The Best Egg Laying Chickens

The 11 Best Egg Laying Chickens: Real Homesteaders Tell All

It’s hard to figure out what are the best egg-laying chicken breeds, so look at what real homesteaders have to say!

The main reason most people raise backyard chickens is because they want a fresh supply of eggs. Nothing compares to gathering warm, fresh eggs each morning and turning them into delicious meals for your family. You do want to pick the best egg laying chickens for your flock.

Many people don’t realize that the breeds of chickens you raise will make a difference in the amount of eggs you get each day. Some chicken breeds lay more or less eggs, so if you want a productive flock, it’s smart to pick the best egg laying breeds of chickens.

Believe it or not, some breeds don’t even lay eggs, such as the Japanese Bantams or Cornish Cross. Then, other breeds, in particular hybrid breeds, can lay almost 300 eggs per year.

Let’s dive into which chicken breeds lay the most eggs.

How Many Eggs Do Chickens Lay Naturally?

How many eggs that you’ll receive from your flock does vary based on the breed selected, your location, and what you feed your flock.

In general, backyard hens can lay 250-300 eggs per year. Some breeds are more productive, and some take longer to lay eggs. That’s why it’s important to understand each chicken breed that you add to your flock to be sure it fits your needs.

There are certain factors that can decrease your egg production, such as:

  • Wintertime when there is less sunlight each day.
  • Your hen might go broody and stop producing eggs for several weeks.
  • Your flock enters their fall molting cycle.
  • An infestation of pests, such as mites, can lower production.
  • Sickness can slow or stop egg production entirely.
  • Bullying and picking can cause your hen to reduce laying.

Remember, it’s natural for your hens to slow down production in the fall and winter. While some people use lights to push their chickens to lay more eggs at this time, I do not; that’s a personal choice as a chicken owner.

We opt not to use supplemental light because my husband and I respect the natural life cycle of our chickens. Their bodies are supposed to slow down their production at this time; everyone needs a rest at some point.

Can a Chicken Lay 2 Eggs a Day?

Yes, a chicken can, theoretically, lay two eggs in one day, but it’s very rare. I’ve raised chickens for years and never experienced this.

How Long Do Chickens Lay Eggs?

Chickens that are well-fed and cared for can live for years, much longer than most people realize. That doesn’t mean that their production stays high for their entire life; it gradually decreases.

For the first year, you can expect your chickens to be at full egg production, which means they’ll produce an egg about 90% of the time.

In the second year, a hen will lay an egg 80% of the time. So, if she laid 250 eggs the first time, she might now lay 200 eggs if conditions are right.

This trend continues. By the third year, hens will be around 70% production, and a four year old hen should lay about 60% of her original production.

Most hens can lay eggs for six to seven years, and retirement comes after that. Many hens can live between eight to ten years; that’s as long as some extra-large dogs!

What Do Chickens Need to Lay Eggs?

A lot more goes into the production of eggs than you might realize. Everything has to line up right for your chickens to lay eggs.

Here is what your chickens need to lay eggs.

  • 24-36 hours between each egg laying
  • Between 12-16 hours of sunlight per day
  • 1/4 pound of complete feed each day which equals around one-half cup per day.
  • 20 grams of protein to lay one egg, along with calcium, vitamin D, fat, phosphorous.

11 Best Egg Laying Chickens

You want to make sure the chickens you raise will provide enough eggs for your family. What’s the point raising chickens for eggs if you still need to go to the grocery store for eggs?

I would rather have an abundance of eggs so that I can sell the extra eggs or give them to my neighbors. Picking the best egg-laying breeds is essential if you want to sell eggs as an income source for your homestead.

I wanted to show you what real homesteaders think about these chicken breeds, so each chicken breed has a quote from a fellow homesteading blogger. You can read about all of the chicken breeds, but what really matters is real-life experiences.

1. Australorp

The Best Docile Egg Laying Chickens

Our Australorps are family-friendly and very docile. They’re a great chicken for beginners. Australorps will lay eggs in the winter when other breeds slow down in production.

– Amber Bradshaw from My Homestead Life

Australorps are one of the friendliest, docile breeds that you can add to your flock. Each chicken can lay up to 250 eggs each per year, starting around 22-24 weeks old.

