Each farm is a careful combination of people, plants, livestock, poultry and wildlife. When it comes to living on your own farmland, everyone has their own preferences regarding the animal company that they keep. We will be covering some of the best egg laying chickens and what they have to offer along with breed information, temperament and egg laying rate.
Depending on what kind of farm you want to run and what your long-term goals for it are, you might find yourself looking at specific kinds of animals.
Consider Your Options
In fact, many people find themselves enjoying the company of many different animals, with chickens being a common preference among just about anyone who owns land. There are many reasons why a person might want chickens, but the majority of people gets hens specifically for laying eggs.
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.
The main points to keep in mind are:
- Size of Area for Chicken Coop and Run
- Geographic Location for Heat/Cold
- Color of Eggs Desired
- Color of Feathers you want to look at
- Why you are keeping chickens: for fun, profit or both (this makes a difference)
- Breed of Bird as some are much more prolific in laying eggs = higher earnings!
- Size of Birds – the larger the breed the higher the feed-to-egg conversion ratio
Popular Chicken Breeds
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.
Rhode Island Red Chickens
This is one chicken that people seem to love regardless of how experienced they are in their chicken-raising careers. These delightful beasts are known for their friendly demeanor and signature auburn and black feathers. 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 have spunk and are hardy birds.
Main Characteristics of Rhode Island Reds
These delightful birds are capable of laying around two hundred and sixty eggs annually. Their eggs are medium in size and 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, offering both a good amount of eggs and plenty of meat to eat as well.
>Choose this breed if you want a cold hardy heritage breed that lays well and has a good body size for a dual purpose bird with mahogany red feathers! 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.
Discover more about Heritage Breeds and their importance.
As far as chickens go, this is one incredibly economic hybrid breed. Not only do these feathered friends lay over three hundred eggs per year, but they are also incredibly easy to feed. They require very little input for a large amount of output, which many farmers find beneficial. So, in poultry language – sexlinks have an incredibly low feed to egg conversion rate for their size. They require a lower amount of feed in comparison to the amount of eggs received!
Sexlinks come in a variety of feather colors. The ISA Browns, also known as Lohmann Browns are an all-time favorite. But, these chickens have been bred for a golden color, black and even white. Sexlinks of all colors are not Heritage Breeds. 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
These delightful egg-laying chickens are known for their friendly temperament 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.
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 provide you with tasty eggs at the same time. Their feathers are predominantly brown with white under feathers in their tails. They are said to have a “petticoat!’
The Lohmann Brown actually originated back in Germany. They were considered to be of tremendous value because they could provide plenty of eggs and were also known for their unusually early maturing time-frame.
IMPORTANT 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.
Black Sexlink Chickens: hybrid of Rhode Island Red & Barred Rock
Black Sexlinks are very similar to the Red Sexlinks in that the chicks can be sexed upon hatching. This makes it extremely easy for hatcheries to separate the pullets from the cockrel chicks.
These are one of my favorite birds! Docile and friendly. Great egg layers of Big Brown Eggs!
Choose sex-links for cold hardy, lively, good temperament chicken with high lay rate of brown eggs. The Black sexlink and Austra Whites are the largest of the sexlinks.
Buff Orpington Chickens
If you are looking for a pleasant and regal looking chicken that will grace your farm with its presence, this breed of chicken might just be for you. These chickens are known for being particularly friendly and for remaining calm the majority of the time.
Orpingtons are a breed of chicken that will almost never give you any trouble. Their lay rate is over two hundred eggs per year! In addition to offering a good amount of eggs, their eggs are large with brown shell color, providing you with some truly delicious offerings.
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 feathers as well giving them a slight petticoat look. They are a picturesque breed that has plenty to offer, particularly for those who are new to raising chickens.
The Buff Orpington has its origin 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.
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. This is strictly a numbers game. If the hens go broody, they still need to eat but will not be laying. Practicality of homestead living!
Blue Plymouth Rock Chickens: aka Sapphire Gems
This is yet another sweet chicken who will be a delightful asset to your farm. These chickens are said to be gentle and respectful in nature, with many serving as a delightful backdrop to just about any land that you might have. They are known for being resilient despite their timid nature, and even offer a wide variety of egg-laying benefits including upwards of three hundred 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 are similar in their characteristics and rate of lay.
