Having egg-layers in your flock means more eggs for you to harvest and fewer trips to the grocery Not sure what chicken breeds that you should get?

Here are the top 10 best egg-laying chicken breeds you should have in your backyard chicken coop for higher egg production per year.

The 10 Best Chickens for Eggs

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. The last thing you want is to end up a breed that lays little to no eggs.

Now, let’s find out what are the best egg-laying chicken breeds.

​EGG-LAYING CHICKEN BREEDS​WHY?EGGS PER YEAR
​Rhode Island RedThey do well as foragers and don’t require much maintenance.260
Golden CometThe Golden Comet starts laying eggs at 15 weeks of age.300
​Buff OrpingtonThe Buff Orpington makes a great pet.150
Hamburg​The Hamburg is a speckled chicken that has the coloring of a Dalmatian200
Speckled SussexThis chicken doesn’t need a lot of space compared to its eight-pound size.300
​New Hampshire RedBring 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 WyandottesThis 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 LeghornsThe White Leghorn is happy when living in a pen.​2​80

​​​1. Rhode Island Red

Rhode island red chicken
  • Starts to lay: 18-20 weeks
  • Hen personality: Friendly
  • Broody: No
  • Cold hardy: Yes

The Rhode Island Red produces about 260 eggs per year and takes care of itself because of its strong foraging abilities. The Rhode Island Reds are good birds for free-range living and do well with surviving without major intervention.

They do well as foragers and don’t require much maintenance.

Rhode Island Reds are generally friendly, but they can sometimes get a bit bossy, so watch out when you put it with other chickens.

2. Golden Comet

  • Starts to lay: 15 weeks
  • Hen personality: Friendly
  • Broody: No
  • Cold hardy: Yes

Laying up to 300 eggs a year, the Golden Comet is one of the most prolific layers on the list. A female weighs 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.

Related: How to Break a Broody Hen: 8 Humane Ways

The Golden Comet does well in cold weather.

The Golden Comet will start laying eggs at 15 weeks of age. 

3. Buff Orpington

  • Starts to lay: 5-7 months
  • Hen personality: Calm
  • Broody: Yes
  • Cold hardy: Yes

Buff Orpingtons are great backyard chickens because of their calm and laid back personalities. This chicken breed is also well-loved because of its egg production.

Although they produce 150 to 200 eggs annuallywhich 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!

Related: Orpington Chicken Breed Guide

4. Hamburg

  • Starts to lay: 4-5 months
  • Hen personality: Docile
  • Broody: No
  • Cold hardy: Yes

The Hamburg is a speckled chicken that has the coloring of a Dalmatian. Their feathers are white with black tips.

Aside from its unique feathering, the Hamburgs are excellent egg-laying chicken breeds. They can provide you and your family with 200 medium-sized eggs per year.

However, there’s a catch.

If you want to raise this beautiful and productive egg-layer chicken breed in your homestead, you should keep them as free-range backyard chickens.

They do not do well inside 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

Speckled Sussex Chicken
  • Starts to lay: 16 weeks
  • Hen personality: Friendly and gentle
  • Broody: Yes
  • Cold hardy: Yes

After just sixteen weeks of age, your speckled Sussex hens can 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 (1).

Its plumage color is a delight to the eye being of rich mahogany base color with individual feathers ending in a white tip separated from the rest of the feathers by a black bar.

If your flock is mostly white, the attractive feathering of Speckled Sussex will make the breed stand out.

However, you should be concerned if your other chicken breeds are aggressive. The Speckled Sussex chicken is so kind and gentle that they often become victims of bully chicken breeds. This chicken doesn’t need a lot of space compared to its eight-pound size. 

Related: Speckled Sussex Chicken Breed Guide

6. ​New Hampshire Red

  • Starts to lay: 18-21 weeks
  • Hen personality: Friendly
  • Broody: Yes
  • Cold hardy: Yes

The New Hampshire Red is a cold-hardy chicken breed that does well for both egg-laying and providing meat.

If you are looking for egg-layers that are friendly and great as pets, you should have New Hampshire Red in your flock.

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.

You can raise this chicken breed in cold weather conditions because it is cold hardy.

Related: New Hampshire Chicken Breed Guide

7. Barred Plymouth Rock

Barred Plymouth Rock heritage chicken breed out in the yard
  • Starts to lay: 16-20 weeks
  • Hen personality: Calm
  • Broody: Yes
  • Cold hardy: Yes

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.

