In the average American household, 21.9% of food budget goes to meats, fish, eggs, and poultry.
If you are looking to raise your own chicken breeds, how do you know which egg laying breed will produce the most food for you?
With the price of eggs averaging around three dollars a dozen, these best breeds mean instead of 50 eggs a year, one hen might lay more than 300!
Egg-Laying Chicken Buying Guide
More and more homeowners are turning to the raising of chickens, and it is estimated that nearly 4.3% of Americans on one acre of land or more own chickens.
Once you feed your chickens, a lot of the cost and work is pretty much done and you are on the way to collecting eggs!
There are hundreds of breeds of chickens and its easy to find yourself with a stubborn, non egg-laying animal.
You don’t want an egg-laying chicken that only puts out one egg a week! Even in an urban environment, you can get chickens that lay eggs.
If you already have chickens and they aren’t laying eggs, you may want to have a look at how much light they receive, as this can affect their laying cycles.
More urban dwellers are turning to chicken ownership, and the average age of chicken owners is decreasing.
Take on your chicken raising adventure for benefits like:
- Controlling pests in your garden
- Reduce the number of weeds growing in your garden
- Watching chickens has been shown to decrease stress hormones
- Knowing the source of your eggs
- Decreasing your individual support for factory farming
- Hatching eggs and growing more chickens
- Get rid of garbage and table scraps by feeding them to the chickens
- Adding an unlimited source of organic fertilizer to your yard
|EGG-LAYING CHICKEN BREEDS||WHY?||EGGS PER YEAR|
|Rhode Island Red||They do well as foragers and don’t require much maintenance.||260|
|Golden Comet||The Golden Comet starts laying eggs at 15 weeks of age.||300|
|Buff Orpington||The Buff Orpington makes a great pet.||150|
|Hamburg||The Hamburg is a speckled chicken that has the coloring of a Dalmatian||200|
|Speckled Sussex||This chicken doesn’t need a lot of space compared to its eight-pound size.||300|
|New Hampshire Red||Bring this breed to cold weather conditions because it is cold hardy.||200|
|Barred Plymouth Rock||You’ll love this family-friendly breed that also gets along with kids.||280|
|Golden Laced Wyandottes||This breed is one of the best chickens at free-range living and foraging for food.||200|
|Ancona||Looks like the Plymouth Rock but is about half the size for families with size restrictions.||200|
|White Leghorns||The White Leghorn is happy when living in a pen.||280|
The Utility of the Breed
Are you worried about your weather conditions?
The utility of the breed matters in the long-run of your chicken’s life.
While the occasional weather event happens, a regular winter freeze or three seasons of 100% humidity matters in the selection of your breeds! If you want eggs, be sure to choose a hen that will love her new home.
Size of the Chicken
When selecting your chicken breeds, consider the available space you have for them.
For example, some breeds love to forage, and therefore need space! And some breeds are just big chickens!
Your hens need the space to stay full, happy, and egg-laying. Add chickens to your yard, but only if you have the area to support them.
A standard sized chicken in most breeds falls into the range of four to eight pounds, so remember the full size of your chicks need space to eat.
Don’t forget the size of eggs produced by the chicken as well.
Remember, a smaller chicken means smaller eggs. Every chicken needs space to live although the amount of space required in your chicken coop and for roaming varies based on breed.
Climate of Your Area
Chickens are hardy creatures and fit in with most environments but don’t forget that the environment of your area must be a consideration in the purchase of a specific breed.
If you live in a place that is unusually hot or cold, keep breeds able to adapt to your harshest conditions.
As a general rule, slender bodies lose heat more quickly.
Chicken combs and wattles are also susceptible to frostbite in the harshest of conditions. Make sure the breeds selected suite your climate as well.
Color of Feathers
The color of your chicken’s feathers does impact its lifestyle.
Some foraging chickens rely on their camouflage feathers to keep them hidden within their environments.
If your chicken is going to be a free-range animal remember that:
White is seen quickly (except in the snow), patterns protect from predators, and solid colors aren’t as good as evading predators.
