In this article we will present you with the 10 best egg laying chickens.
These hens will be of a variety of nature's best and producing a nice amount of eggs.
They will range from very friendly to those who just don’t like to be bothered at all.
You will find the traditional breeds here along with some of the hybrids also!
Let us help you determine the best breed for your backyard or homestead.
One of the major reasons for raising chickens is their ability to lay eggs.
However, it isn't common knowledge among beginners that the chicken breed you opt for can have a huge outcome on the number of eggs you can receive daily.
Hence, going for the best breeds is vital for chicken farmers that desire lots of fresh eggs on a consistent basis.
Below is a list of what we consider the 10 best egg laying chickens.
Best Egg Laying Chickens
The top 10
Originally originating from Delaware in the United States in the 1940s.
This bird serves a dual purpose as an egg producer and as rapid growers.
Delaware is a mix of the New Hampshire and the Rock Barred Plymouth Rooster.
Characteristics of the Delaware Breed
Amount of Eggs - In the first year, they produce eggs numbering from 200 -280.
Bird Color - They have white plumage with black feathers on their tail tips as well as on their necks.
Egg color - Brown
Behavior - This breed is generally quite friendly but can get aggressive sometimes, and can give off an attitude.
The Delaware breed is also very bossy and noisy alongside their flock.
They are great foragers and make excellent pest controllers against flies, ants, and bugs.
A lot of people have varying reviews about this breed, due to how prone they are to egg eating.
They are either deeply loved or not, the feeling towards them is rarely neutral.
9. Light Sussex
The Light Sussex is a breed with origins as old as it gets.
They date back to the Roman era.
These birds are great prolific layers and provide meaty carcass when slaughtered.
This Is why they remained very popular as table birds over the years.
Characteristics of the Light Sussex
Amount of Eggs - Usually 260 in the first year
Bird Color - They are of various colors silver, brown, speckled, red and buff but are majorly white with speckles around the neck.
Egg Color - Between light brown and cream
Dual Purpose: They lay lots of eggs and dress out well for the table also.
Behavior - These birds are flighty sometimes which requires the clipping of their wings, however, it's in rare cases.
They also have excellent temperament and are great foragers.
You will certainly find a lot of people who love this breed, as they are wonderful layers and great mothers as well.
8. The Hybrid Hen ( Bovan Nera )
Bovan Nera or better known as the Hybrid Hen here in the states, comes from Scotland and it is the mix of the Red Rhode Island strain and Rock Barred Plymouth.
They lay very large eggs which weigh an estimated 72 grams (2.5lb).
They are very dependable in the winter also!
Characteristics of the Hybrid Hen
Amount of Eggs - In their first year 270 eggs
Bird Color - The plumage of the hen is a green tint mixed with pure black and a reddish throat.
Egg Color - Tinted pale brown eggs, similar to the typical supermarket eggs color,
Behavior - This breed is quite tough and can fend for themselves against other birds and produces eggs all year round.
7. Sexlink Chickens
Sex link chickens produce eggs up to 300 annually based on the variety ( Strain type).
These chickens are called Sexlink because when they are born, the males have a different color than the females which makes sexing of the breed early very possible.
Sexting a chicken: Determining which sex a chicken is in the first few days after birth.
In most cases, you have to look under the wing tips to determine which sex the baby chick is.
Characteristics of the Sexlink Chicken
Amount of Eggs - Depends on the strain type however it is usually up to 300 eggs annually.
Bird Color - Varies, as both females and males have different colors from birth.
Egg Color - The color of the egg is dependent on the Sexlink Strain color.
Behavior - Typically, this chicken is quite friendly, however, they are very noisy.
Like most hybrids, in order to obtain the best results, you would need to feed them chicken feed of high quality.
If they have to forage for what to eat, their performance won't be optimum. Another great thing is they don't go broody.
6. White and Grey California
The strains of chicken from California are hybrids.
They tend to have rapid growth and lay lots of eggs.
In California, they remain the dominant breed of chickens.
These birds are a mix of the grey California rooster known as the production black and the Leghorn White hen.
