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Top 10 Chicken Breeds That Will Give You up to 300 Eggs per Year

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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.

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The 10 Best Eggers

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

Temprament

Nervous, Flighty

Weight (female)

5 lbs

Start laying at

16-17 weeks old

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2. Rhode Island Red

Photo by sammydavisdog

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

Temprament

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

Temprament

Gentle, Quiet

Weight (female)

5-7.5 lbs

Start laying at

15 weeks old

4. Ameraucana

Photo by Scratchcraddle

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

Temprament

Broody

Weight (female)

4.5-5.5 lbs

Start laying at

25-30 weeks old

5. Barred Plymouth Rock

If you have kids and want one of the sweetest and most friendly egg laying chickens that there is, the Barred Plymouth Rock can't be beat.

They are terrific foragers, so they make great free range chickens, and they are fairly prolific egg layers, so you'll always have fresh light brown or peachy colored eggs for the table. Best of all, they integrate well into other flocks of birds, and they are big, so you won't readily lose them.

Egg production (annual)

280

Temprament

Calm

Weight (female)

6.5 lbs

Start laying at

18-22 weeks old

6. Golden Laced Wyandottes

These big birds will give you a good egg layers, but the large size will also be good for the pot, if need be.

They are gentle, calm and are terrific foragers, which means they are some of the best chickens for free range. The extremely beautifully colorful chickens are a sight that few can resist, and they tend to be broody, so if you allow a clutch of eggs to hatch for a sustainable flock, the hen will do a good job with the chicks.

Egg production (annual)

200

Temprament

Docile

Weight (female)

6 lbs

Start laying at

18-20 weeks old

7. New Hampshire Red

If you want a do-it-all chicken, then consider a New Hampshire Red.

They are not as prolific egg layers as some breeds, but they'll still produce around 200 eggs per year. But if you are looking for an egg layer that is one of the tastier chickens for the pot, there are few better than these. They are also cold hardy and broody, and the hens make excellent mothers. The roosters may become disagreeable to one another, if there aren't enough hens around.

That said, if you want a sustaining flock of both egg laying and meat chickens, this type should be first on your list.

Egg production (annual)

200

Temprament

Competitive, Aggresive

Weight (female)

6.5 lbs

Start laying at

18-21 weeks old

8. Buff Orpington

Photo by Ellas Gayles

What's not to like about a Buff Orpington? These are big and beautiful birds that actually make great pets.

Granted, they are only capable of laying about 150 eggs per year, but if you have kids, or if you are actively interested in a chicken more for its docile nature, this is a wonderful choice. They are best in a confined setting, like a penned in area or a coup, but under the right circumstances, they also make good free range birds.

However, their coats are fluffy and retain moisture, so they will always need a place of shelter, and they don't fly very well, so if they are free ranged, predators might become an issue.

Egg production (annual)

150-200

Temprament

Friendly, Easily handled

Weight (female)

6-8 lbs

Start laying at

19-24 weeks old

9. Australorp

Photo by Bodlina

Australorp is one of the human-friendliest chicken breeds, they lay fairly amount of eggs, they have quite a lot of meat, and their color is just gorgeous. ​If you're a total beginner, Australorp might be the best choice for you.

​One thing, though, Australorp is not the easiest to raise with other breeds. They tend to bully the others and sometimes eat their eggs.

Egg production (annual)

250

Temprament

Hardy

Weight (female)

5-7 lbs

Start laying at

22-24 weeks old

10. Speckled Sussex

​One of the heaviest layers, not only because they lay more than 250 eggs per year but also because the females weight almost 8 lbs in average. However, contrast to their size, Sussex doesn't need big spaces.

​Be careful when raising Sussex with other breeds. They're usually the target of bullies.

Egg production (annual)

250-300

Temprament

Docile, Curious

Weight (female)

7-8 lbs

Start laying at

16-20 weeks old

Other things to consider

Although the listed chickens here are some of the most popular and best egg layers of them all, you'll have to determine which kind suits your own personal needs.

Consider the available land space, how much you want to care for them, a little or a lot, their overall disposition and what you are going to do with all of those eggs!

1. Needed Space

In virtually any backyard, unless perhaps in the heart of the city, a chicken coup can be erected where the chickens can be housed.

There should be a little bit of a yard area outside where the chickens can stretch their legs, and this may be a good area for feeding and watering. If properly insulated, this can be a year round chicken house.

Pens are a great way to keep you chickens outdoors yet give them ample space to move around. You can make either a permanent pen, with a small indoor shelter in which to roost or lay eggs, or have a movable pen that can be picked up and moved from place to place. Movable pens allow constant foraging in different areas and fresh greens.

You'll need a little more space than a city back yard, but a suburban yard or a small farm would work well.

Free range can be a very large penned in area, perhaps an acre or more, or as the name implies, free range anywhere around your property. This works best on farms that have several acres of land on which the chickens can roam.

It is thought, by many, that the best chickens and the tastiest eggs are produced by free range birds, and as long as they have a shelter for the night, you can have free ranging chickens that will survive and flourish.

​Here are some other articles you might want to read about raising chickens:

2. Other Characteristics

Raising chickens just for eggs is a very practical way to have your yolk and eat them too. And if that's all you want to do, there is certainly no problem with that.

But, there are other characteristics that may also come into play, and they at least deserve to be mentioned in the same breath. They are birds that are broody, birds that forage well, types that are excellent layers, and from a purely sustenance standpoint, birds that are big enough to make them worth-while eating.

Consider that birds which brood well will keep your flock healthy and populated.

Chickens that are excellent foragers make the best free range types, and those that are hardy egg layers will always keep you in eggs. And when it comes time to put some meat on the table, a larger chicken would be your best option here.

Although the emphasis of this article is on egg layers, which is the greatest priority here, other characteristics, like foraging or brooding, may also be of special interest.

You just finished reading chapter 2 of The Ultimate Guide to Raising Backyard Chickens. Click the link to read more chapters in this series.
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Comments:

  1. Good article! I also have silver laced wyndottes and Rhode Island reds! Love them all, and I average between 5-6 eggs a week from each hen ?

  2. Informative article. We have 6 golden comets. These girls are very funny. They “talk” to me in the morning and run to me when I get home from work! Yes, they’re spoiled – asking for sprouted wheat grass, which is apparently crack for hens. The girls lay very well, but went on a brief production strike after my Golden Retriever frightened them a bit. It was a misunderstanding.??

  3. Definitely agree with this article. Although I will say my golden comets have laid an egg everyday. I also have black astralorps, easter eggers, Rhode Island reds and easter eggers. It took a few months but they have all integrated well together Nd I gave averaged 20 to 24 eggs a day out of 26 layers and the was during the winter months when half of them became laying age. I love them all. They make me laugh everyday.

  4. I have Buffs and sillies right now. I have Silver laces Wyandotte and more Buffs coming. I love how they all follow me around and several I tore around. Really want some Blue laces red wyandottes

  5. My favorite chicken right now is a big Rooster so friendly he’s comical! He’s named Big Bubba. He’s called a Red Rock, half Rhode Island Red and half Cornish Rock! If you want a pet he’s first class and he’s BIG, like the size of a small turkey!!

  6. perfect information and learn something as well I want to start my egg laying house so I like to know exactly what type of egg lay chicken is best.

  7. I have 2 Rhode Island 1. Buff Orpinton.1 Barred Rock.2 Red star they are so beatiful and yes they all lay nice and rich eggs.

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