Blue Plymouth Rocks and/or Sapphire Gems lay an extra-large brown eggs are believed to be absolutely delicious, and many people believe that they are 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 Rock, as you might have guessed. They are considered to be a hybrid formed from the Andalusian chicken and the Barred Rock chicken. They are good layers and can withstand hot and/or cold weather
Barred Rock Chicken
This chicken, one of the two used to create the Blue Plymouth Rock chicken is known for being one of the stronger heritage breeds around. It is another chicken that will not give you any trouble. With its sweet and docile nature, you can expect to bond with these chickens and receive many great eggs from them at the same time.
They offer over two hundred eggs per year, with the majority of them ranging between medium and large brown eggs. Their coloring is interesting, with many of them being 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.
The Barred Rock chicken dates back to the 1800s and actually does come in some variety. In addition those like the Blue Plymouth Rock chickens, there are a few other popular kinds of Plymouth Rock chickens that are running around yards. These chickens are known for providing a delightful experience for those who raise them as well as those who use them for food.
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 go for.
What white leghorns 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 three hundred extra-large white eggs per year.
Leghorns and Egg Production
This high number of eggs annually puts the white leghorn into the category of one of the best egg laying chickens in the world. This has made them incredibly popular, in addition to their distinctive white feathers that contrast vividly with pops of red from their large single comb.
Though these chickens existed prior to the late 1800s, this timing is when they became more popular around England and The United States. Their disposition, which allows for eating very little and providing an ample amount of eggs, has won them both favor and ire around just about everywhere.
Leading Egg Producer Worldwide
White Leghorns have not always been the most prominent for being eaten since bigger chickens do exist, but they have worked their way up and now act as a leading egg producer around the world.
They also have a counterpart which is the Brown Leghorn. These brown leghorn chickens are beautiful. They are not as prolific as the white leghorn but are another great option.
As far as chickens go, few have been so wholly claimed by a country as these. The Australorp is a treasured chicken from Australia that many find to be a favorable addition to just about any farm scene. Though these chickens are believed to be valued members of plenty of families, 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 two hundred and fifty eggs per year which puts in them into the category of one of the best egg laying chickens around. Their eggs, medium to large in size and brown in color, are certainly favored by those who keep them. You can identify these fine feathered friends by their distinctive black feathers that tend to shimmer in the sunlight.
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 their large size, so many places around the world leverage them for both purposes when possible. Though some rely on them more for meat or egg-laying, the fact remains that these useful birds have much to offer. This is what resulted in their popularity and excessive breeding in Australia.
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 member of many a family, but they are not necessarily the best for beginners but they are some of the best egg laying chickens around!
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. 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 creatures 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, that many find 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. They have a respectable history, and are even still largely favored today for those who don’t mind a bit of 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.
Targeted information on Hamburg Chickens
Aracauna or Easter Eggers
If you love the excitement of green, blue, and pink colored eggs, then consider these incredibly hardy and fun chickens. We have had many Aracauna chickens over the years and have always loved them. These chickens have the noticeable trait of having “ear muffs” on each side of their faces. These tufts tufts are fluffy little feathers. These are very sweet chickens!
The Araucana baby chicks look like little chipmucks. They are brown and white striped fluff balls. Lively and spunky! The adults have multi-colored plummage. All hens and roosters will be unique in their feather patterns. So, the and feather color are unique to each bird. What fun!
If the hatchery offers the newer breed called Americanas, they are very similar to the Araucanas. You cannot go wrong adding a few of these into your flock!
If you like a solid colored flock, then Araucanas or Americanas are probably not for you.
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. 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.
So, bantams are an 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.
In Conclusion on the Best Egg Laying Chickens:
Finding the right chicken for your home can be an interesting process. Different breeds of chickens have different pros and cons, but the reality is that many chickens are docile and pleasant creatures that will happily provide you with a wide variety of eggs.
Weigh the Characteristics of Each Breed
So, it is important to take the time to truly consider what you want from a good hen and make your decision from there. 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 so that you can get the most for yourself, your new feathered friends so you know that you have at the best egg laying chickens!