Best Egg Laying Chickens: 10 Beautiful & Colorful Breeds
We are going over some of the best egg laying chickens and what they have to offer, along with when they start laying, their temperament and their egg laying rate. Read on to find the answer to the question, what are the best chickens to lay eggs!
We will cover the top 10 breeds of chickens which are also the most popular breeds.
This information, along with each breed’s physical characteristics, will help in your decision-making process for finding the perfect laying hens for your flock!
Depending on what kind of land or backyard farm you have and what your long-term goals for it are, you might find yourself looking at specific kinds of animals.
If you are looking for chickens to lay eggs, you’ve come to the right place!
Plus, if you are looking for fluffy chickens or friendly birds or just want to find out more about different chicken breeds then read on so you can make the best choice of chickens for your flock!
These breeds of chickens are some of the best laying hens for your new project plus offer unique appearance.
So, grab your egg basket and find out more about these optimum egg layers!
Best Egg Laying Chickens
Chickens are at the top of the list, being a common preference among just about anyone who owns land.
There are many reasons why a person might want chickens, with the majority of people raising hens specifically for laying eggs. When looking for egg production, then you want excellent egg layers.
Depending on how many eggs you are looking to have throughout the year as well as a few other key factors, different types of hens might be right for you.
This is why we decided to write this comprehensive breakdown regarding what kinds of egg-laying chickens there are, and which kind you should add to your family.
Chickens and eggs—what a perfect combination!
Consider Your Options
The main points to keep in mind when choosing the best breeds of chicken:
- Size of Area for a Chicken Coop and Run
- Geographic Location for Heat/Cold: do you need a hardy bird for cold climates?
- Color of Eggs Desired: white eggs, light brown or brown eggs or colorful eggs
- Think about the color of feathers you like.
- Why you are keeping chickens: for fun, profit or both (this makes a difference)
- Approximate answer to the question of, “When do chickens starting laying?”
- Breed of Bird as some are much more prolific in laying eggs = higher earnings!
- Size of Birds: large breeds have a higher feed-to-egg conversion ratio as larger birds require more feed.
- Cuteness Factor – several varieties fall under the cute chicken category with top hats and feathered feet.
Every breed of chicken has something unique to offer, and many people find themselves wondering which chicken will suit their needs.
If you are looking for a chicken that can produce eggs to sell, you might want a different chicken than the one you would get to just provide eggs for your family.
The different kinds of chickens are all special in their own way, which makes them exciting to learn about. Most of the top laying chicken breeds are fairly common and not a rare breed.
As you are considering your best popular breed of chickens, make sure to take the time to learn how to properly care for chicks with these Top Tips for Raising baby chicks and this Quick Checklist for Raising Baby Chicks.
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- When Do Chickens Lay Eggs & How to Tell
- How to Wash & Store Fresh Eggs | You Will Be Surprised!
Good Egg Layers + Dual-Purpose Birds
- Rhode Island Red Chickens
- Sexlink Chickens
- Buff Orpingtons (these have fluffy feathers)
- Blue Plymouth Rock: aka Sapphire Gems
- Barred Plymouth Rock
- White Leghorn Chickens
- Australorp Chickens
- Hamburg Chickens
- Easter Egger | Araucana | Ameraucana
- Bantam Chickens
1. The Rhode Island Red Chickens
This is one chicken that people seem to love regardless of how experienced they are in their chicken-raising careers.
They are known for being incredibly durable, but they are also easy to work with.
This is one of many reasons that so many farms opt to raise this type of chicken over some of the others. Rhode Island Reds are not docile. They can be spunky and are hardy birds.
Main Characteristics of Rhode Island Reds
These delightful birds are capable of laying over 260 eggs annually. Their eggs are medium in size and a light mahogany reddish-brown in color, making them perfect for a variety of uses.
Their egg-laying average comes out to about five eggs a week, which is a solid number of eggs.
Three or four of these chickens can easily manage the egg needs of a family for the year, depending on how many eggs are used.