Characteristics of the White and Grey Californias
Amount of Eggs - They produce 300 eggs in the first year
Bird color - They are a mixture of white and grey
Egg color - Eggs are white and large
Behavior - These breeds are very quiet and go grey in cold climates and are quite easy to raise as well as being great layers.
5. Hybrid Hen (Speckled)
A Maran and Red Rhode Island hybrid, the Speckledy has a very similar appeared to the Maran.
However, the build of this breed is slightly smaller and the color is much lighter.
They are wonderful egg producers but see a decrease in egg production after the first year.
The egg production after the first year is something that you need to take into consideration with the hen.
Characteristics of the Hybrid Hen (Speckled)
Amount of Eggs - Produces 300 eggs initially then the number decreases.
Bird Color - Light colored
Egg Color - Darkish brown eggs
Behavior - These are very accommodating birds and excellent for people who are just starting out raising chickens. Like most hybrids, you won't be lacking in eggs choosing to raise them.
The Leghorn is among the most popular breeds of chickens available.
Originally originating from Tuscany in Italy, from which in the 1830s they were exported.
A lot of their commercial breeding and development was carried out in the United States in the 1870s and then sent to other countries.
A lot of the contemporary hybrid hens were birthed from them.
The Brown Chicken in the picture above is the Brown Leghorn.
The photo of the white chicken below is the White Leghorn!
Characteristics of the Leghorn
Amount of Eggs - From 250 - 300 eggs in the first year
Bird Color - The Leghorn comes in different colors, mottled, red, brown buff. Silver, cuckoo with the most common being white.
Egg color - White
Behavior - This breed is a very flighty bird that produces a poor meat carcass when slaughtered.
They do not go broody and are very prolific layers.
Leghorn chicks mature quickly and are simple to raise.
Typically, the breed is tough and can handle the winter seasons well, nevertheless, they have a large comb which makes them prone to experiencing frostbite.
Leghorns deal with being confined well, however, they give optimum performance when kept in free-range or allowed to roam, it is a great forager.
These birds are quite noisy, bright and alert.
3. Amber Star
This smallish hybrid hen is also a Rhode Island breed mix.
They look quite disheveled due to their soft features.
These chickens can be made into pets very easily.
We love this look though.
Characteristics of the Amber Star
Amount of Eggs - About 320 in the first year
Bird color - Ginger brown flecks with champagne colored feathering. Some hens, however, do not have flecks.
Egg color - light brown
Behavior - They have an excellent personality and can be tamed quite quickly.
The Amber Stars lay relentlessly and are great starter chickens.
It can be determined pretty quickly after they start laying that you will not have a lot of days without getting eggs.
These birds are great for children as well because they have a docile friendly nature.
2. Golden Comet
This hybrid chicken starts the production of eggs very early and matures fast.
The Golden Comet comes from the USA and is the mix of the NH Rooster and the White Rock.
Their offspring have a variety of colors because they are sex links.
This is the breed my In-Laws own and they are wonderful layers and friendly.
Characteristics of the Golden Comet
Amount of Eggs - In the first year 250 to 320
Bird Color - Reddish buff
Egg Color - Mostly brown
Behavior - This is a very friendly chicken that's very placid and lays brown eggs effectively.
They handle confinement pleasantly but produce better results when left to roam.
Just like most hybrids, they do not go broody often.
Generally, this breed is great to raise and an excellent beginners choice.
Goldline is certainly among the best egg laying chickens and deserves the number one spot.
They lay a massive number of eggs in the initial 3 - 4 years.
In their first year, you can expect up to 320 eggs from them.
Originally they were created utilizing the cross of Light Sussex and Cockerel from Rhode Island.
They are more popular in the United Kingdom, unlike in the United States. This is because in the USA the demand for white eggs is higher hence the Leghorn is more common for commercial purposes.
A lot of commercial egg manufacturers have produced individual versions of this hybrid having genetics which are similar. Examples are the warrens and ISA Brown.
