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I cover 15 of the best large chicken breeds for 2023 in detail along with the most frequently asked large breed questions.

Chickens have been around for literally thousands of years. The first domesticated chicken was cited approximately 5,400 years ago. Current archaeological evidence dates back even further – 12,000 years – for wild chickens discovered in northern China.

Chicken Was Considered a Fine Delicacy

In the 19th century, chickens were not generally kept as livestock on farms. Farmers who happened to have eggs would sell them for income and chicken meat was only eaten on special occasions or holidays.

If you happen to come across old cook books or homemaker manuals from the late 1800s, pheasant, goose, and duck were more likely to appear on the dinner table.

Chickens Have Gotten Larger With Time

According to the National Chicken Council, the size of chickens used for meat has dramatically increased over time. 

In 1925, the average market weight was a mere 2.5lbs. In 2020, average market weight rings in at 6.41lbs.

What is Considered a Large Chicken Breed?

A large bird is anything over 8lbs for males and 6.5lbs for females. Most of the biggest chicken breeds will grow well beyond these markers.

Do Large Chicken Breeds Have More Health Concerns?

It depends what the chickens are being bred for. Large chicken breeds that are exclusively bred for meat are called “broilers”.

Broilers grow at a much faster rate than other chickens of the same age and have very special needs that must be met in order to allow them to grow quickly and safely.

Large breed chickens on our list today are not solely bred for meat and do not have any special health concerns or requirements in order to keep them happy and healthy.

Do Large Chicken Breeds Have More Aggressive Behavior?

Roosters of particular breeds can be aggressive and mean. Fortunately, these behaviors have nothing to do with them being larger. It’s just the type of chicken they are.

The breeds with the most aggressive roosters are usually game roosters, none of which are on this list.

Will Large Chicken Breeds Lay Larger Eggs?

This is also breed specific and doesn’t have much to do with the size of the actual chicken.

As you’ll see below, there are several large chicken breeds on our list today that lay medium-sized eggs despite being very large birds!

Why Aren’t All Large Chicken Breeds on the 2021 List?

I’ve only included the largest chicken breeds that are suitable for families, homesteads, small farms and the like.

Any breeds with known issues (behavior or genetic) I’ve left off of this year’s list in order to help make the breed decision process a bit easier.

15 Best Large Chicken Breeds for 2023

1. Black Jersey Giant Chicken

large black chicken looking into the camera
© McMurray Hatchery
  • Male weight: 13lbs
  • Female weight: 10lbs
  • Behavior: Family and flock friendly
  • Dual purpose: Yes, excellent for meat
  • Egg production: 150-200 eggs annually
  • Egg size/color: large brown eggs
  • Native region: New Jersey, United States
  • Heat tolerance: Good
  • Cold tolerance: Excellent

2. Light Brahma Chickens & Dark Brahmas

© McMurray Hatchery
  • Male weight: 12lbs
  • Female weight: 9.5lbs
  • Behavior: Family and flock friendly
  • Dual purpose: Yes
  • Egg production: 150 eggs annually
  • Egg size/color: medium brown eggs
  • Native region: Asia
  • Heat tolerance: Good
  • Cold tolerance: Excellent

3. Buff Cochin Chickens

buff cochin large breed chicken looking through a chicken wire fence.
© McMurray Hatchery
  • Male weight: 11lbs
  • Female weight: 8.5lbs
  • Behavior: Family and flock friendly.
  • Dual purpose: No
  • Egg production: 160-180 eggs annually
  • Egg size/color: Medium brown eggs
  • Native region: Asia
  • Heat tolerance: Poor. Keep a close eye on them in extreme heat.
  • Cold tolerance: Excellent

4. Dark Cornish Chickens

© McMurray Hatchery
  • Male weight: 10lbs
  • Female weight: 8lbs
  • Behavior: Can be aggressive. Not good for backyard pets.
  • Dual purpose: Yes, mostly bred for meat.
  • Egg production: Fewer than 160 eggs annually
  • Egg size/color: firm shelled medium brown eggs
  • Native region: England
  • Heat tolerance: Good
  • Cold tolerance: Above average

5. Buff Orpington Chicken

golden large breed chicken free ranges in grass
© McMurray Hatchery
  • Male weight: 10lbs
  • Female weight: 8lbs
  • Behavior: Family and flock friendly
  • Dual purpose: Yes
  • Egg production: 190 eggs annually
  • Egg size/color: Large brown eggs
  • Native region: England
  • Heat tolerance: Good
  • Cold tolerance: Excellent

6. Barred Rock Chicken (aka “Plymouth Rock”)

A free ranged black and white large breed chicken calmly looks to the left
  • Male weight: 9.5lbs
  • Female weight: 7.5lbs
  • Behavior: Family and flock friendly
  • Dual purpose: Yes
  • Egg production: 280 eggs annually
  • Egg size/color: Medium brown eggs
  • Native region: New England, United States
  • Heat tolerance: Good
  • Cold tolerance: Excellent