Related: Plymouth Rock Chicken Breed Guide

8. Golden Laced Wyandottes

  • Starts to lay: 18-20 weeks
  • Hen personality: Aloof
  • Broody: Yes
  • Cold hardy: Yes

Although Golden Laced Wyandotte chickens have an aloof personality, you’ll be happy to know that this shy chicken breed can give you around 200 eggs per year.

They are also good at foraging for their food. You can also raise chicks from eggs because the Golden Laced Wyandottes are great mothers. If you ever want to consume the chickens, their size makes them suitable for cooking as well.

Related: Wyandotte Chicken Breed Guide

​9. Ancona

  • Starts to lay: 5 months
  • Hen personality: Friendly
  • Broody: No
  • Cold hardy: Yes

These small egg-laying chickens suit 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

  • Starts to lay: 16-17 weeks
  • Hen personality: Flighty
  • Broody: No
  • Cold hardy: Yes

White leghorns deserve a stop in our best egg-laying chickens guide. This well-known chicken breed can provide 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.

If you have a limited backyard space to raise this chicken breed as free-range backyard chickens, you’ll be happy to know that the White Leghorn is happy when living in a pen. 

Related: Leghorn Chicken Breed Guide

Choosing an egg-laying chicken (a guide)

hen laying eggs

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 (2).

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 it’s 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 aren’t laying eggs, you may want to 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 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

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 selecting your breeds

If you want eggs, be sure to choose a hen that will love her new home.

A quality coop is also important (3).

Layers need nest boxes — one per 4 to 5 birds. Chickens are descended from jungle birds, which means they like to be up high, so a place for them to roost is important.

If you live in an area where the weather can get extreme, especially during the winter months, you can add insulation or a heating lamp inside the coop or pen.

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!

You don’t want to keep your hens like this:

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 needs 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 roaming varies based on breed.

​Climate Of Your Area

Chickens are hardy creatures and fit in with most environments but don’t forget that climate can affect their life expectancy and even their egg production trait. 

Related: How Long Do Chickens Live?

If you live in an unusually hot or cold place, 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 to suit 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 you’re interested in colored feathers but not sure which breed is the best for you, check out our ultimate guides to Wyandotte, Red Star, ISA Browns, and Silkie Chickens for some helpful tips and inspiration. Keep reading below to find out more!)

Got a runaway? You can read our guide on how to catch or trap your chicken.

Final Thoughts

Not all chickens can provide you with a jaw-dropping number of eggs annually. But if you want laying hens all year round, having any of these best egg-laying chickens can surely benefit your backyard egg production.

Now that you know the best egg-laying chickens, the next step is to have the right chicken coop for these productive breeds. Hens prefer to lay their eggs in peace. So if you have an overcrowded coop, now is the best time for an upgrade.

Don’t forget that even the best chicken breeds for egg-laying require an adequate diet and nutrition. You should give them high-quality feed, enough water, and sunlight, and ample space.

If you own these breeds, let us in the comments section how many eggs you get from them? Also, don’t forget to share this guide with your friends.

FAQs

Unfortunately, not all chickens can go broody. Most of the time, breeds with higher egg production don’t sit on the eggs at all. This is because they are bred for eggs and not for hatching and raising baby chicks. If you decide to breed them, you’ll need to buy or make an egg incubator.

You should feed your hens with premium chicken feed. Ideally, you’d want to use a feed that contains at least 16% protein and includes other nutrients and vitamins like Omega-3 and calcium. A high-quality feed not only increases egg production; it also ensures tastier and more nutritious eggs. Consequently, a poor diet can lead to bad egg quality, small egg size, and, in extreme cases, no production of eggs.

Yes, you can raise egg-laying chickens and meat chickens together. However, you should pay close attention to their food. Broilers require a different kind of feed compared to any of the best egg-laying chickens on our list. Also, meat birds usually camp around the feeders. Chickens that lay eggs may have a hard time getting food!

  1. Sussex. Retrieved from: https://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/speckled_sussex.html
  2. Major US Study on Backyard Flocks. Retrieved from: https://mikethechickenvet.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/major-us-study-on-backyard-flocks/
  3. Raising chickens for eggs. Retrieved from: https://extension.umn.edu/small-scale-poultry/raising-chickens-eggs
Chicken Laying Egg

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