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Top 10 Best Egg Laying Chicken Breeds

If egg production is your primary goal from your backyard chickens, then you can't go wrong with any of these breeds that are known for their egg laying prowess.



I think most of us raise chickens for several reasons. Of course fresh eggs are a part of it, but some choose breeds that lay different color eggs, some choose family-friendly breeds

Others are interested in breeds that will do well in hot climates, or those that thrive in cold climates

But some people are just interested in eggs. Lots and lots of eggs. They don't care if their chickens will want to sit on their lap, they don't care if the eggs are white or tan or brown or blue.  

If egg production is your sole goal from their backyard flock, then you can't go wrong with any of these breeds that are known for being some of the best egg laying chickens.



Top 10 Best Egg Laying Chicken Breeds


Of course all hens lay eggs, but there are definitely breeds that are better producers than others. While no hen will lay an egg every day, these breeds might come close! 

Starting around 20-22 weeks old, you should be collecting plenty of eggs from these hens. If you are determined to collect eggs year round, then lighting your chicken coop will force production even after the days get shorter.

I don't personally recommend forcing winter egg laying, however starting with these high production breeds will guarantee you eggs for a good portion of the year even without any supplemental light. Most of these breeds aren't prone to go broody, which can reduce the number of eggs you'll collect from them.

In alphabetical order, here are my suggestions for the top ten best egg laying chicken breeds.

To help you narrow your choices down a bit more, here's some information and my personal thoughts about each of the top 10 best egg laying chicken breeds.


Australorp

Australorps are one of my favorite breeds for a lot of reasons. In addition to being world record-holding layers, these solid black, rather large hens originally from Australia are friendly and talkative, make good mothers and are cold-hardy.

Breed Temperament | Calm and docile, can tend to go broody if encouraged

Eggs | Expect about 250 large light brown eggs per year / around 5-6 eggs a week


Austrawhite

This egg laying powerhouse is a cross between an Australorp and a Leghorn. Less skittish than a Leghorn, the Austrawhite has adopted some of the more desirable personality traits of the Australorp.

Breed Temperament | Calm and docile

Eggs | Expect more than 250 cream-colored eggs per year / around 5-6 eggs a week


Barred Plymouth Rock

These large hens are attractive with their black and white barred feathers and can withstand cold winters. An American breed developed in my home state of Massachusetts, they are good foragers, good moms and easy keepers.

Breed Temperament | Friendly and alert

Eggs | Expect more than 200 medium pale tan eggs per year / around 4-5 eggs a week



Delaware

A cross between the Barred Rock and New Hampshire Red, the Delaware is a very large, cold hardy breed that's white with black accents on the neck and tail.

Breed Temperament | Calm

Eggs |  Expect more than 200 large or jumbo brown eggs per year / around 4-5 eggs a week


Golden Comet

This breed was specifically bred for production. As cross between Rhode Island Red and Leghorn chickens, these golden-red hens are extremely cold hardy, good winter layers, but can be susceptible to reproductive issues due to their extremely high production levels.

Breed Temperament | Gentle, but not apt to go broody

Eggs | Expect up to 325 large reddish-brown eggs per year/ around 6-7 eggs a week


Leghorn

Leghorns are a smallish breed that can be nervous and flighty. An Italian breed, they are extremely heat-tolerant party because of their slim body, light coloring and large combs.

Breed Temperament | Fairly skittish 

Eggs | Expect more than 280 large or extra large white eggs per year / around 5-6 eggs a week


Marans

This beautiful French breed of chicken comes in a variety of colors including black, blue, splash and cuckoo. They are extremely cold hardy and generally good foragers. 

Breed Temperament | Friendly, independent

Eggs | Expect more than 200 dark brown eggs per year / around 4-5 eggs a week


Rhode Island Red

These reddish brown hens which are the state bird of Rhode Island are no nonsense layers. Very self-sufficient and low maintenance, but can be more aggressive than other breeds, so be sure they have plenty of space and opportunity to forage if possible.

Breed Temperament | Assertive, can be bossy

Eggs | Expect up to 300 large brown eggs per year / around 6 eggs a week


Sussex

Sussex are a very large breed originally from England, but extremely gentle despite their size. They can be bullied by other hens if they are raised with other more aggressive breeds. Sussex can be speckled or white with black accents. They are excellent winter layers.

Breed Temperament | Gentle and docile, may be prone to broodiness

Eggs | Up to 250 large light brown eggs per year / approximately 5-6 eggs a week


Wyandotte

Another American breed, the Wyandotte, might not be the friendliest of chickens, but they are good foragers and good layers. They are also cold-hardy.

Breed Temperament | Calm and fairly quiet

Eggs | Expect more than 200 large brown eggs per year / around 4-5 eggs a week


Tips to increase egg production

No matter which breeds of chickens you choose to raise, providing them what they need for optimal laying is important and will increase their production. 

  • Provide adequate amounts of good-quality layer feed to ensure proper calcium and protein levels. A chicken will eat about 1/2 cup of feed per day.
  • Provide a free-choice calcium supplement - either crushed oyster shell or crushed eggshell.
  • Provide fresh cool water daily. Eggs are mostly water and a lack of water will almost immediately impact production.
  • Remember that hens lay best their first two years. After that, a hen's annual production generally will drop about 20% a year, so these egg estimates are what you can expect during the hen's two peak laying seasons.
No chicken lays an egg every day, and of course there are loads more breeds that are also great layers, but choosing one of these chicken breeds will get you on your way to reaping the greatest rewards in your egg basket each morning.

Visit Meyer Hatchery to learn more about these and other breeds.
All breed photos courtesy of Meyer Hatchery

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