Best Laying Chickens

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how to build a chicken coop building a chicken coopThe majority of people keeping chickens in their backyard are doing it for the eggs. Whether you want the eggs only for yourself or are planning to share with family and friends or even if you are hoping to go into business selling eggs, you probably are wondering which breeds are the best laying chickens. All breeds of hens lay at least some eggs but some breeds are much more prolific egg layers than others.  Certain breeds, and especially some hybrids, have been purposely bred to maximize egg production. If you’re planning to sell eggs and are looking for the highest egg yield possible, then one of these breeds or hybrids would be for you. But if you are just looking for eggs for yourself and family and friends, then likely any of the standard dual-purpose breeds will be what you’re looking for.

best laying hens best laying chickens

White Leghorn

 

Leghorn – The Leghorn is known for being one of the very best egg laying chicken breeds, being a top producer of large white eggs. They tend to mature and start producing eggs earlier than other breeds, around 4 ½ months. They are a smaller, lightweight bird, generally around 4lbs.  They do not make a good meat bird as they put all their energy into egg production.

 

Black Star / Red Star– The Stars are both sex-linked hybrid crosses created to make birds with an excellent yield of large brown eggs. Typically a Rhode Island Red male is crossed with a Delaware hen to make the Red Star egg layers. A Rhode Island Red male is crossed with a Barred Rock to make the Black Stars. The benefit of the sex-linking is the chicks’ gender is able to be determined at hatching based on their color.

best egg laying chickens best egg layers

Red Star hen

 

Golden Comet – Another one of the best egg laying chickens, the Golden Comet is also a sex-linked hybrid cross, created by crossing a New Hampshire with a White Plymouth Rock. Phenomenal egg layers, this is the breed used for most large brown eggs found in grocery stores. An average sized chicken, hens tend to mature earlier than many other breeds.

 

Hy-Line Brown – One of the best brown egg layers available today, the Hy-Line Brown is a genetically created hybrid. The hens typically produce more than 300 eggs per year. Easy to handle and weather hardy, they make an excellent choice for any backyard flock or farm production.

 

Rhode Island Red– A hardy dual-purpose heritage breed with a heavy egg laying capability, the Rhode Island Red has certainly earned its rank in the group of best laying chickens. They have a high yield of large brown eggs and are a very common choice for many backyard flocks. They are even known for producing eggs under less than ideal conditions.

best egg laying chicken breeds

Rhode Island Red

 

Australorp – Created in Australia using Black Orpingtons and other breeds, the goal was to keep the Orpington qualities while creating a bird with a higher egg yield. The Australorp is now well known as an excellent dual-purpose bird with great egg laying ability of large light brown eggs.

 

Plymouth Rock – Another of the dual-purpose heritage breeds, the Rocks are a good choice for producing large amounts of eggs. They are another hardy breed known for being active and very friendly. They are great egg layers of large light brown eggs. They also can go broody and make great mothers.

 

While this list of egg layers is certainly not exhaustive, it does give a good overview of many of the best laying chickens there are. However, there are also other good egg producers out there. Pretty much any of the other dual-purpose breeds will give a decent amount of eggs for most backyard chicken keepers. And commercial producers are always working on the next best hybrid.

 

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13 Response to Best Laying Chickens

  1. Tilly's Nest on October 3, 2012

    Wonderful post! Thank you for linking up to the blog hop today!

    Reply
  2. Gretchen on October 14, 2012

    Great post – I’m deciding on some breeds for next year and love our australorp, but maybe I should try something new!

    Reply
  3. Heidi on October 18, 2012

    That’s an interesting read, but I learned this year that breed “begin to lay” guidelines are just averages. This year I got two each of the following breeds: Black Australorps, Plymouth Barred Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, Salmon Faverolles, Buff Orpingtons, Silver Laced Wyandottes, and Easter Eggers. Bought as day olds from 2 different farms. They ALL started laying at or before 4.5 months old. While my BFF got 100% red stars and hers just started laying within the last week at 6 months 3 weeks of age…

    We live two blocks apart. The difference is our feed and free ranging. I mix/grind my own high protein/omega 3 feed that includes regular poultry layer crumble, wheat, barley, Black oil sunflower seed, 4 way, flax seed, oyster shell calcium, and Manna Pro’s Egg Maker supplement. My birds also free range my yard and garden all day long. My BFF’s birds have to be confined for protection from predators and she feeds a basic purina or kruse layer pellet. I think that feed and supplements have a lot to do with how soon hens begin laying eggs, more so than breed, in my opinion. While breed may be VIP in determining how long the hen is able to lay and the size and volume of eggs in her lifetime.

