Top 13 best egg laying chicken breeds

By | 8 March 2018

best egg laying chicken breeds

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has indicated that in 2015 the value of world egg production was 55 billion dollars and the production of eggs reached 70.4 million metric tons.

Before World War II, the largest egg production was obtained from small farms that had around 400 chickens, but today in the big American egg-producing states, chicken farms have reached 100,000 and even 1 million chickens in some cases. However, considering that the demand for eggs produced in smaller chicken farms has been increasing, because of the concern regarding health and safety conditions in bigger farms, the egg-producing industry has become very enticing for small businesses.

Chickens are usually grown for meat or for eggs and each chicken farm should consider its business purpose – producing eggs, growing chickens for the meat industry or having a mixed farm, with both eggs laying chickens and chickens that are more suitable for meat processing. As far as the most productive egg laying chickens goes, these are the best chicken breeds for this purpose.

1. Australorp chicken breed

This breed originating in Australia was obtained in 1920, with deep roots in the Orpington breed. The name of this breed was given by the name of the Orpington breed “Austral Orpington Club”.

It’s a chicken breed specializing in egg production, is considered a true champion, because one hen from this breed laid 364 eggs in 365 days. The Australorp breed is found in three varieties of colors: blue, white and black.

The Australorp chickens are very active, having a rapid growth rate, starting to lay eggs since the 5th month. They are suitable for growing in a sheltered enclosure, but they provide a higher egg production if they can walk freely in an open space. These chickens are not good at flying, making it possible to grow them in an open space, not requiring high shelter. Hens of this breed are quite resistant, easily passing over cold winters, without affecting their egg laying rate.

Australorp chicken

Australorp hen

2. Lohmann Brown Classic chicken breed

It is the most widespread breed of laying chickens in the world and is found in almost all parts of the world.

The Lohmann breed has a small stature, having a body weight that doesn’t exceed 2 kilograms. A chicken from this breed produces annually up to 313 eggs, with a low feed consumption of just 110 grams per day.

Lohmann Brown Classic chicken

Lohmann Brown Classic hen

3. The Rhode Island Red chicken breed

The breed originated in the US, where it’s used for a dual purpose, both for eggs and meat. These chickens are most popular with small chicken farms because they can adapt easily to backyard conditions, they have a high resistance against disease and usually a rather tough temperament. A Rhode Island Red chicken can lay up to 260 eggs per year.

Rhode Island Red chicken breed

Rhode Island Red hen

4. Sussex chicken breed

Similar to the Rhode Island Red, this is a dual purpose breed, which means that the chickens are grown for eggs or for meat. The breed has eight different colors, but the most common ones are white chickens with black neck and tail feathers. Sussex chickens are very calm and tame, being suitable for growing even in a yard. The chickens are capable of producing up to 250 eggs annually.

sussex chicken breed

Light Sussex chicken breed

5. Golden Comet chicken breed

This breed is actually a widespread hybrid, known for its ability to produce between 250 and 300 eggs annually. The Golden Comets are very calm and tame chickens, perfect for open spaces and are easy going with other farm animals. The eggs have a brown shell.

golden comet chicken

Golden Comet hen

6. Leghorn chicken breed

The breed comes from the port of Livorno, Italy, from a very old Italian population. It features 12 color varieties, but the white chickens usually lay the most eggs. Leghorn chickens have an average annual production of approximately 200 eggs, but it can go up to 280 eggs. The eggs weigh 55-67 grams and have a white shell. The brooding instinct is manifested very poorly, the hens of this race brooding only in the proportion of 1-4%.

white leghorn chicken breed

White Leghorn hen

7. Marans chicken breed

It’s a chicken breed native of France, having a very rich and colorful plumage. It has an annual production of 180-220 eggs and it can be grown both for meat and eggs. An average egg weighs 60 grams and the shell is brown.

Marans chicken breed

Marans rooster

8. Plymouth Rock chicken breed

This chicken breed is excellent for those who don’t have much experience in growing chickens because they can easily adapt to a free-range lifestyle. These chickens are usually very tame and lay around 200 eggs per year, having a small to medium size and brown shell color.  With proper care, they can lay up to 280 eggs per year. Plymouth Rock chickens are grey with white stripes.