These are, without a doubt, one of the most beloved breeds by homesteaders, as you can see by the lovely statements by some fellow homesteaders.

Australorps are not only docile and sweet, they are superb egg layers. Expect an egg a day, and more productive egg laying than the typical hen during the winter months.

– Kristina Seleshanko at Proverbs Thirty One Woman

Not only are they beautiful and fantastic egg layers, australorps are a dual-purpose chicken. A mature hen can weigh between 5-7lbs with plenty of meat on their bones.

Average Eggs Per Year 250
Average Adult Weight5-7lbs
Weeks When Starting Laying22-24 Weeks

2. White Leghorns

The Best White Egg Laying Chickens

Leghorns are incredible layers and are capable of laying up to 6 large white eggs per week. However, once they’re reached the 2-3 year mark, the amount of eggs will drastically reduce. Though they are excellent layers, do not expect them to be a friendly lot as they are a skittish breed.”

– Ann Accetta-Scott from A Farm Girl in the Making

Without a doubt, white leghorns are considered best egg laying chicken breeds. White leghorns are a hardy breed that lay large, white eggs, producing around 280 eggs each year.

If you continue to provide your white leghorns with warmth, food, and water, they’ll produce continuously throughout the year. White leghorns are better as coop birds or penned; they aren’t ideal free-ranging chickens. They also handle hot weather well when compared to other breeds.

As for their personality, white leghorns are considered flighty and nervous birds. The hens typically weigh around 5lbs each and begin to lay eggs around 16 to 17 weeks old.

Average Eggs Per Year280
Average Adult Weight5lbs
Weeks When Start Laying Eggs16-17 Weeks

3. Golden Comet

The Best Brown Egg Laying Chickens

We always have Golden Comets. They are great egg-layers and lay an egg nearly every day. Their eggs are also typically jumbo in size, so it’s hard to go wrong with Golden Comets as egg layers!

– Lesa Wilke at Better Hens and Gardens

Golden Comet chickens are an all-around great chicken breed. They’re a cold-weather bird that produces between 250-300 brown eggs per year.

In ideal situations, your golden comet chickens would be able to free-range; that’s their preference. They also do well with other breeds, so they make a nice addition to an established flock.

Another reason you might want to raise golden comet chickens is that they make great pets. These aren’t broody birds, and they are known for being quiet, gentle, and friendly. You can expect these hens to start laying eggs around 15 weeks old and weigh between 5-7lbs.

Average Eggs Per Year250-300
Average Adult Weight5-7lbs
Weeks When Start Laying Eggs15-16 Weeks

4. Rhode Island Red

The Best Egg Laying Chickens for Beginners

“Our Rhode Island Reds produced steadily throughout the year and foraged efficiently. They spent most of their time in the woods and preferred not to be handled as much as other breeds.”

– Bethany at Family Growing Pains

One of the first chicken breeds I added to our flock was Rhode Island Reds. I honestly didn’t know much about them, but they were available at our local farm and fleet store. What I found is that these chickens produce a lot of eggs.

These chickens lay around 260 eggs per year, and they’re excellent foragers. You can either pen them up or raise them as free-ranging birds. If you do want to keep them in a coop, you’ll need to provide foraging materials for them.

Rhode Island Reds tend to be the boss of the flock, and they can be rough with other breeds unless they have ample space. So, if you can’t free-range them, it’s best to keep them separate. I discovered that they don’t like to be handled, and the roosters can be rather angry and aggressive.

You can expect the chickens to weigh around 6.5 pounds, and they start laying between 18-24 weeks old.

Average Eggs Per Year260
Average Adult Weight6.5-7.5lbs
Weeks When Start Laying Eggs18-24 Weeks

5. Ameraucana

The Best Blue Egg Laying Chickens

I love my Ameraucanas for their beautiful blue-green eggs. They’re also relatively prolific layers, but they do slow down more than others in the cold weather. They can be skittish and not always friendly. Our oldest hen, Granny, is a cream Ameraucana, and is now about nine years old!

– Heidi Villegas from Healing Harvest Homestead

Do you want a fun bird that lays multicolored eggs? Then, you should give the Ameraucana breed a try.