Rhode Island Red History
The Rhode Island Red breed was developed in Massachusetts in the middle of the 1800s. Their ancestral heritage has been linked to the Red Malay and Leghorn chicken types, giving them their distinctive color.
They ended up being the perfect design and are considered a dual purpose bird, offering both a good amount of eggs and plenty of meat to eat as well.
Choose this breed if you want a hardy heritage breed that lays well and has a good body size for a dual purpose bird with mahogany red feathers!
These Rhode Island Reds are a very solid choice for beginning poultry keepers.
Please Note: Rhode Island Reds occasionally go broody and want to sit on a nest of eggs to hatch them.
Rhode Island Reds are considered a heritage breed, which means they will reproduce chicks with similar features as the parent birds.
This information is in contrast to hybrid birds, which will not produce chicks with the same exact features as the parent stock.
Discover more about Heritage Breeds and their importance.
2. Sexlink Chickens
As far as chickens go, sexlinks are incredibly economical hybrid breeds. Not only do these feathered friends lay over 300 eggs per year, but they are also incredibly easy to raise and care for.
So, in poultry language, sexlinks have an incredibly low feed-to-egg conversion rate for their size. This ratio is the measurement of how much food it takes to produce an egg.
The lower that amount, the more economical the breed is with regard to cost.
These ISA Browns are some of the best egg laying chickens for beginners.
Sexlinks come in a variety of feather colors. The ISA Browns, also known as Lohmann Browns , are an all-time favorite. They are very similar to the hen pictured above.
However, these chickens come in a variety of colors. They have been bred to be golden, black, or even white.
Sexlinks of all colors are not heritage breeds. And, they typically do not go broody.
Various Names and Colors of Sexlinks:
- Lohmann Brown
- ISA Brown
- Black Star
- Red Star
- Black Sexlink
- Red Sexlink
- Golden Comet
- Austra White
- Sapphire Gems
- Cinnamon Chicken Breed (aka Cinnamon Queens)
These delightful chickens are known for their friendly temperament and hardiness. and are considered to be a great addition to any family.
Many people find it easy to bond with these chickens because they are so pleasant to be around and are considered to be a great addition to any family or backyard flock.
Main Characteristics of Sexlinks
Despite being smaller than Rhode Island Reds, they bring tremendous value to a household with medium to large brown eggs.
They do an excellent job of making sure that you have a pleasant time interacting with them and providing you with tasty eggs at the same time, as they are quite animated!
Their feathers are predominantly brown with white under-feathers in their tails. They are said to have a “petticoat!’
The Lohmann Brown has its origins in Germany. They were considered to be of tremendous value because they could provide plenty of eggs and have a fairly low feed-to-egg conversion ratio.
They are also known for their unusually early maturing timeframe which means this breed with begin laying eggs earlier than most other breeds!
Helpful Information: ISA Browns or Lohmann Browns, on average, have a tendency to begin laying eggs earlier than most, starting as early as fourteen weeks. This is nearly 8 or more weeks sooner than other types of chickens I highly recommend these if you are on a budget. This allow makes them one of the best brown egg layers of all time!
BLACK SEXLINK CHICKENS ARE A CROSS BETWEEN A RHODE ISLAND RED ROOSTER AND A BARRED ROCK HEN.
Black Sexlinks are similar to Red Sexlinks in that the chicks can be sexed immediately after hatching. To learn more about this, take a look at the genetics of determining chick sex by feather color.
This makes it extremely easy for hatcheries to separate the pullets from the cockerel chicks.
These are one of my favorite birds as they are docile and friendly. The hens make great pets but always watch out for the roosters of any breed of chickens.
Choose sex-links for a hardy, lively, good-tempered chicken with a high lay rate of brown eggs.
Bottom-line: these are great egg layers that lay big light brown eggs!
Sexlinks are also one of the best long term egg laying chickens due to the fact that they do not typically go broody. This is an important factor in why sex-links are one of the best egg laying chickens.
