I often get asked if one breed or another is the 'best' and people often request the 'best' breed of all the chooks.
There is obviously no one best breed and all the breeds have been designed for different purposes in particular areas.
With the Slow Food Movement and other movements to more 'local' produce breeds that were designed for a specific purpose are making a comeback, especially those breeds which have darker shelled eggs such as the Barnevelder or even a tinted egg.
If you just want a breed with little character and plenty of eggs then the Isa Brown is for you and these are readily available.
These hybrid birds lay for about eighteen months and then give up.
The more traditional breeds are known to lay less, but for longer.
Breeds designed for Australian conditions such as the Australian Langshan are a more dual purpose breed and often these dual-purpose breeds were very successful early and for the first half of last century.
Most farms had some dual purpose birds like Rhode Islands as they supply eggs and meat and breed easily.
Many breeds are named after the area they were created such as the Dorking and the Sussex and have qualities suited to a purpose.
In Australia for warmer climates the lighter breeds such as Leghorns and Hamburgs are good choices as they do take the heat better than some of the larger, heavier breeds.
Interestingly over the past few years, we have had some rarer European breeds imported and while these may be expensive and of varied quality, they do suit some people.
They offer a real variety in egg colour and breed type, but at this point, especially if you're a beginner, it is best to stick to better known breeds from a reputable dealer.
This should guarantee you get what you truly want and unless you want high quality show birds, the prices should be reasonable.
Traditional breeds are also more available in most areas with only the rarer breeds being problematic.
When you want the 'best' breed, it is the one that suits your lifestyle, home pace and the area you live in.
Look around, think about what you want from your birds and select in this manner.
Then you will get the 'best' breed for sure.