jersey_giant1. Jersey Giant
Big, sweet and a truly gentle giant, this ten pound bird is the least economical chicken out there. It is not a good enough layer, though it is a fair layer, to be worthwhile there and it simply eats too much to make it worth while on the dinner table. But, if you’re looking for a sweet and loving bird that loves to be picked up and petted, this is the best bird for you. And even though they aren’t great layers, the hens are robust and hardy, and quite willing to work steadily through the winter.

2. Brahma
Weight: 9 Pounds
The origins of the Brahma have been in dispute for more than 150 years. They were introduced in the 19th century to either London or New York and were probably imported from Shanghai, however it is also possible they came from China, India or some other East Indies port. They have also been called Chittagongs, Shanghais, and Brahmapootras. They are fair layers of brown, average sized eggs and very robust and cold hardy. They are very gentle birds which is good as their size could make them quite formidable.

3. Cochin
Weight: 8 1/2 lbs.
An uncommon chicken, this bird hails from China and shared a name with the Brahma, Shanghai. This breed launched interesting poultry shows as they resemble a large ball of fluff and feathers. Interestingly, the bantam version of this bird is known as a Pekin instead of a Bantam Cochin, though you can certainly find them for sale under the Bantam Cochin moniker. They lay a small, yellowy brown egg and are robust and cold hardy. They are calm, docile and easily handled.

4. Cornish Game
Weight: 8lbs.
These are the meat birds of the poultry industry and with a solid 8 lbs, it’s not hard to see why. They were developed in Cornwall and are often breed with Plymouth Rocks to make the excellent birds we all love to eat. They are a poor layer of small eggs but cold hardy and early maturing. Easily contained, they are less active and more docile than most other game birds.

5. Orpington
Weight: 8 lbs.
A dual purpose bird, the Orpington is a bit small on the weight side but definitely not on the appearance side. The loose feathering makes the Orpington appear much larger (nearly two times) the size of some other hens and when they are brooding or aggressive they fluff out and appear even bigger. The Orpington is a good layer of above average sized eggs and hardy in all weather. Cold doesn’t faze them so you can expect them to continue laying during the cold seasons!

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