The largest sexlinks are black sexlinks and Austra Whites.
3. Buff Orpington Chickens
If you are looking for a pleasant and regal-looking chicken that will grace your farm with its presence, Buff Orpington chickens might just be for you and they are considered one of the best egg laying chickens ever!
Buff Orpingtons are soft looking as their feathers are fluffy in appearance. They are a fluffy chicken breed.
These chickens are known for being particularly friendly. They are also know for being calm the majority of the time as they have a more docile nature.
Orpingtons are a breed of chicken that will almost never give you any trouble. Their laying rate is approximately 200 to 280 eggs per year!
In addition to offering a good amount of eggs, their eggs are large and have a brown shell.
These delightful chickens are a beautiful golden color, making them some of the more physically appealing chickens on the farm!
Their appearance can sometimes be mixed with the occasional white tail feather as well, giving them a slight petticoat look.
Buff Orpingtons are a picturesque breed that has plenty to offer, particularly for those who are new to raising chickens, with their ease of raising, calm temperament, and beauty!
The Buff Orpington has its origins back in England, in the town of Orpington. It was actually said to have been developed as a cross of three existing birds, the Plymouth Rocks, Minorca, and Langshan.
However, some people believe that there were actually more birds used in the mix that would one day create this gorgeous bird.
In addition to their beautiful appearance, Orpingtons can withstand cold temperatures. They will need protection from the weather but are a hardy breed.
Their fluffy appearance actually offers protection from the cold weather.
Over the years, this chicken was much beloved by all, and though it did see a decline in popularity for some time, these chickens are back on the rise and as popular as ever!
Buffies are considered a Heritage Breed. Many heritage breeds can go broody which means they want to sit on a nest of eggs to hatch them out.
You will have to decide if you can have broody chickens on your farmstead or in your backyard flock. If you do decide to raise Orpingtons, then rest assured that they will make good mothers.
This is strictly a numbers game. Broody hens still need to eat but will not be laying as you may have to a separate nesting area for a broody hen.
Practicality of homestead living!
4. Blue Plymouth Rock Chickens: aka Sapphire Gems
This is yet another sweet chicken who will be a delightful asset to your farm.
Sapphire Gems are said to be gentle and respectful in nature, with many serving as a delightful backdrop to just about any coop that you might have.
One of the main questions is: how many eggs do Sapphire Gem chickens lay?
They are known for being resilient despite their timid nature, and even offer a wide variety of egg-laying benefits, including being one of the chickens that lay 300 eggs per year.
There seems to be some controversy with regards to the breed name and source of origin. The original Blue Plymouth Rocks are difficult to find.
These two breeds, Blue Plymouth Rocks and Sapphire Blues (blue sapphire chicken), are similar in their characteristics and rate of lay.
So, with names ranging from Blue Plymouth Rock to Sapphire Blue Plymouth Rock to Sapphire Gem to Blue Sapphire to Sapphire Blue Plymouth Rocks these chickens seem to have it all!
Find out more about why they are all the rage with chicken keepers!
Blue Plymouth Rocks or Sapphire Gems lay extra-large brown eggs that are absolutely delicious and many people believe that raising this particular breed is a fairly economic decision for the size of their eggs alone.
They are an interesting color with their feathers being an almost mottled gray that can be fascinating to look at, particularly when it is sometimes balanced with a etching of darker color on the feathers.
The Blue Plymouth Rock chicken is said to have come from Plymouth Barred Rock, as you might have guessed.
They are considered to be a hybrid sexlink from an Andalusian rooster and a Barred Rock hen.
They are good layers and can withstand hot and/or cold weather, so it can be said they are heat-cold tolerant.
You will be well pleased with these beautiful birds if you decide to raise Sapphire Gems!
5. Plymouth Barred Rock Chickens
The Barred Rock chicken dates back to the 1800s. In addition to the Blue Plymouth Rock chickens, there are a few other popular kinds of Plymouth Rock chickens.
