There are many reasons to keep backyard chickens, but the most popular one is for eggs. If you want to keep chickens mainly for eggs, it’s important to select the right breed. Choosing the best chicken breeds for eggs can make a big difference in the number of eggs you get each year.
Some chicken breeds are heritage or rare breeds. They often have useful qualities such as being good mothers, very cold hardy, or doing well in hot weather. Other breeds lay blue eggs, or even have beautiful feathers. When you select breeds for these reasons, you may not get quite as many eggs. There are also dual purpose birds that can be raised for meat and eggs.
Want more chicken keeping advice? Check out Backyard Chickens: How To Have A Happy Flock to learn more about having a happy and productive backyard flock!
Here are the best chicken breeds for eggs
One of the highest egg producing chickens are Leghorns. This is the breed that most commercial farmers choose. Some might even call them the best egg laying chickens. Leghorns can lay up to 280 eggs per year.
They will do most of that laying in the first two years of life, so if you choose to raise Leghorns you may want to refresh your flock with younger birds regularly.
Leghorns are all business. They lay well and do well in small areas, but they are not particularly friendly, so if you want a multipurpose bird they aren’t your best option.
Plymouth Rocks will also lay up to 280 eggs per year. They will forage well if you free range them, and are fairly calm birds. Plymouth Rocks are very popular, especially among backyard chicken keepers.
They mostly lay in the first two years of life, so like with Leghorns, plan to refresh your flock periodically.
Rhode Island Reds
Rhode Island Reds are one of the most efficient dual purpose birds out there. They can lay up to 260 eggs per year, and they dress out well as meat birds.
Rhode Island Reds do well as free range birds, which can help keep feed costs down.
The Speckled Sussex is less well known than Leghorns, Plymouth Rocks, or Rhode Island Reds, but they are one of the most productive hens. They can lay up to 250 eggs each year.
They also do well in smaller areas, so they are a good choice for chickens kept in a pen.
The Dominique is one of my favorite chicken breeds. They are good layers, laying up to 230 eggs per year. They have a great temperament. Our Dominique would let our two year old carry her all around the chicken yard.
Dominiques are one of the oldest American breeds of chickens and they are very hardy and easy to keep. They are also on the Livestock Conservancy watch list, so you are helping heritage chicken breeds when you raise them.
Wyandottes are another of my favorite breeds. They are beautiful and friendly birds. They only lay 200 eggs per year, but they dress out well as meat birds and are good chicken mothers if you want to hatch out your own chicks.
Wyandottes were considered rare until 2016 when their numbers recovered enough. Congratulations backyard chicken keepers, you saved this heritage breed!
Other good breeds
Two runner up breeds that deserve mention are Barnvelders and Welsummers. Both breeds lay 180 eggs per year. They are hardy in cold weather, and do well in small spaces. They are friendly backyard chickens and their feed efficiency helps keep backyard costs down.
There are many reasons to keep backyard chickens, but if your main focus is the best egg laying chickens these are some great breeds to choose!
Check out Backyard Chickens: How To Have A Happy Flock for more advice on having a happy and productive backyard flock!
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Wednesday 17th of April 2019
Awesome list! Last fall I bought what was supposed to be Wyandotte chicks, but they ended up being Barred Rocks. They are sweet and friendly girls, and seem to be great egg layers, so I don't mind so much.
Saturday 26th of January 2019
A very resourceful post especially for homesteaders who love chicken keeping. I know variety of chicken breeds that are good for eggs but I have not had an experience of DOMINIQUE breed. I will definitely research more about this breed.
Thank you for sharing.
Tuesday 5th of February 2019
Glad it was useful! Dominiques are one of my favorites.