Since every hen will produce eggs and every chicken has meat you could argue that all chicken breeds are dual purpose. However, some do the job better than others. These chickens lay a reasonable amount of eggs (1 every day or every other day, with a longer than average laying season) and also are larger than average in size, making them suitable for butchering either excess roosters or when a hen stops laying. One popular variety is the Orpington. The Wyandotte, Jersey Giant and the Brahma are other well known dual purpose varieties.
Chickens for show
Nearly any chicken can be shown. Just as with dogs, you can be judged for best in breed and so on. However, for a particularly unique chicken for your property, try a Silkie. While the Silkie might be the talk of the farm, many other breeds have beautiful plumage and can be just as striking.
Other uses for chickens
Any chicken will do a great job of helping prepare a garden, or give you hours of amusement as they peck around the yard. But if you are looking to use the chicken, much more than the muscle and eggs can be put to use. You can use the feathers in crafts to sell. You can also feed the “waste parts”, or offal, of a processed chicken to your dog, or at least bury them so they compost and enrich the soil.
Selecting your chicken breed
I have personally been using this guide for chickens for a long time. It has some great information about each breed. Choose the breed you want by first thinking about the end results – what do you really want out of the chicken? Doing this, and setting up a proper chicken coop before purchasing your birds, will ensure you get everything you want out of your chickens.