(If your interested in colored feathers but not sure which breed is the best for you, check out our ultimate guides to Wyandotte, Red Star and Silkie Chickens for some helpful tips and inspiration. Keep reading below to find out more!)
The Best Egg Laying Breeds
Ready to take this step in off-the-grid living?
Don’t purchase a breed of chicken without knowing its natural disposition, lifestyle needs, and how many eggs a happy hen will lay per year.
1. Rhode Island Red
The Rhode Island Red produces about 260 eggs per year and takes care of itself because of strong foraging abilities. They are good birds for free-range living and do well with surviving without major intervention.
Sometimes the Rhode Island Red gets a bit bossy so watch out when you put it with other breeds of chicken.
They do well as foragers and don’t require much maintenance.
2. Golden Comet
Laying up to 300 eggs a year, the Golden Comet is one of the most prolific layers on the list. A female weigh about five to seven pounds and starts laying at a younger age than most breeds.
Some hens get broody, which appears like aggression toward their eggs, but generally, this breed has a kind disposition.
The Golden Comet does well in cold weather.
The Golden Comet starts laying eggs at 15 weeks of age.
3. Buff Orpington
The Buff Orpington is known for having distinct personalities that are also laid back.
Although they produce 150 to 200 eggs annually which is less than some of the others on this list, this is still enough to keep a person fed!
The Buff Orpington not only produces great eggs, but can also make a great pet!
The Hamburg is a speckled chicken that has the coloring of a Dalmatian. Their feathers are white with black tips.
They do not do well inside of a chicken pen so make sure they have enough space to walk.
If they don’t have enough space to roam, the chickens are known to get aggressive in small spaces when they can’t get out.
5. Speckled Sussex
After just sixteen weeks of age, your speckled Sussex hens start laying eggs at a rate of up to 800 eggs per year. They are a docile breed that also looks beautiful with a speckled appearance.
Because the Sussex is so kind, bullying breeds may target them.
This chicken doesn’t need a lot of space compared to its eight-pound size.
Want to know more? Feel free to take a look at our complete guide to the spectacular Sussex breed!
6. New Hampshire Red
The New Hampshire Red is a cold hardy chicken breed that does well for both egg-laying and providing meat.
After just 18 to 21 weeks of life, a hen starts laying her 200 eggs per year. Just give your chickens a comfortable place to sleep and food to eat for egg and meat production.
Bring this breed to cold weather conditions because it is cold hardy.
7. Barred Plymouth Rock
Always have fresh peachy-colored or light brown eggs for your table with the Plymouth rock in your yard.
They are big birds that weigh up to six and a half pounds, which means you get sizeable eggs. This is a hardy, favorite chicken breed.
You’ll love this family-friendly breed that also gets along with kids.
8. Golden Laced Wyandottes
Get a big bird that lays eggs in a size we are most familiar with if you buy the Golden Laced Wyandotte. This calm chicken is good at foraging for its own food and also raising chicks if you allow the eggs to hatch.
If you ever want to consume the chickens, their size makes them suitable for cooking as well.
This breed is one of the best chickens at free-range living and foraging for food. For more on Wyandotte Breeds – Click Here!
This small hen suits your needs if you don’t have a lot of space. They lay about 200 eggs annually although the eggs are smaller than the standard size most people are familiar with.
The Ancona is one of the most popular breeds in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Be careful though – the Ancona will fly away if its feathers don’t get clipped!
This breed looks like the Plymouth Rock but is about half the size for families with size restrictions.
10. White Leghorns
The White Leghorn provides about 280 eggs annually.
Their temperament makes them a great bird for keeping in a coop with enough food, water, and heat. The White Leghorn is not brave but starts laying at 16-17 weeks of age.
The White Leghorn is happy when living in a pen.
Stock Your Fridge With Fresh Eggs
Available at an affordable price point for the majority of breeds, growing your home’s chicken coop to include one or some of these egg-laying breeds on our list of the best options.
Choose the right breed for your climate, the utility of the breed, and the size of the chicken. A well-tended hen lays eggs like clockwork if you buy a breed known for its prolific laying.