Best Egg Laying Chickens for Backyard (Top Hens for Great Eggs)

Which Breed of Chickens Lay the Most Eggs?

When it comes to choosing a breed of chicken, there are many factors to consider. One important factor is how many eggs the bird will produce.

So, let’s compare the top egg-laying backyard chickens:

Breed Eggs per Year Size
Isa Brown300-350Large
Lohmann Brown320Large
Leghorn280-320Large to Extra Large
Golden Comet250-300Large to Extra Large
Rhode Island Red
200-300Medium to Large
Sussex250Large
Australorp 250Large
Ameraucana 250Medium
Barred Rock200-250Medium to Large
Ancona200Large
Buff Orpington 180-280Large
Barnevelder 200Large
Marans 180-220
Large
Hamburg150-200Small to Medium

Isa Brown

Egg Production per Year: Approximately 300 to 350 eggs per year

Start Laying At: 20 to 22 weeks old

Egg Size: Large

Egg Color: Brown

Lohmann Brown

Egg Production per Year: Up to 320 eggs per year

Start Laying At: 18 weeks

Egg Size: Large

Egg Color: Brown

Golden Comet

Egg Production per Year: Approximately 250 to 300 eggs per year

Start Laying At: 15 to 16 weeks old

Egg Size: Large to extra large

Egg Color: Usually a dark red-brown color

Rhode Island Red

Egg Production per Year: Approximately 200 to 300 eggs per year

Start Laying At: 18 to 20 weeks old

Egg Size: Medium to large

Egg Color: Medium brown

Leghorn

Egg Production per Year: Approximately 280 to 320 eggs per year

Start Laying At: 18 to 20 weeks

Egg Size: Large to extra-large

Egg Color: White

Sussex

Egg Production per Year: Approximately 250 eggs per year

Start Laying At: 16 to 20 weeks old

Egg Size: Large

Egg Color: The color of the eggs will vary from brown to creamy white.

Australorp

Egg Production per Year: Approximately 250 eggs per year

Start Laying At: 20 to 24 weeks old

Egg Size: Large

Egg Color: Brown

Ameraucana

Egg Production per Year: Approximately 250 per year

Start Laying At: 25 to 30 weeks

Egg Size: Medium

Egg Color: Shades of blue

Barred Rock

Egg Production per Year: Approximately 200 to 250 eggs per year

Start Laying At: 16 to 20 weeks old

Egg Size: Medium to Large

Egg Color: Medium Brown

Ancona

Egg Production per Year: Approximately 200 eggs per year

Start Laying At: 21 to 22 weeks old

Egg Size: Large

Egg Color: White

Buff Orpington

Egg Production per Year: Approximately 180 to 280 eggs a year

Start Laying At: 19 to 24 weeks

Egg Size: Large

Egg Color: Light brown

Barnevelder

Egg Production per Year: Approximately 200 eggs per year

Start Laying At: 28 weeks old

Egg Size: Large

Egg Color: Light speckled brown to dark chocolate-brown

Marans

Egg Production per Year: Approximately 180 to 220 eggs per year

Start Laying At: 35 to 39 weeks old

Egg Size: Large

Egg Color: Rich dark brown

Hamburg

Egg Production per Year: Approximately 150 to 200 eggs per year

Start Laying At: 17 to 22 weeks old

Egg Size: Small to medium

Egg Color: White

Which Chickens Lay Eggs the Longest?

Heritage birds (including Ancona, Ameraucana, Australorp, Buff Orpington, Rhode Island Red, Barred Rock, etc) seem to lay eggs the longest.

However, the number of eggs hens lay, no matter the breed, will generally peak in their first 2 years. Then, egg production declines gradually until they’re about 5 years old.

This is why many commercial operations will not keep a bird in production for longer than 2 to 3 years, due to the declining egg quality and quantity.

What Is the Easiest Chicken To Raise for Eggs?

There are many different types of chickens that can be raised for egg production. Some chicken breeds are better layers than others and some require less maintenance.

The following is a list of the easiest chickens to raise for eggs:


Raising Lohmann Browns

This hen is perfect for beginner chicken keepers because they’re low maintenance and hardy.