Plymouth Rock chicken breed

Plymouth Rock hen

9. Barnevelder chicken breed

This chicken breed is an interesting cross between the Asian jungle fowl and the Dutch Landrace. It was originally developed in Holland and it’s known for its glossy feathers. The chickens lay up to 200 eggs annually, having a light speckled brown color and a small to medium size.

Barnevelder chicken breed

Barnevelder chicken breed

10. Buff Orpington chicken breed

Originally from Kent, England, this is the most popular variation of the Orpington breed and it’s ideal for backyard growing because it’s very tame and eager to socialize. The chickens tend to get broody during the summer months, which is why they lay just around 180 eggs each year.

Buff Orpington chicken breed

Buff Orpington hen by Elias Gayles

11. Ameraucana chicken breed

This breed originates in South America, and it was named after the Araucanian Indians in Chile. It’s also known under the name of Araucana. The Ameraucana breed developed as a hybrid between several hens and wild birds from which they inherited the character that gives them the title of chickens that lay the healthiest eggs. The color of the eggshell has a bluish-green shade; therefore sometimes they are also called “Easter eggs.”

They have an annual production of 170-180 eggs, weighing 53-60 grams. The egg production rate may not be a significant one, but due to the low cholesterol content in eggs, they are usually sold at a higher price.

ameraucana chicken breed

Ameraucana chicken breed

12. La Bresse chicken breed

It is one of the oldest breeds of French chickens, formed by the selection of local chicken populations. It presents three varieties of color: black, white and gray, the most widespread being the white variety.

A chicken produces 160-180 eggs per year, weighing 65-70 grams and having a white shell. The La Bresse is not only a productive laying chicken breed; it also has very tasty meat.

La Bresse chicken breed

La Bresse rooster

13. Hamburg chicken breed

The breed was developed in England by crossing the local breeds of Andalusia, Minorca, Sumatra and Sebright Bantam. The name has nothing to do with the city of Hamburg in Germany.

This breed produces an average of 150-170 eggs a year, weighing 50-55 grams.

Hamburg chicken breed

Hamburg rooster

Tips to increase egg production

Growing a chicken breed suitable for egg laying is not enough to ensure a large egg production. Consider these tips if you want to make sure you obtain the best possible result from your chicken coop or farm:

  • Chickens older than 3 years lay fewer eggs than younger chickens;
  • Chickens need to have enough protein in their diet to lay eggs. The usual dosage is 20 grams of protein daily;
  • Make sure the chickens have enough daylight – up to 14 hours a day for best egg production;
  • It’s not recommended to force the egg laying process during winter by using artificial light. Chickens need this downtime period;
  • Consider having chickens for brooding, so that you have constantly a stock of egg-laying chickens because not all egg-laying breeds are also good at brooding;
  • Chickens should have enough space; free-range chickens are those who usually lay the most eggs and also the tastiest.

12 thoughts on “Top 13 best egg laying chicken breeds

  1. SIMPHIWE KWEZI HLAKULA

    IMPRESSIVE…HOW NATURE CAN SUPPLY HUMANS WITH FOOD.!!!!!
    WOULD YOU KINDLY FURNISH ME WITH THE LIST OF SUPPLIERS OF EGG-LAYING CHICKENS..AS LITTLE AS ONE-DAY -OLD CHICKENS IF POSSIBLE..I NEED TO START AN EGG-LAYING CHICKEN BUSINESS.
    WOULD ALSO LIKE TO HAVE ACCESS TO MORE INFORMATION ON HOW TO BREED THESE CHICKENS THAT HAVE BEEN SUGGESTED BY YOUR MAGAZINE….PLEASE HELP..

    EASTERN CAPE
    SOUTH AFRICA

    Reply
  2. Julia

    Very impressive. You can feed people, especially the poor, by selling the eggs at a reasonable price.

    Reply
  3. June

    Oh dear. A nice idea, this article, but with some serious factual inaccuracies in words and illustrations.

    1. Australorp. The pictured bird is a crossbreed layer bird with black feathers, not a pure Australorp. Pure Australorps have black eyes, beak, and legs, and the feathers are a solid colour with no other colour in them (they come in black, blue, and white).

    2. Lohmann Brown. This isn’t a breed. Like the Golden Comet you also mention, it’s a commercial laying “hybrid”, one of many. ISA Brown is another. These are the breeds you’ll find on commercial farms. Designed to lay a lot of eggs in the shortest period of time, they tend to die after about 2 years, basically laying themselves to death.

