Backyard Chickens – The 5 Best Breeds For Egg Layers

It's only fair to share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Digg thisShare on RedditShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on VKEmail this to someone

backyard chickensWhen we started raising backyard chickens, we put a lot of thought and research into the chickens we wanted to buy. Learning which breeds were best for our purpose saved us time and money by avoiding buying chickens not suitable for what we wanted. Now, twenty years later, we know which breeds work best for us. For the chicken breeds we can’t find locally we order from eFowl and highly recommend them.

Backyard Chickens for Egg Layers

While all hens produce edible eggs containing the same nutritional benefits, only certain ones are superior laying hens, excelling at egg production. Personally, I prefer brown eggs so I base my breed choices on ones known for laying brown eggs. However, brown eggs are not healthier than white eggs: I just like brown eggs. The chicken’s diet controls the health benefits of eggs, the richness and color of the yolk and the bird’s overall health.

Many people argue that you can’t taste the difference between store-bought eggs and fresh eggs—I say, “baloney”; the yolks are richer and more nutritious, giving them a better taste than any found in the grocery store. Raising chickens organically and cage free produces healthier and tastier eggs and meat. Once you try an organic meat chicken, free of antibiotics, hormones and other chemicals, you’ll never want chicken from the store again.

If you just started raising backyard chickens or if you already have a flock, get our e-book, Raising Chickens for Fun and Profit.

Treats for Your Girls – They’ll Love Them

 

Top 5 Laying Hen Breed Recommendations

240px-Rhode_Island_Red
Rhode Island Red
: This is my favorite layer. They lay medium size brown eggs with an above average laying rate. Being both cold and heat hardy, Rhode Island Reds are good for any climate. They are easy to care for, adapting well to a penned or free-range environment. Reds are a more aggressive breed so be careful what breeds you place them with. These chickens are a good, dual-purpose breed and are well-known for both egg production and meat. If you want a do everything breed, the Rhode Island Red is the one to pick.

 

Leghorn
Leghorn:
The best backyard chickens for lots of eggs, these chickens lay extra-large white eggs, producing over 300 a year. Even with their smaller size, they make a good dual-purpose chicken; using them for meat, once their laying production declines. If you want a meatier chicken go with the Plymouth Rock. Their egg production is lower but they are a large chicken, with an average weight of 10 pounds. While I prefer brown eggs, I always include a few Leghorns for their terrific laying rates.

 

Buff Orpington
Buff Orpington:
This breed has an above average production of large brown eggs. Their friendly nature and cold weather hardiness makes them an excellent beginner chicken.  If you plan to raise chicks, the Orpington is a good brooder and excellent mother. They also make good pets and I wouldn’t have a flock without one or two Orpingtons. However, because of their docile nature, other birds pick on them so they don’t do well with aggressive breeds.

 

Black Chicken

Black Star: The hens are above average layers of large brown eggs and begin lying around five months. They are a hardy breed and easy to raise. These hybrid chickens are a cross between Barred Rock hens and Rhode Island Red roosters. The chicks are easily color sexed, meaning you identify males and females by their color. The males are black while hens have gold plumage on their neck and breast. The Black Star is another good beginner breed with a calm nature making them good pets.

Easter Egger - Ameraucana
Ameraucana:
Also known as Easter Eggers, these backyard chickens lay eggs in various shades of blue, blue-green, green and cream.  These easy to handle birds lay medium size eggs, are winter hardy and have average to above average egg production. Ameracuanas adapt well to confinement or free range and are calm and non-aggressive making them a good family chicken. Your kids will love collecting the colorful eggs.

Try various breeds for your backyard flock. If you want both meat and egg layers, I recommend including dual-purpose chickens like the Leghorn, and meat chickens like the Plymouth Rock. A flock of three to four hens gives a family of four an adequate amount of eggs but, I always have a flock of ten, usually more.

For more information about raising chickens, check out our e-book, Raising Chickens for Fun and Profit.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. This is great! I have never had chickens but today I bought 6 Reds. They are pullets and should lay in 5 weeks. We have them for laying eggs. Not for meat. what breeds should I steer clear of to mix with the ones I have?