This breed is a great pet because it’s docile, friendly, easily handled, and good with children.

Broodiness: They rarely go broody.

Cold Hardy: Yes

Lifespan: Average is 6 to 8 years


Raising Isa Browns

They’re reasonably low-maintenance and they love to interact with people. They’re also very docile, like to be cuddled, and are great with children.

Yet, when new chickens are introduced, Isa Browns can be extremely territorial and bossy.

Broodiness: They rarely go broody.

Cold Hardy: Yes

Lifespan: Average is between 3 to 4 years. Yet, in some cases, they’ll live to be 5 to 8 years old.


Raising Buff Orpingtons

Buff Orpingtons are one of the tamest breeds you can get. They are very calm, low maintenance, and great in a garden.

They are very docile, friendly, and love to socialize with people. They love attention and cuddles. You can even train them to eat out of your hands. They’re also great with children.

However, because of their non-aggressive nature, they should not be put with more aggressive breeds.

They tolerate being in a chicken run or in a small yard. They’re perfect chickens if you live in a town or city because they’re very quiet and tolerate small spaces very well.

They tend to be lazy chickens with a tendency of being overweight if they are not fed a proper diet.

Broodiness: They’re often broody.

Cold Hardy: Yes

Lifespan: Average is 8 to 12 years


Raising Rhode Island Reds

They are one of the most popular backyard chicken breeds because they’re hardy, low-maintenance, and lay lots of eggs. Although they can be a bit assertive at times, they are very friendly.

They’re energetic and curious. And although they will tolerate being copped up, they love to roam around and forage.

Broodiness: They rarely go broody.

Cold Hardy: Yes

Lifespan: On average, they live to be 8+ years old. There have been reports of them living 10 to 14 years under optimal conditions.


Raising Barnevelders

The Barnevelder is a docile, friendly, and laid-back chicken breed. They’re also fairly low maintenance.

Barnevelders are definitely not the most active and energetic chicken breed out there. They’re often described as lazy and can easily get overweight if they’re not fed a proper diet.

Sometimes, Barnevelders might bully other chickens.

Broodiness: They occasionally go broody.

Cold Hardy: Yes

Lifespan: Average is 8 to 10 years, but some have been reported to live as old as 20.


Raising Marans (Not Good Pets)

This breed is amiable, quiet, docile, not aggressive, and low maintenance. Yet they aren’t very tame and don’t make good pets.

They’re pretty active. They are good foragers and are happiest when they can roam around.

They are also hardy and disease-resistant. But they can be lazy and get fat very easily if they don’t have plenty of space to roam around. So it’s best to give these chickens a free-ranging environment.

Broodiness: They usually go broody.

Cold Hardy: Yes

Lifespan: Average is 4 to 10 years


Raising Golden Comets

This breed is very calm, tame, and hardy. They’re very friendly towards people, usually like being held, and are great with young children.

They’re also friendly with other chicken breeds and other animals.

These chickens are naturally curious, so you’ll have to check up on them regularly to make sure they’re not putting themselves in any danger.

Broodiness: They rarely go broody.

Cold Hardy: Yes

Lifespan: Average is 5-10


Raising Leghorns

Leghorns are very active and efficient foragers. Although they like roaming around and roosting in trees, they’re perfectly content in a chicken run.

Although the Leghorn is a great pick for a beginner chicken keeper with patience, they are known for being shy, hard to tame, and pretty noisy.

Broodiness: They rarely go broody.

Cold Hardy: No. Their comb is large that you have to make sure they don’t get frostbite in cold weather.

Lifespan: Average is 5 to 7 years


Raising Sussex

This breed is easy to tame and will eat from your hand. They’re very calm and are known to free-range in gardens without destroying them.

Compared to other breeds, the Sussex is full of personality. They’re very curious chickens. They’re also known for following people around and begging for treats.

Broodiness: They’re often broody.

Cold Hardy: Yes

Lifespan: At least 5 years


Raising Australorps

This is an active breed, but they tend to be extremely calm, tame, and quiet. They’re happiest in a free-range environment because they enjoy foraging. Yet, they will tolerate small spaces or chicken runs, so they’re great if you live in an urban area.