These chickens are known for providing a delightful experience for those who raise them, as well as those who use them as meat chickens.
Barred Rocks have always been a farm favorite as one of the best chickens for meat and eggs!
This chicken is known for being one of the stronger heritage breeds of chickens around.
It is another chicken that will not give you any trouble.
Barred Rocks offer up to 250 eggs per year, with the majority of them ranging between medium and large brown eggs.
Their coloring is an interesting combination of white and brownish black that seems to change up close. They have a very distinctive pattern, with almost no solid coloring to them.
Plymouth Barred Rocks are a perfect choice for a farm or backyard flock!
6. White Leghorn Chickens
Many people will recognize these charming chickens from the cartoon experience offered by Warner Bros. with Foghorn Leghorn.
While you won’t find these chickens stomping around and adding that much comedic value as they terrorize other animals, they are known for being less docile than some of the other chicken breeds that people tend to raise.
What white leghorns chickens lack in general meekness, they more than make up for in intelligence. You will enjoy seeing just what these active chickens have to offer your farm setting.
Though they might not be the first choice for beginners, they offer upwards of 300+ extra-large white eggs per year.
Leghorns and Egg Production
This high number of eggs laid annually puts the white leghorn in the category of one of the best egg=laying chickens in the world which has made them incredibly popular.
In addition, their distinctive white feathers contrast vividly with pops of red from their large single comb.
Though these chickens existed prior to the late 1800s, this is theapproximate timeframe when they became more popular in England and The United States
Their spunky disposition, which allows for eating very little and providing an ample amount of eggs, has won them both favor and ire just about everywhere.
Leading Egg Producer Worldwide
White Leghorns were not always the most popular for eating because larger-bodied chickens exist.
But, due to their egg-laying ability, they have worked their way up and are now a leading egg producer worldwide.
The white leghorns have a multi-colored counterpart named the Brown Leghorn. These brown leghorn chickens are beautiful.
They are not as prolific as the white leghorn, but are an excellent alternative if you do not want a flock of white feathered birds.
If you are looking for a chicken that has a high feed-to-egg conversion rate, then the white leghorns are an excellent choice.
7. Australorp Chickens
As far as chickens go, few have been so wholly claimed by a country as these. The Australorp is a treasured chicken from Australia.
These glimmering black birds are a welcome addition to just about any farm scene.
Though these chickens are believed to be valued members of many people, it must be noted that they are a little more active than some of the other breeds.
Australorp chickens are prone to exploring the world around them and find joy in going on the occasional stroll.
Since they can be more active, some farmers find that they can get into trouble.
The Australorp will offer you roughly 250 to 300+ eggs per year which puts them into the category of one of the most prolific egg layers around.
Their eggs, medium to large in size and brown in color, are certainly favored by those who keep them.
You can definitely identify these chickens by their distinctive black feathers that tend to shimmer in the sunlight.
If you love black feathered chickens, then take a look at more black chickens for your flock!
These chickens have been bred in different ways throughout history, often varying from one country to the next.
They are used for both eggs and meat given they are fairly large birds. Many places around the world leverage them for both purposes making them a very popular dual-purpose breed.
This is what resulted in their popularity and excessive breeding in Australia.
Learn all about these incredible Australorp Chickens!
If you are looking for a black skin chicken, then take a look at the AYAM CEMANIS, one of the more rare chickens in the Top 8 Black Chicken Breeds.
8. Hamburg Chickens
Some chickens are known for having a little more personality, and this breed of chicken certainly takes the cake.
The Hamburg is known for being a valued breed by many people, but they are not necessarily the best for beginners.
They are a good laying chickens with beautiful feather patterns but are not as docile as something like a Buff Orpington.
While these pleasant chickens are perfect for the right family, they are much more active and aware than some of the other chicken types around.
Hamburg Chickens are good foragers. If you are looking for a chicken that will sit quietly and let the time pass, the Hamburg chicken is not for you.