    • Hi Jennifer,

      Welcome to the world of backyard chickens! Rhode Island Red, in my opinion at least, is the best breed you can get for laying hens. They not only lay a bunch of eggs, they adapt well to just about any climate and are fairly docile. Our reds love interacting with us. The only hens we raise these days are Reds, Araucanas, and Orpingtons.

      I have kept Reds with all 5 of the breeds I mention in this article with no aggression problems at all. Plus, these 5 breeds are fairly easy to come by. However, I would not get Rhode Island Red roosters as they are known for their aggressiveness. We don’t keep roosters at all any longer since we don’t breed our own chicks.

      • Nancy
        Didn’t you say reds were kind of aggressive and orpingtons would be picked on? Kind of nervous on getting the two but I want the reds to have more layers

        • Hi Mike,

          We have Reds, Orpingtons, and Ameraucanas all together with no issues at all. All chickens will have some tiffs, but our blend rarely do. Leg Horns are the ones that can be aggressive. Even though they are great layers, I would not mix them with others.

          Rhode Island Red roosters are “very” aggressive so I don’t recommend keeping them. We stopped keeping any type of roosters a couple of years ago because they are aggressive with each other and us, and can hurt the hens. We just decided we would purchase sexed chicks from eFowl and keep nothing but hens. If we do occasionally get a rooster, we sell them.

          I love Reds for layers. They lay regularly, except when they are molting and then it slows, but their eggs are large and brown. Can’t go wrong with Reds. Hope this helps.

    • Hi Patty,

      If you can’t find them locally, I “highly” recommend buying through these people: http://www.efowl.com/?Click=18552

      I buy from them a lot and they have all the chickens I mentioned here. The last time I bought my Rhode Island Reds from them, I didn’t lose any. They were in great shape other than being thirsty and hungry after their trip. They have great customer service and if you have any questions, just call them. You can also get your chicks vaccinated for Merek’s disease before they ship them, which I recommend.

  2. Great article! Do you have a link that shows all the books you have published on chicken-egg-farms (if you have any at all)? I would like to start a chicken farm, but have no idea where to start, so I would highly appreciate it! 🙂

    • Ps. Any tips for someone starting a chicken farm? I used to own two back when I was younger; they were in our backyard and my siblings and I would take it in turns to go collect the eggs, but I don’t know how starting a farm would go/work. I’m wondering about things such as how many chickens would be good to start with; how many would be a good amount for an egg farm; how much room the chickens would need (to be free range), etc.? Do you have an article/book on that? Both? Thanks again! 🙂

      • First question would be, are you planning to sell eggs on a large scale or just small scale to farmers markets? The amount of hens you need depends on what you are planning. We have about 20 hens and have enough eggs to sell to our local feed store and farm gate sales. Enough to pay for the girls feed.

      • My 12 year old daughter owns her own chicken egg buissness, because she bought 32 chickens herself! I offered to pay, and she says “No thank you I want these chickens to know that I will care for them and that even though I do not have them I love them and she bought them! I am so proud of her!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Please buy from me at http://www.schmidtfamilyfarms.com

  3. Hi Nancy ,
    Your information has given me exactly what I required ,we are about to adopt a couple of Rhode Island reds in our yard .I feel confident now to go ahead

  4. I found it interesting that you answered Adam Kumalo’s question ” How many eggs does Rhode island red lay a day?” by saying that “Rhode Island Reds will lay one egg per day” .
    I know of no chicken on this earth that is capable of doing that. It is my understanding that the minimum cycle for forming and laying an egg is 26 hours which would make an egg a day impossible. I hope Adam does depend upon getting 365 eggs per year from each of his hens, even the first year. I believe a more realistic estimate would be around 280 years during the hen’s prime year.

    • Geeze, thanks for catching that, Larry it should have read 1 every “other” day; a typo on my part. To Adam, Larry is right on my typo. No hen is going to lay every day. I get 1 egg every “other” day from my Reds. I have twenty hens and average around 16 eggs a day from all of them. Sometimes, they like to take a rest and I may only get about ten, but honestly, that is not very often; usually once a month there is one or two days I only get about 10 eggs. Reds, in my opinion, are the best for a lot of large, brown eggs.

