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Best Chickens for Laying Eggs

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If you’re thinking about starting a backyard flock, you need to answer some questions first. Is the primary purpose in order to get fresh eggs? Most people cite farm fresh eggs as the main reason for raising chickens. However there are also chickens for show. And some eggs are more esthetically pleasing than others. That’s how I’ve based most of my flock. But if, like most people, you want eggs, then it’s important to know the best chickens for laying eggs. Especially if you have limited space.

For the following list I’ve included backyard birds that lay between 200 and 300 eggs annually.

Leghorn

white Leghorn chicken under dining table
Photo by Catherine Sheila on Pexels.com

No “best chickens for eggs” list would be complete without including the Leghorn. And they

  • come in many varieties, but we mainly associate them with white chickens
  • are classified as dual purpose
  • lay medium to large white eggs
  • can lay ~280-300 eggs annually, beginning at 17-20 weeks old
  • are nervous and flighty
  • weigh anywhere from 4-8 lbs
  • also, if they have pea combs, they do better in cold weather than hot; however if they have single combs, they do better in hot weather rather than cold; (freezing, not just cold)
black sex link hen in a yard with coop in the distance
This is our atheist, Sunshine.

The Black Sex-link is a great bird for any backyard addition. Furthermore, they

  • are dual purpose birds
  • are hybrids created by crossing Barred Rock hens with Rhode Island Red roosters or New Hampshire Red roosters
  • lay large light brown eggs
  • are hardy in all weather; however roosters will be more vulnerable to frostbite in freezing weather with his comb and wattles
  • produce ~250 eggs annually, starting at 16-18 weeks old
  • are docile and have a friendly personality
  • weigh anywhere from 6 – 9 lbs
  • and the hens are mostly black with a little bit of brown on their chests and necks; roosters are larger, but appear more like Barred Rocks with hints of red in their feathers

Rhode Island Red

Rhode Island Red hen
Photo by Maxine Novick on Pexels.com

The Rhode Island Red is another bird that completes any “best chicken” list as well. They

  • are America’s most popular breed
  • are the most notable dual purpose bird
  • lay medium to large light brown eggs
  • weigh from 6.5 – 8.5 lbs; feathers on hens range from dark red/brown to light rust; roosters are bigger and will have darker plumage
  • produce 200 – 280 eggs annually, originating from 18 to 22 weeks
  • can be described by some as bossy; while some roosters can be aggressive
  • are on The Livestock Conservancy Watch list
  • and similar to Leghorns, if they have a rose comb, they do better in freezing weather than hot; but if they have a single comb, they fare better in the heat than freezing temperatures

Golden Comet

flock of Golden Comet hens on green field
Photo by Alexas Fotos on Pexels.com

Just like Black Sex-links, Golden Comets are hybrids, and they

  • also are dual purpose
  • lay large light brown eggs
  • weigh 4 lbs – 8 lbs
  • lay 250 -320 eggs yearly, beginning at 16-18 weeks old
  • have light, medium red brown feathers with some white; while roosters are sometimes totally white, or white with some light to dark red feathers splashed on them
  • are gentle and friendly birds
  • have a short lifespan: the cost of high production and maturing quickly cut this breed’s life compared to other breeds
  • and as with all single comb chickens, this backyard bird fares better in hotter temperatures; therefore, they’re more at risk for frostbite in freezing temps

Australorp

close up photo of black Australorp chicken
Photo by Berend de Kort on Pexels.com

This bird is very popular in Australia, where it hales from. Also, they

  • have blue, black, and white varieties, but black Australorp is the most popular color
  • are another dual purpose chicken
  • lay large light brown eggs
  • produce ~300 eggs annually, starting ~5 to 6 months old
  • are described as friendly and shy birds
  • are 6.5 – 8.5 lbs; hens and roosters are all black, but obviously, the roos are bigger with more flair
  • go broody
  • and due to their single combs, frostbite can be an issue; but they should tolerate summers

Sussex

brown and white Sussex rooster on concrete surface
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

This backyard bird is another good layer. Further, they

  • have speckled, red, and light varieties recognized by American Poultry Association, while light is the most popular; brown is also recognized in England. Some breeders have made 4 additional varieties.
  • lay medium to large tinted eggs
  • lay 200 – 250 eggs yearly, from around 20 weeks old
  • weigh 7 – 9 lbs; both the hen and rooster look similar: white bodies with black wing tips, black tail, and neck feathers have a black lacing around them. Again, roosters are bigger with longer, more flamboyant tails.
  • are dual purpose birds
  • are docile, and easy to handle
  • can go broody
  • also have a single comb, so care should be taken in freezing weather

Plymouth Rock

Plymouth Rock hen outside
This is either Dopey or Sakura.

The last dual purpose bird on the list is the Plymouth Rock, and they

  • lay light brown medium to large eggs
  • come in 7 varieties, but the most popular is barred
  • produce ~ 230 eggs annually, starting around 20 weeks
  • can go broody
  • are very calm, friendly and tolerant
  • weigh 7.5 – 9.5 lbs; and again both barred rock roosters and hens look similar, black and white patterning; however the roosters are bigger, and they appear lighter in color than the hens, more gray and white; and their tail feathers are bigger
  • also have a single comb, which is prone to frostbite

To Summarize

I’ve listed 7 backyard birds that lay between 200 and 300 eggs annually. In addition, they’re also classified as dual purpose. Therefore, if you’re interested in having your own flock of birds, you know which ones lay the most eggs. And if you have extra roosters, you could logistically use the meat for a casserole or a soup, etc.

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By KS

I breed pure Black Ameraucana chickens and Easter Eggers that are Black Ameraucana mixed with either Cuckoo Maran or Barred Rock. And I donate eggs to people or organizations in need.

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