Hamburgs are a Busy Breed
However, for those who don’t mind an active chicken that can fly. These particular birds are happy to offer roughly two hundred white eggs per year.
They also offer a distinctive combination of black and white feathers, often in interesting patterns. Many people find these patterns to be incredibly appealing.
Though their origin is not entirely traced, these chickens arrived in England in the 1700s. These birds were quickly favored in the country and were even bred in multiple variations with different color options.
Black and white Hamburgs have a good history and are still popular among those who don’t mind a little extra spirit in their chickens.
Hamburgs are even said to closely resemble wild chickens. They are good foragers and thus can take care of themselves. Plus, they are simply a beautiful chicken breed!
Targeted information on Hamburg Chickens
9. Easter Egger | Aracana | Ameraucana |
If you love the excitement of green, blue, and pink colored eggs, then consider these incredibly hardy and fun chickens. You can expect anywhere from 250 up to 300 eggs annually.
We have had many Aracana chickens over the years and have always loved them. In addition to colorful eggs, these chickens have a friendly nature.
Most of these chickens have the noticeable trait of having “ear muffs” on each side of their faces. These tufts are fluffy little feathers.
Easter Eggers , Araucanas, Ameraucanas and are all very thrifty and productive chickens!
- Blue Egg Layers
- Ear Tufts
- No Beards
- No Rump Feathers
- More Rare
- Available in a variety of colors (if breeding, only breed the same color to achieve similar coloration).
- Lay Only Blue Eggs
- Cheek Muffs
Easter Egger Chickens:
- Hybrid or Mixed Breed
- Ear Muffs (most of the time)
- Beards (most of the time)
- Colorful Eggshells: with blue eggs, green eggs, light green eggs and even pinkish brown
- Most Common
All hens and roosters will be unique in their feather patterns. So, the egg color and feather color are unique to each bird. So, if you love a colorful flock of hens, these may be perfect for you. What fun!
If the hatchery offers the newer breed called Amerucanas, they are very similar to the Aracanas. You cannot go wrong with adding a few of these into your flock!
These day-old chicks come in a variety of colors with some looking like little chipmunks. They are fluff balls with brown and white stripes. Lively and spunky!
The adults have multi-colored plumage.
If you like a solid colored flock, then Aracanas or Amerucanas are probably not for you.
10. And, then there are Bantams!
Little bantams are just miniature chickens! Some varieties are a whopping 1/4 the size of larger chickens. They come in many of the same feather colors as their larger counter-parts.
It is fun to be able to choose a bantam in most of the different colors especially if you are limited on coop and range area.
Bantam chickens have a similar egg-laying rate as well as an equally good feed-to-egg conversion rate. They are just smaller with smaller eggs.
Bantams are excellent options if you are really strapped for space. Take a look at this hatchery page for bantam breeds.
Take a look at Dunlap Hatchery for Bantam Chickens.
Where to Buy Chicks
To order baby chicks, Google chickens near me for local hatcheries.
But remember, even if you do not have a hatchery near you, hatcheries can ship day-old chicks to just about anywhere in the United States.
Also, look at your local farm and ranch store or feed store as they may have baby chicks or will be willing to place orders for chicks for you.
In Conclusion: Best Egg Laying Chickens:
In conclusion, having chickens can be a great way to get fresh eggs, as well as provide companionship and entertainment.
Plus, raising chickens offers you a great option of selling extra eggs to offset your own feed and egg costs!
Whether you are a beginner or experienced in raising poultry, selecting the right breed of chicken is essential to achieving maximum egg production!
These 10 egg laying breeds will give you a great place to start as a chicken keeper!
Weigh the Characteristics of Each Breed
To wrap it up, it is important to take the time to truly consider what you want from a good hen. And, then make your decision from there to find the best egg laying chickens for your family flock!
Research all breeds and narrow it down to what you want from your flock.
It will always be a good idea to do your research and make an educated decision. This way you can get the most for yourself, your new feathered friends. So, you know that you have at the best egg laying chickens!