  5. Hello. I am a 13 year old girl getting my own chickens for the first time. I was thinking about getting Australorps, with maybe a mix of some Rhode Island Reds. What other breeds should I use? I am mostly leaning towards the Australorps, but I need help. I have a bunch more questions, so please please please help me!!!

    • Congratulations on raising chickens. While they take some work, they are also a lot of fun.

      Australorps are great egg layers. They also have a gentle temperament and are great around people and other chickens. Rhode Island reds are great layers and have good temperament as well. I never have a flock without Rhode Islands. I love they way they talk to you. Ours will follow us around, clucking and carrying on and it’s almost like they answer us if we talk back to them.

      Our flock consists of Rhode Islands, Americanas, and Orpingtons. They all intermingle well, have good temperaments, and are all great layers.

      Any questions, feel free to ask.

    • Rhode Island Reds will lay 1 egg per day. As they age, their production slows down. I wouldn’t have a flock without some Rhode Island Reds. They are great chickens.

    • Most breeds start laying between 5 and 6 months. Leghorns are know to start laying between 4 1/2 to 5 months. This is the usual, but chickens are known to do things on their own schedules.

      All of my Rhode Island Reds started laying at 6 months. My Americanas and Orpingtons started around 5 months with the exception of 2 Orpingtons, one didn’t lay until 7 months and the other 7 1/2 months.

    • Hi Adnan,

      Yes, the article mentions the Leghorn. They are great layers, one of the best. They lay large white eggs and Rhode Island Reds lay large brown eggs. Both breeds are great for eggs and both are well adapted to heat and cold.

  6. That`s Really Nice.. I am a boy Of 14yrs. and I am Now in The basic School. My teacher thought me About poultry and Most Especially Layers.Among the Example He gave me,There is Rhode Island Red.But it seems I can`t find the other One he gave me In Your Blog. I hope I will see It soon.

  7. Hello! This is myy first visit to your blog!
    We are a group of volunteers and starting a new project in
    a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us useful information to work on.
    You have done a marvellous job!

  8. Hey there are using WordPress for your blog platform? I’m new to
    the blog world but I’m trying to get started and set up
    my own. Do you require any coding expertise to make your own blog?
    Any help would be really appreciated!

    my site – epub readers

  9. Hi exceptional website!Does running a blog similar to this require a lot of work?
    I’ve very little understanding of computer programming however
    I was hoping to start my own blog soon. Anyhow, should you have any suggestions or tips for new blog owners please share.
    I know this is off subject however I just had to ask.
    Thank you!

  10. I needed to thank you for this good read!! I absolutely loved
    every bit of it. I’ve got you book marked to check out new stuff
    you post…

  11. Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the images on thks
    blog loading? I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
    Any responses would be greatly appreciated.

  12. Please lett me know if you’re looking for a writer for your site.
    You have some really great articles and I think I would be a good asset.

    If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d
    really lie to write some material for your blog in exchange for a lijnk bachk tto mine.
    Please send me an email iff interested. Kudos!

  13. I feel this is among the so much important information
    for me. And i am satisfied studying your article.
    But want to statement on few common things, The web sit style is great,
    the articles is truly nice : D. Excellent job,
    cheers

  14. With havin so much cotent do you ever run into any problems
    of plagorism or copyright infringement? My blog has a lot of exclusive
    content I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my authorization.
    Do you know any methods to help prevent content from being stolen?
    I’d genuinely appreciate it.

    • No matter where you post, you will run into people too lazy to write their own content. The best you can do is make sure you have the copywrite symbol on your blog pages and monitor the web for infringement. If you do find plagorism, contact the site owner. If it’s a site owned by a second party, then you have a good chance of getting the content removed if they care about the content posted on their site.

      I take guests posts and anything submitted to me for publishing, I always run through Copyscape. The last thing I want on my site is an article that is not original.

  15. My spouse aand I stumbled over here different web page and thought I mitht check thyings out.
    I like what I ssee so noow i’m following you. Look forward to looking
    into your web page for a second time.