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Home / The Grubs Times / The Great Chicken Debate: American vs. European Backyard Chickens
The Great Chicken Debate American vs European Backyard Chickens

The Great Chicken Debate: American vs. European Backyard Chickens

When it comes to raising backyard chickens, there are a lot of choices to be made. Which breed should you go for? What kind of coop is best? Should you medicate or not? But one of the biggest decisions you'll face is whether to go with American or European chickens. Each has their own distinctive traits, and depending on your goals and preferences, one might be a better fit for your flock than the other. So, in this blog post, we're going to take a look at the differences between American and European backyard chickens, and help you decide which one is right for you.


First things first, let's define what we mean by American and European chickens. There are dozens of breeds of chicken from both continents, but for the purposes of this post, we'll be looking at the most popular and widely-available ones. American chickens include the Rhode Island Red, Plymouth Rock, Wyandotte, and Delaware, while the European chickens we'll be discussing are the Leghorn, Orpington, Sussex, and Marans.


One of the biggest differences between American and European chickens is their egg-laying ability. American breeds tend to be more productive overall, with many hens laying 5-6 eggs a week or more. European chickens can lay well, but are often more variable in their productivity, and may go through periods of not laying at all. If you're looking to keep chickens primarily for their eggs, American chickens may be the way to go.


In terms of temperament, American and European chickens can also differ. American breeds are often more active and flighty, which can make them better suited to free-ranging in a large yard. They also tend to be more independent and less reliant on their human caretakers for entertainment and socialization. European breeds, on the other hand, are generally more docile and enjoy human company, which can make them easier to handle and train. This can be a big benefit if you plan to keep your chickens in a smaller space.


Appearance is another factor to consider when choosing between American and European chickens. American breeds are often quite colorful and distinctive, with striking patterns and features like feathered legs and heads. European breeds are generally more uniform in appearance, with less variation in plumage and body type. Of course, this is a matter of personal preference, but if you're looking for chickens that will turn heads, American breeds may be more up your alley.


Finally, it's worth noting that American and European chickens can have different health and environmental requirements. American breeds are often hardier and more adaptable to different climates, which can be a big plus if you live in an area with extreme weather conditions. European breeds may require more specialized care, such as extra warmth in the winter or specific kinds of feed, to thrive. Make sure to do your research on the breeds you're considering, and factor in any relevant environmental or health concerns before making a decision.



So, which is better: American or European backyard chickens? As with most things chicken-related, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. It really depends on what you're looking for in your flock, and what you're willing to put in to care for them. American breeds are great if you want high egg production and active birds that can cover a lot of ground. European breeds may be a better choice if you want friendly, docile chickens that enjoy human interaction. Ultimately, the best choice is the one that fits your lifestyle and preferences – so do your research, talk to other chicken owners, and choose the breed that speaks to you.


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