Best Egg Laying Chicken Breeds (Video)


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Categories: On The Farm

There are over 200 recognized breeds of chicken around the World but not all hens are equal in their laying ability so if you would like chickens for eggs, look at my top 10 laying hens below first. It is commonly accepted that all chickens descended from the Jungle Fowl. Pure breeds of chicken have been developed over many hundreds, even thousands of years from the Jungle Fowl (although science is still challenged by the Auraucana that lays blue eggs).

A Little History of Laying Hens

Before the First World War, ducks were the better egg layers and chicken breeds that layed 100 eggs or more per year were considered good layers. Most of the development of pure bred laying hens came after the Second World War when there were many laying trials and tests and it was common for breeders to ‘trap nest’ hens to record their individual output so that they could be used to produce further generations of laying hens.

The developments with pure breeds were soon to be followed by hybrid (a cross of pure breeds) laying hens. There were millions of pounds spent during the 1950’s on creating hybrids that were not only capable of laying more eggs but also had a good feed conversion. These days, the parent flocks that create these hybrids are themselves a breed of their own that are selected for production rather than their looks.

Duck eggs could have been on our breakfast table rather than chickens eggs… but they did not do well kept in confined conditions like chickens.

The age old question will always be, "What came first, the chicken or the egg?" But as we all know, it was the homesteader who came first because they raised the chickens from the eggs.

The other age old question is, which chickens are the best types for egg production in your backyard, whether that means free range, penned, or in a coup.

Of course, everyone has their favorites, and that can't be denied when it comes to egg laying chickens. But by and large, any list of heavy egg layers are going to include these 5 types of chickens. You can pick and choose, but be aware that some birds may not get along with other breeds. 

1. White Leghorns

This hardy breed lays large white eggs, and you can count on around 280 per year, as long as they have enough food, water and heat.

Although they make a better coup or penned bird than a free range, during the summer when the temps are up and the forage is readily available, they will also make a fine free range chicken too.

One thing about White Leghorn, they chicken out easily (pun intended).

  

Egg production (annual)

280

Temperament

Nervous, Flighty

Weight (female)

5 lbs

Start laying at

16-17 weeks old

   

2. Rhode Island Red

Easy to care for, they will produce around 260 eggs per year.

They are some of the best foragers, so they make excellent free range birds and penned chickens too, as long as you keep moving the pen around for ample forage.

Although hardy, they can sometimes become bossy, especially with other smaller sized chickens, so keeping them separate will always be the best plan of action here.

  

Egg production (annual)

260

Temperament

Hardy

Weight (female)

6.5 lbs

Start laying at

18-24 weeks old

   

3. Golden Comet

This is one of the best cold hardy free range birds, and they will lay between 250 to 300 eggs per year.

The eggs are brown colored, and if you like brown eggs, a Golden Comet should be first on your list. They tolerate other birds well, make great pets because of their overall easy going disposition, but are not particularly broody.

  

Egg production (annual)

250-300

Temperament

Gentle, Quiet

Weight (female)

5-7.5 lbs

Start laying at

15 weeks old

   

4. Ameraucana

These maybe the most fun birds to have when laying eggs.

Popularly known as the "Easter Egg Chicken," these birds lay multicolored eggs that are as delicious as they are colorful. They tolerate all climates and do well either penned or in coups. One thing to note.

Among this breed is the "crossed beak" genetic disorder that will affect about 1 in 100 chicks.

  

Egg production (annual)

250

Temperament

Broody

Weight (female)

4.5-5.5 lbs

Start laying at

25-30 weeks old

   
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