Best Laying Hen Breeds

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Written by Jennifer Gaeng

Updated: June 7, 2023

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Whether you’re a seasoned chicken farmer or just starting out, choosing the right breed of hen for egg-laying is an important decision. Different breeds of chickens lay different amounts and sizes of eggs, so it’s important to pick the one that best suits your needs. Whether you’re looking for an efficient layer or one with unique characteristics, these top seven hen breeds have something special to offer!

1. Rhode Island Red Chicken

Rhode Island Red Chicken

The Rhode Island Red is a classic choice for farmers looking for reliable egg production in their flock. These birds are hardy and easy to care for, making them ideal candidates if you want consistent egg production throughout most months of the year.

This breed produces large brown eggs in abundance—upwards of 250 per year! They also tend to be hardy birds and can withstand colder temperatures better than other varieties. Rhode Island Reds tend to be friendly and docile, making them a popular choice for farmers to add to their backyard flocks.

2. Araucanas

Blue araucana chicken in a farm

Araucanas chicken

 For those looking for more exotic options, consider Araucanas or Ameraucanas (also referred to as “Easter Eggers”). Both lay colorful blue/green eggs in addition to being friendly birds that thrive on human interaction. While not quite as prolific layers compared with some other types (averaging about 200-250 annually), these breeds make up for it by bringing plenty of personality into your chicken flock! 

3. Silkies

Fluffiest Animals: Silkie Chicken

Silkie chickens

Finally, if you want a beautiful bird whose feathers will add color to any backyard coop, then look no further than Silkies. This is a small bantam variety whose fluffy plumage makes them look like little balls of cotton candy running around your yard! Despite their size, they still manage decent production rates (about 150+ each year). They also provide lots of entertainment thanks to their playful natures and friendly dispositions towards people and animals alike. 

4. Leghorns

White leghorn chicken

If you need lots and lots (and LOTS) of eggs, then look no further than this Italian breed! These hens are also known for their high energy levels and active personalities; they love exploring their surroundings and won’t hesitate to let you know when they’re hungry or thirsty!

Leghorns have been known to lay upwards of 300 white/light-brown medium-sized eggs each year—that’s nearly one egg every day! They don’t take up too much space either; perfect if coop space is at a premium in your backyard farmstead setup.

5. Sussex

Sussex Chicken

This British bird has become increasingly popular over recent years. This is due to its ability as an all-around great producer with both meat and eggs regularly throughout their life cycle. They average around 200 large light brownish-colored eggs per annum. 

Sussex chickens are generally known for their calm and friendly demeanor. They are easy to handle and enjoy human interaction, making them great for backyard flocks or pets.

6. Plymouth Rock

Plymouth Rock chicken

This is a dual-purpose breed more commonly used as layers due to its excellent productivity rate when given good quality feed and care. Plymouth Rock hens produce around 220 medium-sized dark brown colored eggs annually on average. Plymouth Rock chickens are generally friendly and docile, which makes them good for backyard flocks or pets. They can be easily tamed, and their gentle nature makes them easy to handle.

7. Orpington

Buff Orpington Chicken

Orpington Chicken

This is another dual-purpose bird that produces about 180 extra-large light tan colored eggs each season. What really stands out about this breed is how calm and gentle they usually act towards people (and other animals). If having a pet chicken that will follow children around without any fear sounds like something up your alley, then Orpingtons could be just right for you! 

Though not quite up there with other pure layer breeds such as leghorns or Sussex, they are very popular amongst beginners who may be unsure how well chickens will fit into their lives!

In Conclusion

When it comes to choosing a breed of hen for egg-laying, there are many factors to consider. What type of climate do you live in? How much space do you have available? Do you prefer brown or white eggs? All these questions can help narrow down your choices and find the best laying hen breeds for your needs.

No matter what type of egg-laying hen suits your needs best, all these hen breeds share common traits: namely good health and strong laying abilities coupled with pleasant temperaments. This makes any one of them an excellent addition to any chicken keeper’s home flock!

Summary of the Best Laying Hen Breeds

#Chicken BreedAnnual Egg Production
1Rhode Island Red Chicken250 large brown eggs
2Araucanas200-250 medium/large, blue-green eggs
3Silkies150 small/medium, white eggs
4Leghorns300 medium-sized, white-light-brown eggs
5Sussex200 large, light brownish-colored eggs
6Plymouth Rock220 medium-sized, dark-brown eggs
7Orpington180 extra-large, light-tan eggs


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About the Author

Jennifer Gaeng is a writer at A-Z-Animals focused on animals, lakes, and fishing. With over 15 years of collective experience in writing and researching, Jennifer has honed her skills in various niches, including nature, animals, family care, and self-care. Hailing from Missouri, Jennifer finds inspiration in spending quality time with her loved ones. Her creative spirit extends beyond her writing endeavors, as she finds joy in the art of drawing and immersing herself in the beauty of nature.

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