12 Brown Chicken Breeds and How to Choose the Best for Your Flock

One of the great things about chickens is they come in all different shapes, sizes, and color variations. However, you can never go wrong with a trusty old brown chicken breed.

Many brown chicken breeds have plumage ranging from light golden brown to dark chocolate brown. One thing is sure about these birds they are nothing short of beautiful. Many of these chickens will sit in your lap, are prolific egg layers, and are excellent foragers. Whatever you want in a chicken, one of these brown breeds will fit your needs.

This article will discuss 12 of our favorite brown chicken breeds of all shapes and sizes. Consider this your introduction to the world of brown chickens.
These brown chickens are anything but boring! So if you’re interested in adding to your flock, keep reading to see which brown chickens are the best fit for you!

1. Silkie

Brown Silkie
silkie chicken and chick in front of white background

The Silkie is a favored chicken breed. Homesteaders worldwide love this breed.
Silkies come in various colors: brown, blue, white, and all-black. Brown Silkies have beautiful golden brown plumage.

Silkies are known for their silky soft plumage. People say their feathers feel more like fur than a typical feather. These brown chickens are also known for the feathers that sit on top of their head. Although their feathers look thick and furry, Silkies are susceptible to colder climates.

Interestingly, the Silkie has black bones and skin. This genetic condition is called dermal hyperpigmentation, an overproduction of melanin.

These birds are small, with their hens weighing an average of 1.5 lbs and their roosters 3 lbs. Not only does their appearance make them a great addition to your backyard flock, but so does their docile nature and tolerance to being handled. It is essential to know that due to their docile temperament and small size, they can sometimes fall to the bottom of the pecking order; therefore, keeping a close eye on them when paired with other breeds is crucial.
Unfortunately, they aren’t the best option if you’re looking for a good egg layer, for they only lay around 2-3 small eggs per week.

  • Color: Brown
  • Leg color: Black
  • Egg Laying: 2-3 week
  • Egg Color: Cream

2. Speckled Sussex

Brown Speckled Sussex

The Speckled Sussex has a unique feather pattern. It’s become more popular over the past few years. This medium-sized breed has an overall rich brown plumage covered in white speckles.

These brown hens are excellent layers. They generally lay 4-5 light brown eggs weekly. Even during the winter (when some other chicken breeds decrease egg production), the Speckled Sussex continues to lay consistently.

The Speckled Sussex is an excellent bird to add to any backyard flock. They are cold and heat-tolerant and will adapt to most climates.

If you’re looking for a lap chicken, this breed is for you! The Speckled Sussex has a docile nature. It loves to interact with its human companions, making it an excellent species for anyone with small children.

Please note that this breed loves to forage and needs the space to do so. However, it will adapt to smaller areas such as coops.

This brown chicken originated in Sussex, a small county in south-eastern England. It has even become the most popular Sussex breed in the United States.
The Speckled Sussex is beautiful, docile, and an excellent fit for any backyard flock!

  • Color: Mahogany with white speckling
  • Leg color: Pale yellow
  • Egg Laying: 4-5 week
  • Egg Color: Light brown

3. Ameraucana

Brown Ameraucana
Side view of ameraucana chicken next to a coop.

Like the Silkie, the Ameraucana comes in several colors, including brown, black, white, and blue. However, the brown variation has a beautiful reddish glow to them.

One of the most notable things about this breed is its unique pale blue egg color. They lay about 3-4 a week. Therefore, the Ameraucanas are average egg producers.They are generally very docile, but they do not enjoy people handling them.

The Ameraucana breed originated in the United States but is related to the Araucana chicken. The Araucana, a bird native to Chile, was brought to the U.S. in the early 20th century.

The Ameraucana is a relatively quiet breed; you won’t have to worry about neighbors. They do NOT like being confined and will need plenty of run space to forage.

  • Color: Reddish brown
  • Egg Laying: 3-4 week
  • Leg Color: Gray
  • Egg Color: Light blue

4. Polish chicken

Polish Chicken

If you like fancy-looking birds, the Polish chicken might be the breed for you.
This breed is most known for their signature crest on top of their heads. They come in various colors, including white-crested black, white-crested blue, silver laced, golden-laced, and one of
the most popular, Tolbunt brown. Tolbunt is a distinct lacy brown, white, and black pattern.

Despite their name, the Polish chicken is not from Poland. Their name derives from the idea that their crest resembles the feathers on the Polish armys’ feathered hats. The breed made its way to the United States in the 1830s and has been a popular ornamental breed ever since.

In addition to being gorgeous, they are known for being docile and sweet. They are great birds to raise around children. This breed is relatively small. Since these chickens are small, keeping them safe from predators is crucial. Because pests are attracted to Polish chickens’ crests, caretakers must keep them clean.

In terms of sizing, this brown chicken breed is similar to the Leghorn chicken.
The Polish are a great addition to any backyard flock!

