There are few people out there who do not enjoy the flavor of farm fresh eggs for breakfast or for baking. But did you know that there is a wide variety of egg sizes? Some chickens can lay a very tiny egg, while others can lay jumbo eggs. In the middle of the road, you have the large egg — the standard for baking recipes everywhere. Knowing the top large egg laying chickens can help you decide which breeds to incorporate into your flock.
What Is a Large Egg?
Eggs are interesting, when you think about it. You can find green ones, pink ones, brown ones, and white ones in the nesting boxes of your flock. Depending on the chicken’s breed, those colorful eggs may also be large or small. So where does a large egg fall in all this?
Turns out, there are six egg sizes, ranging from peewee to jumbo. Take a look at this chart:
|Egg Size||Egg Weight||Calories||Protein|
|Peewee||Less than 1.5 oz||40 calories||3 grams|
|Small||1.5 oz||50 calories||4 grams|
|Medium||1.75 oz||60 calories||5 grams|
|Large||2.0 oz||70 calories||6 grams|
|X-Large||2.25 oz||80 calories||7 grams|
|Jumbo||2.50 oz||90 calories||8 grams|
As you can see, there is a huge size difference between peewee, large, and jumbo. 6 oz separate jumbo eggs from large ones.
What Determines Egg Weight?
Let’s briefly discuss where the large egg comes from and how its size is determined. Certain breeds have been bred selectively to weigh on the largest eggs. Others have a more natural range of eggs. As hens grow, their eggs often start as peewee then mature into medium or large. Most chicken breeds raised for their egg-laying abilities will be laying large, extra large, or jumbo sized eggs by 40 weeks of age, though some start laying much sooner.
However, it is important to note the factors that determine the size of an egg:
- A chicken’s weight is proportional to the size of an egg. In other words, you bantam chickens are never going to be able to lay a jumbo egg — not unless by a miracle.
- Light can also affect the size of an egg. During the winter months, egg production is often delayed and will result in smaller eggs.
- The quality and amount of food a chicken eats also determines the weight of their eggs. Nutritious food makes for larger, more delicious eggs.
- A chicken’s overall skeletal size determines how large of an egg they can lay. This explains why pullets, which have yet to fully mature and reach adult height and weight, lay tinier eggs than they do when older.
- The presence of predators will put chickens into survival mode. When that happens, their bodies do not want to produce eggs. Having a safe yard to roam will coax out larger eggs.
That being said, if you want larger eggs, choose large chickens!
Top 10 Large Egg Laying Chickens
Now that you know where large eggs come from, it is time to introduce the breeds known for laying large eggs. Do keep in mind that these chickens are often bred for large eggs, not extra-large or jumbo. If you want eggs even bigger than large ones, you are going to have to find breeds designed for that kind of egg.
Without further ado, the top 10 large egg-laying chickens:
1. Leghorn Chickens
Your Leghorn chickens will provide you with plenty of large eggs throughout the year, but only when they are young. Leghorn chickens are known for their jumbo or extra-large eggs when they mature. The benefit of these chickens is that they are large, mature at a normal pace, and can lay up to 250-280 eggs in a single year. You will have a wide variety of egg sizes to offer any customers or family looking for some farm-fresh eggs.
2. Minorca Chickens
The Minorca is not a commonly seen chicken in the United States. Hailing from the Mediterranean, the Minorca is stunning to see in person. With its large white earlobes and shiny black feathers, this chicken looks exotic. The good news is that Minorca chickens are also incredibly friendly and easy to handle. You do not need any special training or equipment to raise this breed in your backyard.
Minorca hens have some of the largest white eggs of any breed and will shell out more than 200 eggs per year.
3. Production Red Chickens
There are many hybrid chickens that were created with the goal of getting the most eggs possible in a single year. Production Reds are one example. As an industrial strain of the gorgeous Rhode Island Red, the Production Red are huge birds that easily lay more than 300 eggs per year. If you wanted, you could also use your Production Red chickens for meat once their egg production starts to dwindle. These birds also have a similar temperament as Rhode Island Reds.
The downside to using hybrids like the Production Red is that their lifespans are very short — around 3 years on average.
4. Lohmann Brown Chickens
Here is another excellent egg-layer, the hybrid Lohmann Brown. Noted as one of the most productive hybrids, the Lohmann Brown was created by a German genetics company. The researchers used New Hampshire chickens and crossed them with many other breeds to generate a hybrid that could lay large brown eggs consistently. Hence the “brown” in this breed’s name.
Lohmann Browns are exceptional at what they do. Around 4-5 months old, they begin laying large to jumbo sized eggs without an issue. That is because, aside from being bred to produce around 300 eggs a year, they were also designed to mature rapidly. As with most hybrids, you only get 3 years from them.
5. Barnevelder Chickens
Named after Barneveld, a Dutch town, the Barnevelder is a heavy chicken with a lot of personality. The Barnevelder is not only stunning — with the black feathers and brownish lacing on the tips of their wings — they also lay a deep chocolate brown egg, similar to a Maran. Plus, those eggs tend to be large or extra-large.
