to see.

Their meat also tastes great, and since they do produce eggs as well, you’ll never run out of products to sell or use for yourself.

3. White Leghorn

White Leghorn
Photo by aleksandra_55 / stock.adobe.com

We would honestly put this breed even higher, but the fact of the matter is that it excels a lot more at being one of the best egg laying chicken breeds out there, than it does when it comes to its meat.

Even so, you will still get around 6lbs of meat from them after around 16 to 21 weeks or so, and on top of that they also produce as many as 280 eggs every year.

They are also very docile and they are known for just how beautiful they are. They can make any farm look better and more homely from the moment you get one for yourself.

2. Jersey Giant

Jersey Giant
via delaneychicken.com

Back when this breed was first developed, the people behind the process were hoping for it to completely replace turkey as an option. Although this was pretty much a bust, they still managed to make one of the largest and overall one of the best chicken breeds out there for meat.

Jersey Giant chickens grow as large as 13lbs in total, and the best part about this breed is that it matures fairly quickly as well, with them being ready for the butchering around 16 to 21 weeks or so into their lives.

1. Cornish Cross

Cornish Cross
via freedomrangerhatchery.com

This is by far one of the most famous chicken breeds for meat and one of our personal favorites for sure. The typical Cornish Cross chickens can grow as large as 12lbs in just 4-6 weeks or so, and on top of that their meat is just absolutely delicious to say the least.

They eat a lot too and they’re also known for being very docile. Overall, you can’t beat that harvest time and that tastiness, which is why they’re at the top of our list.


Best Chicken Breeds for Meat
Photo by Reijo Telaranta / pixabay.com

Chicken meat, like any other meat, is pretty much reviewed based on personal preferences, so take everything that we said here with a grain of salt.

These breeds are all great to say the least, and while one may be superior in terms of harvest time, size or docility, you can ignore all of these steps if you want and just go for whichever you personally prefer instead.

Just remember that if you do want to optimize your profits you may need to invest into one of these breeds, but that’s all up to you at the end of the day.

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About Leah Shelton

Involved in the “green” arena for over 20 years, Leah has worn many hats due to her diverse experience and knowledge in the field. In addition to writing for Agronomag, she’s also a sustainability consultant with a unique perspective on eco-friendly farming practices. Learn more about Agronomag's Editorial Process.

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