7. Black Langshan Chicken

black large breed chicken free ranged in the grass
© Jersey Chickens
  • Male weight: 9.5lbs
  • Female weight: 7.5lbs
  • Behavior: Family and flock friendly
  • Dual purpose: yes
  • Egg production: Large brown eggs
  • Egg size/color: 180 eggs annually
  • Native region: China
  • Heat tolerance: Good
  • Cold tolerance: Above average

8. Rhode Island Reds

rhode island red hen out on pasture
  • Male weight: 8.5lbs
  • Female weight: 6.5lbs
  • Behavior: Family and flock friendly
  • Dual purpose: Yes
  • Egg production: 260-300 eggs annually
  • Egg size/color: Large brown eggs
  • Native region: Rhode Island, United States
  • Heat tolerance: Very good
  • Cold tolerance: Excellent

9. Delaware Chicken

white large breed chicken in the chicken run
© McMurray Hatchery
  • Male weight: 8.5lbs
  • Female weight: 6.5lbs
  • Behavior: Family and flock friendly
  • Dual purpose: Yes
  • Egg production: 280 eggs annually
  • Egg size/color: Extra large brown eggs
  • Native region: Delaware, USA
  • Heat tolerance: Very good
  • Cold tolerance: Excellent

10. Australorp

black large breed chicken free ranging
© McMurray Hatchery
  • Male weight: 8lbs
  • Female weight: 5.5lbs
  • Behavior: Family and flock friendly
  • Dual purpose: Yes
  • Egg production: 250 eggs annually
  • Egg size/color: Large light brown eggs
  • Native region: Australia
  • Heat tolerance: Good
  • Cold tolerance: Excellent

11. New Hampshire Red

reddish gold large breed chicken in pasture
© McMurray Hatchery
  • Male weight: 8.5lbs
  • Female weight: 6.5lbs
  • Behavior: Family and flock friendly
  • Dual purpose: Yes
  • Egg production: 280 eggs annually
  • Egg size/color: Large brown eggs
  • Native region: New Hampshire, USA
  • Heat tolerance: Good
  • Cold tolerance: Excellent

12. Salmon Faverolle

white and brown large breed chickens standing in the snow
© McMurray Hatchery
  • Male weight: 8lbs
  • Female weight: 6.5lbs
  • Behavior: Family and flock friendly. Does not do well as a free ranged bird.
  • Dual purpose: No
  • Egg production: 240 eggs annually
  • Egg size/color: Medium cream-colored eggs
  • Native region: Northern France
  • Heat tolerance: Good
  • Cold tolerance: Good

13. Black Minorca

black large breed chicken free ranging in the grass
© McMurray Hatchery
  • Male weight: 9lbs
  • Female weight: 7.5lbs
  • Behavior: Fiesty
  • Dual purpose: No
  • Egg production: 120 eggs annually
  • Egg size/color: Extra large white eggs
  • Native region: Mediterranean
  • Heat tolerance: Excellent
  • Cold tolerance: Good

14. White Wyandotte

white hen with red comb standing for a photo
© Patterson Poultry
  • Male weight: 8.5lbs
  • Female weight: 6.5lbs
  • Behavior: Family and flock friendly
  • Dual purpose: Yes
  • Egg production: 175-200 eggs annually
  • Egg size/color: Large brown eggs
  • Native region: Northeastern USA
  • Heat tolerance: Good
  • Cold tolerance: Excellent

15. Sussex

© Wilkins Farm – Hastings, MI
  • Male weight: 9lbs
  • Female weight: 7lbs
  • Behavior: Very gentle, may be bullied by other members of the flock.
  • Dual purpose: Yes
  • Egg production: 250 eggs annually
  • Egg size/color: Large brown eggs
  • Native region: England
  • Heat tolerance: Very good
  • Cold tolerance: Very good

Deciding If A Large Chicken Breed Is Right For You

Deciding on a breed of chicken to raise and care for can be a very personal and lengthy process.

Write down the top 3 reasons why you want chickens, where they will live (free range vs enclosed chicken run), and if you want meat birds, pets, or good layers.

That should narrow you down to 4 breeds or less.

What I Have In My Flock

Egg production and bug control were our main reasons for starting a flock.

I started ours with Rhode Island Reds and Barred Rocks. While some of the Barred Rocks can turn into massive birds, the hens are a bit smaller coming in around 7-8lbs.

Both friendly breeds are excellent chickens and a great choice for us. They’re the best egg layers, extremely social, good in colder climates, and wonderful with the entire family.

The calm temperaments were an added bonus!

Which Large Chicken Breed Is Your Favorite?

Learn How to Raise Backyard Chickens

How to Raise and Care for Backyard Chickens (Comprehensive Guide)

5 Reasons Amish Built Chicken Coops Are So Expensive

Pin It For Later

A free ranged black and white large breed chicken calmly looks to the left

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