If you do not like the thought of your chickens failing to produce eggs in the winter, then you will love the Barnevelder. Hardy and robust, Barnevelder hens provide you with a consistent supply of eggs throughout the year, even during the coldest months. That amounts to about 3-4 eggs a week, or 150-200 eggs per year. While this may not be as much as other hybrid breeds, the Barnevelder makes for an excellent pet when tamed from an early age and will also keep your yard free of pests.
6. Welsummer Chickens
The Dutch breed, the Welsummer, has only been around since the beginning of the twentieth century. The Welsummer came about by combining Cochins, Wyandottes, Partridge Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, and Barnevelders together. This breed is lovely, both in physical appearance and temperament. Furthermore, they mature quickly, when compared to other non-hybrid breeds. Another reason you may like them is the color of their eggs — a rich reddish brown close to terracotta.
Welsummer chickens will lay large to extra-large eggs. Considering their lovely color and size, these eggs tend to be a very popular purchase at markets and roadside stands. Welsummer chickens tend to lay around 160-250 eggs per year, though their production tends to taper off during the colder, darker months.
7. Buff Orpington Chickens
A beloved heritage breed from the United Kingdom, Orpingtons deserve a moment of recognition. Not only can you find Orpington chickens in a plethora of stunning colors, they are also among the friendliest. Known for their gentle nature and calm disposition, these birds make wonderful additions to the backyard. Since they mature fast, Orpingtons begin laying large sized eggs rather quickly. Once they have matured, you can expect around 280 large eggs per year.
The color of those eggs is another reason to bring some of these hens home. Their brown eggs are pearlescent, making them popular among consumers.
If you live somewhere cold, consider the Buff Orpington. They are cold-resistant and will not stop laying eggs for even snow. The downside? They do not do well during the warmer months or in humid climates.
8. Delaware Chickens
Developed in 1940, the Delaware breed came about when a New Hampshire Red was crossed with a Barred Plymouth Rock. The result was a beautiful white chicken with a striking red comb and wattles. On their tail feathers and neck are spots of black. Delaware chickens are noteworthy for a couple of reasons. They grow fast, are medium-sized, hardy, and lay a decent number of light brown eggs. One Delaware hen averages around 200 large eggs per year and will continue laying for a long while (though egg production tapers off at 10% each year after 2 years old).
Of course, their eggs are not the only reason you would want a few for your flock. Delaware chickens are very friendly, great for children, and will rarely bully other hens.
9. Golden Comet Chickens
Here we have another hybrid — the Golden Comet. As a cross between a White Leghorn and Rhode Island Red, the Golden Comet has all the advantages of both breeds. Particularly when it comes to laying an incredible amount of large-sized eggs. Up to 330 per year, in fact. Plus, those eggs are a lovely reddish-brown.
Golden Comets have become a favorite among egg farmers, because they can continue laying eggs throughout the winter. Not much bothers these chickens.
Since Golden Comets mature so quickly, they will be among the first in a mixed flock to begin laying eggs. Of course, this also means that they live fast and die young. If you are not interested in the Golden Comet due to the health complications this breed can face, you may also want to consider Black Sex-Link, Red Sex-Link, California Whites, and Cinnamon Queens. All these have about the same egg production rate.
10. Speckled Sussex Chickens
The Speckled Sussex may be last on this list, but it is certainly not the least. Not only is this chicken breed incredibly beautiful — how can you deny those colorful feathers? — it is a fantastic egg-layer. Cold hardy and plucky, the Speckled Sussex has plenty of personality to suit its paint-splattered appearance. Even when other breeds stop producing eggs in the winter, the Speckled Sussex hen will continue laying around 4-5 large brown eggs per week. That amounts to around 180-250 eggs per year.
Egg laying begins around 20 weeks old.
The other reason to have a Speckled Sussex or several? They are incredibly friendly and personable. In fact, you would be able to tell apart Speckled Sussex hens just by their attitudes. Chatty, curious, and in love with people, Speckled Sussex chickens do not just want to lay eggs for you. They want to be a part of your family and sit on your lap.
Finally, you can watch this great video with tips on how to get big eggs:
Final Thoughts on Large Egg-Layers
So you have seen which chickens can lay large eggs. Which breed do you think you will be adding to your flock? If you want a chicken that produces tons of eggs rapidly, then go with one of the hybrids on this list. For those you want for a dual-purpose or companion, the purebred chickens are better, since they have longer lifespans. All in all, you have a broad selection of chicken breeds to choose from. Did we miss a large egg-laying breed? Let us know in the comments.
Valerie has been content writing since 2016 for websites and companies all around the world. A traveler, dancer, martial artist, Valerie loves gathering experiences and wisdom. Her travels have taken her to over 20 countries, and she hopes to see more of the world soon.