  • Color: Brown
  • Leg color: gray
  • Egg Laying: 2-4 week
  • Egg Color: White

5. Naked Neck

Brown Naked Neck
Transylvanian bare-necked chicken on the background of a chicken coop, hay and eggs on a

If you’re more into unusual chicken breeds, the Naked Neck chicken stands out. These funny-looking birds get their name because they are naturally featherless on their necks.
The American Poultry Association recognizes them in the color varieties black, buff, red, and white; however, they also come in several other colors.

Their origin still needs to be determined. However, late 19th-century Transylvanian yeomen documented these brown chickens’ presence. Hence, their official name is the Transylvanian Naked Neck.

Although they look pretty unusual, they are great additions to established flocks. These chickens are docile, great with other breeds, and friendly to their human companions. They are also great in a coop or free range! As if these birds couldn’t get any better, they are average egg layers, giving you 3-4 large brown eggs each week.

Due to their exposed neck, they are susceptible to frostbite. They thrive in warmer climates.
Although they might look funny, the Naked Neck chicken breed makes excellent additions to most backyard flocks. If you would like to learn more about their care, you can check out our article here.

  • Color: Brown
  • Egg Laying: 3-4 week
  • Leg color: Slate Blue
  • Egg Color: Brown

6. Brown Leghorn

Brown Leghorn
Brown Leghorn in leaves

This breed is nothing short of beautiful. Brown Leghorns have beautiful chocolate brown plumage, with golden yellow feathers cascading down their neck.

While Leghorns are incredible chickens, they tend not to be birds recommended for beginners because they are high maintenance and have an impressive jump, reaching up to ten feet. These birds are HIGH energy and need lots of space to forage and roam. Unlike other breeds mentioned in this article, they are very independent and will not like handling.

The Leghorn is your girl if you’re looking for a breed to give you plenty of eggs. They lay, on average, 280 eggs per year, with some reaching 300+. They are medium-sized birds with hens weighing around 6 pounds and roosters 8. There are several color variations of the Leghorn. The American Poultry Standard recognizes 10 of these variations.

The Leghorn originated in Italy. The actual date of their arrival in the United States is currently unknown.

Although there are better beginner options for chicken breeds, they still make a great addition to homesteaders with adequate space.

  • Color: Brown
  • Leg color: Yellow
  • Egg Laying: 4-6 week
  • Egg Color: White

7. Plymouth Rock

Plymouth Rock Chicken
Brown Barred Plymouth Rock Chicken in grass

The Plymouth Rock is a well-known American-born chicken breed. It commonly has a barred feather pattern; however, the partridge color is one of the lesser-known color variations. These chickens have a beautiful rich dark brown color. The Plymouth Rocks are quite the sight with the super red wattles, comb, earlobes, and yellow beaks and legs.

These birds are extraordinary beginner chickens. They are easy to manage and adapt well to most climates. They also get along with other non-aggressive breeds. You can easily add them to most flocks. Watching them for frostbite during the colder months is crucial. Their combs can be susceptible to cold.

If you couldn’t tell by their name, the Plymouth Rock chicken originated in Massachusetts. They were first mentioned in the nineteenth century. They remained the most popular breed in the United States through the 20th century. The American Poultry Standard recognizes seven color variations, including Partridge.

The Plymouth rock is known to be a dual-purpose bird, giving you approximately 4-5 eggs per week.

  • Color: Reddish-brown
  • Leg Color: Yellow
  • Egg Laying: 4-5 week
  • Egg Color: Light brown

8. ISA Brown

ISA Browns
Group of ISA Brown Chickens foraging

The Isa Brown Chicken has stunning all-golden brown plumage paired with bright red waddles and yellow feet. It’s safe to say these birds are gorgeous.

This breed is more special because they are prolific egg layers. They lay about six eggs per week on average! Even though these birds are smaller than other backyard hens, they still lay large brown eggs.

This breed is one of the few industry-based chickens flourishing in backyard flocks. Isa Browns are very well-mannered. They love to be held, making them another excellent chicken for families with children. Unfortunately, since they are so friendly, they tend to be at the bottom of the pecking order. It is essential to avoid keeping them with more aggressive breeds. These hens are happiest when they can be free-range birds.

While their genetic makeup is undetermined, they were bred in France in the early 1970s and have since taken the poultry world by storm.

Since Isa Brown chickens lay so many eggs, they can be susceptible to egg-laying issues. While this can be an issue, please don’t let it stop you from considering this bird for your flock.

  • Color: Brown
  • Leg Color: Yellow
  • Egg Laying: 6 week
  • Egg Color: Brown

9. Buckeye

Buckeye
Brown Buckeye Chicken in the grass

The Buckeye chicken breed is one of my favorite chicken breeds. Although sometimes overlooked by homesteaders, this breed will make a great addition to any backyard flock.

The Buckeye plumage is a beautiful dark brown color that fades into black on their tail feathers. They have almost no wattles, thus reducing their chances of frostbite.

These birds are very talkative and charismatic, making them a fun breed to watch. They are also social with humans and other chicken breeds, making them good additions to already-established flocks.

