8 of the Best Chicken Breeds for Eggs

Chickens are one of the easiest homestead animals to start with. If you are new to chickens you might be wondering what are the best chicken breeds for laying eggs.  I mean, we all want a good egg laying chicken when we buy some hens, don’t we?

chicken breeds for eggs

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Before we moved out to our homestead a year and a half ago I spent many years dreaming of owning chickens. But not just ANY chickens.  I wanted the best laying hens I could find.  Of course, I was a newbie when it came to animals, so I started researching the best chicken breeds for beginners so that I could hopefully avoid getting in over my head.

In our previous house I even went down to our local town hall to find out if there was a possibility I was allowed backyard chickens. To be honest, I kind of figured I would be able to because we were living in a small town with a lot of Amish living on the outskirts, and I noticed that down the street from me on one side of town there was a even a horse in the backyard!

Well, I was disappointed (and a little surprised, not gonna lie) to find out that there was no chance I was allowed to have backyard chickens. I’m guessing the horse owners down the road had been there before the town started growing around them and that’s how they managed to keep it while technically living in town.

So, I had no choice but to wait to own our chickens until we moved to the country with space enough to do so, as well as proper zoning.

Let’s talk about zoning for a minute though, shall we? Sometimes when people move to the country they think they are automatically allowed to have animals. Not necessarily. There are a whole bunch of different zoning regulations and there are a lot of properties in the country that are zoned as โ€œresidentialโ€ which means that technically you may not be allowed to have chickens unless you live in a community that allows backyard chickens.

So, if you are looking for a homestead, or your own little piece of land, make sure to do your homework. The last thing you ever want is to buy your dream homestead only to discover you can’t bring animals home to it. Unfortunately, this has happened to many people.  Be sure to find out what your potential property is zoned for, and find out what that zoning actually means in your area.

Thankfully our little piece of land is zoned correctly for homesteading. I made sure of that before we bought it.

Anyways, back to the chickens. So, if you finally get to dive into owning chickens, you’ll be so excited, only to open a brochure at the feed store and realize you know not a thing about any of the breeds listed. I mean, what the heck is a dual purpose chicken anyway?

However, clueless or not, I decided that day in the feed store that I WAS getting baby chicks, so a quick call to a close friend who owns chickens to find out what breed she owned and I just ordered the same breed.

As you can tell, I chose my breed on some serious scientific methods and well thought out research. ๐Ÿ™‚

Aside from picking out the best chicken breed for you and your family, you’ll need a waterer and a feeder for your chickens.  Once you have those things you’ll feel you are ready to take on the world of chicken raising!

Oh, and let’s not forget a cute egg basket like the one below!  I mean, can you even be a homesteader if you can’t carry your eggs in style?  You can find them over here.

Now that I’ve owned three different breeds of chickens (one meat breed and two egg breeds) and am looking into what breed I want next, I’ve had a chance to learn, study, and discover the different breeds and which ones are better for which purpose.

Of course, even with researching all the information you can on various breeds, until you own that breed you won’t know if you like it or not.  Everyone has their preference, regardless of what is known as “the best” for eggs, meat, friendliness, cold-hardiness, etc.  There’s even some debate about what truly are the best egg laying chickens around.  You’ll have to decide for yourself which you think are best.

First, let’s talk about a dual-purpose breed. A dual-purpose breed is good for laying eggs but also good for meat.  Some people prefer to just go with one breed for both purposes.  it really comes down to what works best for your homestead and family.  Some people feel that dual-purpose chickens aren’t the best egg layers, but others love them.

HOW MANY EGGS DO CHICKENS LAY A YEAR?

You may be wondering how many eggs do hens lay a year.  Well, there are a lot of factors that play into this.  It will depend on breed, age of the chickens, and climate.  However, for a high-laying breed there is a good chance your chickens will lay 250 or so eggs a year. 

So how many eggs does a chicken lay a day?  On average it will lay an egg every day to every second day, again, if it’s a high-laying breed.  This is in the first few years as that is when your chickens will lay the most eggs.

However, during molting season chickens do stop laying.  You can expect your chickens to molt for their first time around 18 months in.  Chickens also lay less in the winter months with some chickens stopping completely for a while when the days are shorter. 

You can help them lay eggs through the winter months by giving them some artificial light.  There are conflicting opinions on whether this method is the best or not.  We’ve used this method and were happy with the results but you will want to decide what works best for your chicken owning adventure.  

So, in conclusion, how many eggs does a chicken lay?  As you can see, it depends on a lot of factors!

So, let’s talk about some different types of laying hens and let’s find the best laying chickens for your homestead so you can be eating eggs for breakfast every morning before you know it!

8 OF THE BEST BACKYARD CHICKEN BREEDS FOR EGGS

When looking for the best chickens for eggs, I recommend one of the 8 breeds:

  1. Rhode Island Red
  2. Plymouth Rock
  3. Orpington
  4. Ameraunana
  5. Wyandotte
  6. Sussex
  7. Australorp
  8. Dominique

Let’s talk about each breed individually regarding their temperaments, egg production number, and more.

Rhode Island Red. This breed is by far in the top egg laying chickens category and there is a good chance if you know a lot of chicken owners you’ve seen SOMEONE with Rhode Island Reds. These chickens lay a brown egg and are excellent layers, laying around 250 eggs a year. They tend to do well in cold climates but they are also great in hot climates. The hens are known for being friendly. These ladies are a great breed for a beginner.