    3. Sussex. A pity your research didn’t reveal that the “white chicken with black feathers” is called the Light Sussex.

    4. Leghorn. The pictured bird is a white-feathered crossbreed, not a pure Leghorn. Leghorns have long low bodies, a floppy comb, and bright yellow legs and beak. While the Australorp holds the record for the most eggs laid in a year, overall the Leghorn is the superior egglaying breed.

    5. “Buff Orpington”. I don’t know why people persist in treating this as a breed in its own right. It’s just one colour variation in the Orpington breed of chicken, which also comes in black, white, and blue, as well as that golden buff colour.

    6. Marans. A picture of the hens would have been a better idea, particularly as the pictured rooster seems to have a crest. You forgot to mention that Marans are particularly known for their deep, chocolate-brown eggs.

    7. Americauana/Araucana. That’s an old and completely debunked myth about the blue/green eggs being “healthier” than other eggs. Studies have shown time and again they have exactly the same cholesterol levels as any other egg.

    8. Interesting inclusion of La Bresse as a layer breed, given its main purpose is as a meat bird.

    Reply
    1. Oana Post author

      Hello June,
      First of all, thank you for taking the time to write all your observations. It’s always nice to receive constructive feedback from our readers.
      1. Granted, the illustrated bird is not a pure breed, like the Leghorn and the Marans, simply because it’s difficult to find high-quality stock photos to use in our articles, especially when it comes to specific animal breeds.
      2. Regarding the Lohmann Brown, although it’s a hybrid, we think it can be considered a breed on its own because it is grown by now on a large scale. Yes, it’s a breed created for commercial purposes in farms, but it’s still a different breed.
      3. We edited the picture capture to specify that it is a Light Sussex. Thank you for noticing.
      4. The Buff Orpington is most likely the most popular variety of Orpington, so that’s why we decided to include it on this list, but it’s a good idea to mention that it’s a variety of the Orpington breed.
      5. When it comes to nutrition, there are many opinions on healthy foods. It would be a far too complex discussion to bring up in this article. Some claims to lower cholesterol contained in Araucana chicken eggs are simply based on the size of the egg yolks, which are smaller in the case of blue/green eggs compared to other types of eggs.
      6. True, the La Bresse is known as a meat bird, but it’s a breed much used in France for egg laying – up to 250 eggs/year. They’re not that good at egg laying during winter, but they can still be added to this list even though not among the top spots. We also wanted to compile a diverse list, with chicken breeds from different parts of the world.
      Thanks again for your feedback!

      Reply
      1. James D. Peebles

        Great response to a nerdy “holier than thou” response. Loved your article, Oana.

        Reply
    2. Tracie

      Lol, let’s be POLITICALLY CORRECT, I would love to see the article you wrote.
      Who cares of it’s an actual breed, or not. It was meant to be informative and it is.
      As for Lohman Brown, I had many that lived way past 2 years.
      As for pictures being crossbred or pure, again, which cares.
      No one ask for 100% perfection in the article. It is one persons opinion.

      Reply
  4. Nana

    Wow June, Did you need to be so mean about your perception of this article? You might try looking for the good in the diversity of others’ perceptions instead of insisting on your own being the only one that matters. You might find that life is much more beautiful in that light!

    Oana, I thought it was a warm, informative and loving article and I can tell how much you love chickens.

    Reply
  5. Me

    Hello June, you are a 100% wrong regarding Australorp.Picture is purebreed .Only Cemani chicken breed have everything black .Include egg .

    Reply
  6. Tiarra

    Orpingtons actually come in lavender, not blue, as the lavender breeds true and the blue does not. I have a gorgeous one that is very relaxed. I’d love an Amerecauna next batch!

    Reply
  7. Joseph Leonard

    I like the fact check June provided. We all love chickens, I am here to learn things about them…. in particular about the eggs I can get from them. I have some unknown chicken breeds, and it is difficult to figure out what they are… when I see a picture, with a claim of what it is, I want to be sure it’s right. Thanks June. Keep them honest… seems like everyone has a blog nowadays. That said, there were a couple snippy responses… but overall, it was a good contribution.

    Reply
  8. Linda

    I’d appreciate accurate information and pictures. Thank you June for some of your comments.

    Reply

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