Note: Easter Eggers and Ameraucanas are NOT the same breeds. Easter Eggers are a hybrid breed, but Ameraucanas are purebred chickens.

I’m a huge fan of Ameraucanas, and I always have a few of these birds in my flock. Not only are they docile and friendly, but who doesn’t love light blue eggs in their basket? They can be a bit skittish if you don’t handle them frequently.

Ameraucanas produces around 250 eggs per year, but they can also be a broody hen. Broodiness can decrease egg production. Downsides to raising this breed are that the adult hens typically only weigh 4.5 pounds and they won’t start laying eggs until 25 to 30 weeks old.

Average Eggs Per Year 250
Average Adult Weight4.5 to 5.5lbs
Weeks When Starting Laying Eggs25-30 Weeks

6. Golden Laced Wyandottes

The Best Large Egg Laying Chickens

They are beautiful birds with golden and black laced feathers. They lay nicely sized, brown eggs. We typically get an egg per day or every other day from our hens. I love that they are nicely sized birds and don’t slow down much in the winter months. We love our Golden Laced Wyandottes for showing, laying, and to beautify our flock.

– Amber Stephens from Live Life Homeschool

Both Silver and Golden Laced Wyandottes are excellent choices for egg laying chickens, but the Golden Laced typically wins out. Their eggs are large – some of the largest out of all chicken breeds. Not only do customers love huge eggs, but they’ll fill your family’s egg needs.

Golden Laced Wyandottes are consider calm, gentle birds with docile personalities. An added bonus is that they’re simply beautiful to look at in your flock. Plus, these birds are excellent foragers.

You can expect Golden Laced Wyandottes to lay around 200 eggs per year, starting around 18-20 weeks old. An average hen weighs close to 6lbs, so they’re plump birds.

Average Eggs Per Year200
Average Adult Weight6-7lbs
Weeks When Start Laying Eggs18-20 Weeks

7. Hamburgs

The Best Egg Laying Heritage Chickens

Hamburgs are good layers of small eggs. They’ll hide them, though. They’re pretty flighty and not particularly friendly, but get along with other flock members.

– Danielle McCoy from The Rustic Elk

Hamburgs originate from Germany, and they’re one of the most beautiful, unique chicken breeds that you can find. Their feathers look like the fur of a Dalmatians; they have white feathers with black spots. You can find other variations as well, such as black with gold.

Hamburgs typically lay around 200 small, white eggs per year. However, they can take up to 20-30 weeks to lay their first egg. Their beauty might be worth the wait for you!

One thing to note is that this isn’t a breed to select if you cannot free-range. They don’t like to be confined in small spaces; they tend to get aggressive with their fellow flock members if stuck together.

Average Eggs Per Year200
Average Adult Weight4lbs
Weeks When Start Laying Eggs20-30 Weeks

8. Barred Plymouth Rock

Best Cold Hardy Egg Laying Chickens

I’ve always had a few Barred Rocks in my flock. These are dependable chickens, laying eggs steadily throughout the year. I’ve found that they are friendly around my kids and are great foragers. You can’t go wrong by adding a few of these to your flock.

– Bethany Hayes at Family Growing Pains

Without a doubt, Barred Rocks are some of the friendliest chickens, while also being some of the cold hardiest chicken breeds. We’ve always had a few of these in our flock, and they do exceptionally well around our children.

Barred Plymouth Rocks are great at foraging, and they integrate well into flocks. I’ve never had issues with an aggressive Barred Rock in my flock before. That’s a huge plus.

Barred Rocks typically lay around 280 eggs per year, varying from peach to light brown. Hens weigh around 6.5 pounds, and they start to lay eggs around 18-20 weeks.

Average Eggs Per Year280
Average Adult Weight6.5lbs
Weeks When Start Laying Eggs18-20 Weeks

9. Buff Orpington

The Best Egg Laying Chickens for Hot Climates

Buff Orpingtons are one of my favorite breeds to raise. They lay consistently and plentifully, plus they’re SUPER friendly and sweet birds. They’re excellent with children.

– Heidi Villegas at Healing Harvest Homestead

If you’re looking for chickens with an adorable fluffy butt, Buff Orpingtons have to be on your list. They’re big birds that adapt to different climates well, and they work great as pets because they don’t mind being handled (in most circumstances).