    Reply
    • Sarah on October 18, 2012

      Oh yes, absolutely just averages. Certainly any individual hen can always go against the breed’s “average”. And yes, I fully agree the feed, care, and whether free ranging definitely can make a difference!
      But in general, these are breeds that are known for being higher egg producers overall – in terms of talking more eggs per week, per month, per year than other breeds (and again, yes, averages in general) :)

      Reply
  4. Nancy on October 19, 2012

    Our black star is our oldest chicken, best mother and best layer. :)

    Reply
    • Patty on January 31, 2013

      I’m a bit confused: is a Black star the same as a Cherry Egger?
      How old is your oldest? How often does she lay?
      When I got my gals the lady called them Cherry Eggers but couldn’t remember what two birds mixed to get them. She said the pair of parents were the opposite of what makes another breed.
      Mine are small, Very dark mahogany color, many people see them as black, but they are dark mahogany, not black, & good producers, & affectionate & friendly. Their eggs are tan & roundish more than oval.
      I thought that I read somewhere here that one can’t breed them & get fertile eggs, as in cant need 2 mules because they’re hybrids.
      I have 2 cherry eggers & one silkie hen & one silkie rooster.
      I’m getting 2x as many roundish eggs as I am oblong, so I presume they are all laying. I get steadily 2 eggs a day.
      Can anyone tell me that if I’ve found that both kinds are fertilized, does that mean that my rooster & all 3 hens have created eggs that will/can hatch into chicks? Even the hybrids?
      Thanks for any input!

      Reply
      • Sarah @ Backyard Chicken Keeping on February 5, 2013

        I’m not all that familiar with Cherry Eggers. But from what I understand they are a production red (meaning red hybrid), from crossing a Rhode Island Red with a New Hampshire, so a bit different from Black Stars, but similar. I don’t see any reason why they couldn’t be bred, they shouldn’t be sterile. Because they are a hybrid though, you may not get them to breed true (meaning the chicks may not look exactly like the parents). As for the round egg shape, that’s more a sign of young birds and not a specific breed. Generally new layers can lay unusually shaped eggs (like round ones). As they get more experienced, the eggs should start becoming more normal egg shaped and larger.

        Reply
  5. Anne Kimball on October 22, 2012

    Hi, I’m Anne from Life on the Funny Farm (http://annesfunnyfarm.blogspot.com), and I’m visiting from the barn hop.

    Great article on the layer breeds! I have a very mixed flock, so I’m not sure what their individual egg yields are, buy my favorites are my Buff Orpingtons. So friendly and sweet! They are also a very broody breed.

    Anyway, it’s nice to “meet” you! Hope you can pop by my blog sometime to say hi…

    Reply
  6. Lisa Lynn on October 29, 2012

    Good introductory post for folks looking for a laying hen breed :) One of the things I would like to add concerning the comment about average laying abilities and starting times…if you feed higher protein and supplement feed to bring about early laying, you can also expect your hens to stop laying as many eggs earlier in their life than they otherwise would. This is great if you are going for higher production and then butchering the old layers for stew when they are no longer worth their feed. For folks who keep their old hens as pets, you may want to take the ‘slow food’ approach. I belong to the former group and all old hens that are no longer laying go in the stew pot.

    Great post…thanks for sharing! Found you on the Clever Chick hop :)

    Reply
    • Sarah on October 29, 2012

      Thanks Lisa! Nice advice and your input and perspective is very appreciated :)

      Reply
  7. abbie simmons on November 21, 2012

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    Reply
  8. Kim on April 24, 2013

    Greetings from Colorado! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to check out your website on my iphone during lunch break. I love the chicken knowledge you provide here and can’t wait to take a more thorough look when
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    Reply
  9. FG on April 24, 2013

    Hello! I could have sworn I’ve visited this chicken blog before but after browsing through many of the articles I realized it’s new to me.

    Nonetheless, I’m certainly happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back often! You’ve got a lot of great chicken related advice here that I’m sure I’ll need as I’ll be getting my chicks this spring!

    Reply

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