Plymouth Rock. The Plymouth Rock breed is another type of chicken that is known for it’s friendliness. Because of their calm nature they are an excellent choice if you have young kids. They are also very cold-hardy. They lay around 200 brown eggs a year and are a dual-purpose breed.

Orpington Chickens

Orpington. These chickens lay a little less than other breeds, but still a lot at around 180 eggs a year. They lay brown eggs and are another dual-purpose breed. Orpingtons are calm and friendly, so in my opinion they are one of the best chicken breeds for kids.

Ameraucana. Okay, this is the breed I am looking at for our next batch of chickens for the whole reason that they lay beautiful BLUE eggs.  They can lay around 180 eggs a year and while that is a little less than many of the other breeds on this list, isn’t it worth it for beautiful, blue eggs? These birds are cold-hardy and friendly which makes them easy to handle.

wyandotte breed for eggs

Wyandotte. The Wyandotte is a dual-purpose breed that lays brown eggs. They are friendly and cold-hardy, and also are known for their beautiful appearance. This breed will lay around 200 eggs a year. The Wyandottes can handle some confinement, but are happier when they have more room, so they are a good breed to free-range.

Sussex. A dual-purpose breed that lays light brown eggs and is very cold-hardy. So cold-hardy that they are known to lay through the winter when other breeds stop laying. They can lay around 250 eggs a year which makes them one of the best chicken breeds for laying eggs.

Australorp. Another dual-purpose breed (as you can see, most of these are dual-purpose!) They are excellent layers, laying up to 250 eggs a year. They are friendly and easy to handle, as well as cold-hardy.

Dominique. I figured we needed another breed on this list that is not only cold-hardy, but is also heat tolerant. The Dominique fits this category. This breed is calm and docile. They lay brown eggs and can lay around 250 eggs a year.

BEST CHICKENS FOR COLD WEATHER

Depending on where you live should play a factor into what chicken breed you get.  There are some chicken breeds better for cold climates.  If you live in a colder area, try one of these breeds:

  • Rhode Island Reds
  • Australorp
  • Orpingtons
  • Ameraucana
  • Wyandottes
  • Brahmas
  • Sussexes

BEST CHICKENS FOR HOT WEATHER

If you live in a hot climate you want to get the best breed for warmer weather.  The smaller breed chickens do better in heat.  Try one of these breeds:

  • Orpingtons
  • Barred Plymouth Rocks
  • Rhode Island Reds
  • Welsummers
  • Dominiques

RAISING FRIENDLY CHICKENS REQUIRE HANDLING

As you can see, there are many breeds to choose from! This is just a very small sampling of the many, many breeds that are out there, including good laying egg breeds.

When it comes to raising friendly chickens we’ve discovered that the more we handled them, the more used to us they were. It wasn’t hard to make sure we handled them a lot. The kids couldn’t get enough of holding the baby chicks. As the chicks grew into bigger chickens I would often find the kids at the coop, petting, carrying, and hugging the chickens.

Handling chickens

They’ve even named half of them. I can’t figure out how they can tell them apart! They all look the same to me since we only have one breed that all look alike.  Regardless, I have the kids to thank for super friendly chickens.  They just loved on those chickens from day one and now all the chickens are happy to be around us.

Whatever breed you choose, I hope you will find that raising chickens can be a satisfying, enjoyable experience and a great way to start your homesteading adventure. They are easy to care for, full of personality, and just plain fun to have around.  Try out one of these 8 chicken breeds for laying eggs to get you off to a good start with high chicken egg production.

 

Related: How to Look After Baby Chicks – A Beginner’s Guide

11 thoughts on “8 of the Best Chicken Breeds for Eggs”

  1. I would love it if you could add to your chicken breeds descriptions which ones are broody. I much prefer if they contently give up their eggs to me…
    thanks for a great site!

    1. That’s a great idea. I will look into it as I’m not sure which ones are and which ones aren’t but I am sure if you are curious, others want to know. Thanks for the tip. ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. The very best broody hens i have ever had are Speckled Sussex! My Australorps will go broody sometimes, i have had some of my Orpingtons go broody also and both are good mama hens. I’m now raising some Dorkings, they are supposed to be amazing broodies also, but i can’t say yet, they are only about 8 months old….though i can say, so far, they are good layers of creamy white eggs.

      1. Are there any that do better/worse in warmer climates? I live in North Carolina, zone 7b so it gets really hot in the summer and mild in the winter. Thanks!

  2. I have read over your list and other lists of the best laying chicken breeds and as yet I can’t find the Production Reds. I have had this breed for the 2nd time and I am delighted with the results. This group of Production Reds, from the time they started to lay have done a super job. I have 6 chickens and each day I pick 6 eggs. They are a friendly group, love attention and rubbing along with being rather pretty to look at. Thought I would put my 2 cents worth in,

    Lefty Hanzelka ([email protected])

    1. Thanks for sharing. I have not heard of the production reds. I will have to research them as you’ve got me interested! They sound similar to my red sexlinks which may be a similar type chicken. Super friendly, lays a ton of eggs, and pretty. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Thank you for this informative post. Iโ€™m very new to this and am looking forward to raising my own chickens someday. Iโ€™m wondering if you can mix breeds or should you always keep your batch the same breed? Thank you!

    1. You can definitely mix breeds but some do better with others. What I would do when you decide your breeds is do a quick google search on whether those breeds do well together. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. You didn’t mention Isa Brown hens. On average, 320 eggs per year! I’ve had this breed for several years. Great chickens, not broody, lay well heat or cold. I love mine.

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