Characteristics of the Goldine
Amount of Eggs - 320 eggs in the first year
Bird Color - goldish in color
Egg color - brown
Behavior - The quality and amount of eggs by this breed deteriorate as they age.
The Goldline hens lay relentlessly and usually have burnouts.
This is among the reason most hybrid chickens are placed after a year in commercial farms.
After this period, they experience suboptimal eggs laying hence it's better to have them replaced with young chicks.
Due to this hen having a great food to egg ratio, which means you will have more eggs in relation to the daily chicken feed ration.
They should be fed a lot of calcium as well as the chicken pellet, and a mixture of various foodstuffs - such as vegetables, table scraps, and fruit pieces.
This breed is excellent for laying in cold winters and are suited perfectly for this purpose.
When feeding chickens table scraps, it is vital to know which ones are healthy and which ones are not.
Some table scraps can be very toxic to your hens and can cause sickness and even death if fed too much of the wrong kind.
Be sure to read our article on Feeding Chickens Table Scraps for this information.
What breed of chickens should you raise if you are searching for the best egg laying chickens? Hybrid hens are the obvious answer.
When it relates to meat and eggs there is no comparison to hybrid hens.
For years, millions have been spent in their production. They also require less input with regards to meat or eggs in comparison to the typical traditional breeds.
It may be harder for you to obtain these hybrids depending on where you live.
We always recommend you to go to your local Farmers or Farmers Market and get a close up look at the chickens you are planning to raise.
You local Chamber of Commerce or Department of Agriculture should be able to give you pertinent information on how to find these farms or markets.
Bantams or Banty Chickens
I know this article has been about the 10 best egg laying chickens but if you want a little flair to add to your flock, you might want to consider this next chicken.
The Banty or Bantam Chicken is one of those chickens who like to look majestic as it struts around with it head held high and it's breast held out forward!
The chickens below are Dutch Bantam's and boy are they pretty!
This is not one of the top 10 but it does lay around 150 eggs a year and they are smaller than the average egg.
The Bantam is about half the size of a standard breed chicken.
They are one of my favorites as far as having around to watch and enjoy! They are not fearful of other birds and hold their own very well for their size, hence, the term, Mad as a Banty Rooster or Hen.
My parents and grandmother raised this type of chicken when I was a small child along with the Leghorn, Golden Comet and a couple of the hybrids.
The Basics - Some Things To Consider
1. Space. How much space you will need will depend on how many chickens you intend to keep. Remember, it is important to provide adequate space so they can flourish and lay plenty of those wonderful fresh eggs!
2. Shelter. The Chicken Coop or House you purchase is of utmost importance as this will determine how your flock will fair in the winter months. Heat and shelter to protect against the elements and predators is a must if you are going to own chickens.
3. Feed. What you feed you chicken is very important! There are feeds good for them and feeds that are bad for them. Some treats are recommended while others are not. Read this article, What to Feed Chickens.
4. Egg Production. Are you raising to feed yourself or sell your Farm Fresh Eggs? If selling, you will need to know the basics of selling fresh eggs. Read our Farm Fresh Eggs Article.
5. Nesting Boxes. When you pick out a Chicken Coop or Chicken House, you will need to provide Nesting Boxes for them to lay those fresh eggs in! How many do you need? Read the article below on, How to take care of Chickens on the Farm and Home.
6. Heating for winter. If you live in a cold climate, you may need to provide heat in your coop for the winter months.
7. Fencing. This will be very important. Depending on where you live it may be necessary to upgrade from regular chicken wire to the heavier reinforced wire.
If you live in a n area with large predators who can dig under the fence it is important to bury it also! you will need netting over the run to keep hawks out if they are in your area.
It is also possible you may want to use Electric Fencing for your chickens and this can also help keep predators away from your flock!
There is a a lot to consider and think about after choosing your best egg laying chickens. Of course, you may not need everything mentioned but it is a good idea to read and get some knowledge of what you may need to purchase. We have lots of books, and articles on chickens so be sure to check out the rest of them on the web site.
Be sure to read our article on How to take care of Chickens on the Farm or at Home for a lot of information on the above Basics list.