Buffs are great cold and heat hardy chicken breeds. Despite being larger, they do well in most climates.

Buff Orpingtons don’t lay as many eggs as other breeds, typically between 150-200 eggs per year. However, they’re consistent and Buffs are one breed that handles being confined well. So, if you can’t free-range your birds, adding a few of these is a great idea.

Hens tend to weigh around 6-8lbs and begin to produce eggs between 19-24 weeks old.

Average Eggs Per Year150-200
Average Adult Weight6-8lbs
Weeks When Starting Laying Eggs19-24 Weeks

10. Speckled Sussex

The Best Egg Laying and Meat Chickens

We raise both Buff Orpingtons and Speckled Sussex. Both of these breeds are great layers of large, brown eggs. Both are friendly, but our Speckled Sussex tend to be more calm and friendly.

– Kristin Duke at Mr. Animal Farm

Speckled Sussex tend to be a forgotten choice for those looking for good egg laying chickens, but this dual purpose bird really does it all while looking gorgeous.

These can be large birds – the females can weigh up to 8lbs each! However, despite their size, they don’t need too much room, and they don’t mind being confined.

Speckled Sussex can lay between 250-300 eggs per year, making them one of the most productive chicken breeds available. They start to lay eggs around 18-20 weeks old.

The only thing you should watch out for is aggression towards them from other chickens. These birds have the sweetest personality, so kind and gentle, but that can often cause other birds to target them. Don’t mix them with aggressive breeds.

Average Eggs Per Year250-300
Average Adult Weight7-8lbs
Weeks When Start Laying Eggs18-20 Weeks

The Best Hybrid Egg Laying Chickens

We’ve kept black sexlinks for years and just love them! They are docile chickens with a great temperament as well as being extremely hardy. They weigh more so they’re also the perfect dual-purpose bird. Black Sexlinks is a fantastic choice if you want a hardy, lively, good-natured chicken that lays a lot of big brown eggs!

– Cathy Liesenfeld at Original Homesteading

Black Sexlinks are considered a hybrid bird because they are a cross between two standard breeds – Barred Rock and Rhode Island Reds. They might not be recognized by some poultry associations, but that doesn’t stop homesteaders from loving these breeds.

While most people raise black sexlinks for eggs, they do put on the weight, typically weighing between 6-8lbs at adult age, so they can be a dual purpose bird. You can expect around 300 eggs per year, starting around 16-20 weeks old.

These are active birds known for being hardy and capable of handling cold weather. Their personalities will depend; most say that they are friendly birds, but some have experienced aggressive behaviors.

Overall, if you don’t mind a hybrid chicken, black sexlinks are a fantastic choice.

FAQs about Egg-Laying Breeds

What Are The Best White Egg Laying Chickens Breeds?

From the breeds I listed above, White Leghorns and Hamburgs lay white eggs.

Those are the only chicken breeds that lay white eggs. A few more that you could add to your flock include:

  • Ancona
  • Minorca
  • Campines
  • Lakenvelder
  • Dorkings

What Are The Best Brown Egg Laying Chickens?

From the breeds listed above, Rhode Island Red, Australorps, Golden Comets, Speckled Sussex, Orpingtons, and Wyandottes lay brown eggs.

If you want a few other brown egg laying chicken breeds, consider these chickens:

  • Barnevelder
  • Delaware
  • Faverolles
  • New Hampshire Reds
  • Brahma
  • Dominique

What Are The Best Blue Egg Laying Chickens?

From the selection above, only Ameraucanas lay blue eggs.

It’s not common for chickens to lay blue eggs, so the only other two breeds that will lay blue eggs include:

  • Easter Egger
  • Araucana

Start Raising Chickens for Eggs

Adding chickens to your homestead is joyous for many reasons. Not only do they help produce food for your family, but they bring life and laughter to your homestead. Seriously – chickens can be hilarious to watch.

You want your chickens to lay eggs for your family, so be sure to include a few of the best egg laying chickens to your flock. That way, you always know that your family will have fresh eggs to eat.

What chicken breed has laid the most eggs for you?

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  1. I am starting new in Southern Kansas, and just wanting to no the best egg laying and meat for eating chickens to get,ty

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