The Buckeye originated in Ohio in 1896. Mrs. Nettie Metcalf first bred them. In 1904 they became a part of the American Poultry Standard.

The Buckeyes do very well in colder climates. Due to their very active personalities, they do best when not in confined spaces. Therefore, they will need plenty of room to forage. These birds are playful yet gentle.

The Buckeye breed could be the right fit for you!

  • Color: Dark Brown
  • Leg Color: Yellow
  • Egg Laying: 3-4 week
  • Egg Color: Brown

10. Cochin Chicken

Buff mille fleur Cochin bantam chicken, standing side ways. Head turned backwards looking curious to camera. Isolated on a white background.

One of the most well-known “lap chicken” breeds is the Cochin Chicken.
This magnificent breed is large and has light brown plumage with darker brown tail feathers. One of the traits that sets them apart from other species is their feathers extending down their legs and toes.

Homesteaders love these hens because they are such gentle giants. Their docile nature and charming personalities tend to win people over. Cochin Chickens tend to be a lazy chicken breed. Therefore, they are okay with living the chicken coop lifestyle. (Of course, they will still need adequate space per bird.)

While they won’t lay you many eggs, they will lay eggs throughout winter. They are known for being broody, thus incubating eggs, so you don’t have to!

The Cochin is a fluffy chicken, making them cold hardy. However, they are less comfortable in warmer climates.

The Cochin that we know and love today derives from a larger feather-legged bird from China. It was introduced to the United States in the late 1840s and early 1850s. In 1874 The American Poultry Association included this breed in their first edition of the American Standard of Excellence publication.

The Cochin is a fun-loving breed and might be the best addition to your backyard flock!

  • Color: Reddish brown
  • Leg Color: Yellow
  • Egg Laying: 2 week
  • Egg Color: Brown

11. Orpington

Buff Orpington Chicken
Buff Orpington Chicken in tall grass

If you’re new to backyard flock life, the Orpington might be a good starter bird. These birds are one of the best beginner birds. Unlike some breeds, they want to connect with their human companions.

While they come in several colors, one of the most popular varieties is a beautiful chocolate brown. Although the chocolate variation is still relatively new to the homesteader world, they are worth searching for and considering.

The Orpington was developed in the late 1800s by Mr. William Cook in South East England. Cook bred them by crossing Langshans and Plymouth Rocks. He hoped to produce a dual-purpose breed.

These birds are gentle, lay consistently, and are quiet. Therefore, suburban homesteaders can raise them without disturbing neighbors! As if they couldn’t get any better, they are also cold-hardy, meaning they thrive in northern states. The Orpington lays light brown to dark brown eggs. They are on the larger side of backyard flocks, with their hens weighing around eight pounds and their roosters around ten.

Whether you’re new to raising chickens or very experienced, the Orpington make great additions to backyard flocks!

  • Color: Chocolate
  • Leg Color: Pale Yellow
  • Egg Laying: 3-5 week
  • Egg Color: Light brown/li>

12. Penedesenca

The Penedesenca Chicken originated in Spain. They have beautiful ombre brown feathers, starting more golden at their neck to darker brown down their body. This breed is much like other Mediterranean breeds as they are not well-acclimated to colder temperatures. They tend to thrive in hotter climates.

A unique thing about them is their hens lay beautiful dark brown eggs. While they aren’t the most prolific egg layers, they will give you an average of three eggs weekly.

There isn’t much known about Penedesenca’s origin. They were bred for their dark brown eggs. Unfortunately, while these birds are stunning, they aren’t common in the United States. Getting your hands on some might be difficult.

These chickens love to forage and will not do well in confined spaces. Don’t worry though; they have exceptional predator evasion skills. Therefore, you won’t have to worry too much about them being aware of their surroundings. Another reason they need lots of space is that they sure like to use their voice and will use it loudly.

While the Penedesenca chicken breed is less common in the United States, it will make an excellent bird to add to your flock.

  • Color: light to dark brown
  • Leg Color: light Gra
  • Egg Laying: 3 week
  • Egg Color: Dark Brown/li>

Which Brown chicken breed is right for you?

Variety of Chickens Isolated on White Background

It is safe to say no matter what you’re looking for in a chicken breed, there’s a beautiful brown one waiting for you!

Many breeds mentioned in this article are docile and pretty hardy in harsher weather climates.

If any of these breeds stuck out to you, we encourage you to do more research to ensure they fit you and your flock the best. Also, make sure to check out our other articles all about breed care and coop setups.

Hopefully, our list helped you narrow down your choice of brown chicken breeds.

If you have any questions or have one of these beautiful brown chicken breeds, please let us know in the comments below!

Chris Lesley Bio Picture
Chris Lesley has been Raising Chickens for over 20 years and is a fourth generation chicken keeper. She can remember being a young child when her grandad first taught her how to hold and care for chickens. She also holds a certificate in Animal Behavior and Welfare and is interested in backyard chicken health and care.

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