Australorps are a very gentle, docile breed that loves socializing with people. They’re known as one of the friendliest chicken breeds and are great with children.

Broodiness: They occasionally go broody.

Cold Hardy: Yes

Lifespan: Average is 6-10 years of age.


Raising Ameraucanas

They’re docile, hardy, and sweet chickens. They make great pets because they’re friendly, and so much fun to have around.

However, it’s important to note that this breed’s character can vary widely. Most are curious, gentle, and tolerate both free-ranging environments and chicken runs. Yet, some Ameraucanas can be quite nervous and shy.

Broodiness: They occasionally go broody.

Cold Hardy: Yes

Lifespan: Average is 6 to 8 years


Raising Barred Rocks

Coming from the Plymouth family, these large chickens are happiest when free-ranging.

This breed is known to get along well with both people and other pets. They love to be picked up and cuddled. They are very friendly, calm, easily tamed, and great with children.

The Barred Rock is a great choice for beginner chicken keepers.

Broodiness: They usually go broody.

Cold Hardy: Yes. The hens are very cold hardy but the roosters’ combs and waddles are susceptible to frostbite.

Lifespan: Average is 6 to 8 years, but many have been known to reach 10 to 12 years.


Raising Hamburgs

The Hamburg hen is a popular breed because of their beautiful appearance and upbeat personality.

This breed regularly needs plenty of space to roam. Hamburgs are also quite flighty and are happy to roost in trees.

Hamburgs are active chickens who love to explore and forage. Although they don’t tend to interact much with people, they love to play with other chickens.

Keep in mind that Hamburgs can be quite noisy.

Broodiness: They rarely go broody.

Cold Hardy: Yes

Life Span: Average is 6 to 10 years


Raising Anconas (Not Good Pets)

Anconas are much happier when they can free-range in large spaces because they’re an energetic breed. They’re not a fan of being cooped up.

They also love to fly out of their pens and roost in trees.

Anaconas have nervous personalities, so they don’t make great pets.

Broodiness: They rarely go broody.

Cold Hardy: The Ancona chicken is extremely winter hardy despite its large single comb.

Lifespan: Average is 8 years

Which Chickens Lay the Most Nutritious Eggs?

The answer to this question is: All backyard chickens lay the most nutritious eggs, especially if you compare them to store-bought eggs.

Backyard chicken eggs are higher in vitamins and minerals, and lower in cholesterol than store-bought eggs, according to a new paper from Rutgers University.

Comparing free-range eggs to store-bought eggs, researchers found that free-range chicken eggs have:

  • 1/4 to 1/3 less cholesterol,
  • 1/4 less saturated fat
  • 2/3 more vitamin A
  • 3 times more vitamin E
  • 7 times more beta-carotene
  • almost 6 times the amount of vitamin D
  • twice the amount of omega-3 fatty acids
  • more B vitamins
  • the yolks contained more antioxidants (lutein and zeaxanthin)

Being Self-Sufficient

Raising chickens is great because you become a little more self-sufficient and the work is truly rewarding.

However, being 100% self-sufficient on your own land might not be for everyone. It’s a lot of learning, planning, hard work, and patience to get yourself set up.

But this sweet, down-to-earth couple have done just that. They’ve been self-sufficient on their little 1/4 acre land for over 40 years! And, now they’re showing other people how they save and make money by being self-sufficient in things like food, heating, and electricity.

You should definitely check them out because you might get ideas on how to save or make money from your own backyard!

Conclusion: Which Backyard Chicken Is Best for You?

There are many factors to consider when choosing which backyard chicken is best for you. The breed of chicken, the climate you live in, and your personal preferences all play a role in determining which layer is best for you.

If you live in a cold climate, then a flock that is good at producing eggs in the winter months is a good choice for you. If you live in a hot climate, then a chicken that can withstand the heat is a better choice.

Some people prefer layers that are quiet and docile, while others prefer egg layers that are active and playful. Some people like poultry that lay colored eggs, while others prefer white eggs.

Ultimately, the best backyard hen for you is the one that meets your specific needs and preferences.