The chicken breed that lays the most eggs is popular indeed. This is especially true over the last five years ago, as backyard chicken farms are becoming the new norm. Eggs are the ultimate goal and the more the merrier. It’s hard to argue with the premise. Natural eggs from chickens that haven’t been injected with a hundred different things and fed heavily modified foods are a highly nutritious commodity.
Be careful, however, if this is your first time delving into the fascinating world of chicken breeds and egg-laying. Before you know it, you’ll have eggs pouring out of the refrigerator and filling up every container you own. Speaking of fascinating chicken breeds, there are a ton of them.
Not only are they bred for egg-laying capabilities, chickens even do chicken shows, much like dog shows, and the more exotic and interesting the breed, the better. Given the fact that there are so many of them, is there an actual breed that dominates the rest in terms of egg-laying production?
Chicken Breed That Lays the Most Eggs
Depending on the chicken professional you approach, the white leghorn, the Rhode Island red, the Ameraucana, or the New Hampshire red rule the roost (pun intended) when it comes to laying the most eggs annually.
Most professionals will point to the white leghorn and, if you grew up watching Looney Tunes, it’s the same white leghorn of Foghorn Leghorn fame. Of course, Foghorn Leghorn is a fictional rooster, so he doesn’t lay eggs. But, it’s the same chicken breed, nonetheless.
Ameraucanas, Goldline hybrids, and Rhode Island Reds are so close to the white leghorn that a moment of broodiness is more than enough to give up the lead in egg production. As a bonus, the Ameraucana often lays colorful eggs, if you’re into a little egg diversity in the kitchen.
Since our chicken breed that lays the most eggs consists of a list of four, we’ll cover all of them, along with a list of other attributes that set these productive breeds apart from the rest.
1. White Leghorn
As the chicken breed that lays the most eggs, the white leghorn dominates the discussions about which chickens lay the most. The average for a white leghorn is 300 eggs per year, which comes to about 8 eggs every 10 days, with an occasional 9 out of 10.
The biggest knock against owning a white leghorn is their traditional look, which is admittedly a little on the bland side. This is the chicken that most people see in every commercial, on every farm, and in every grocery store banner in the eggs section.
On the plus side, white leghorns not only lay hundreds of eggs per year, but they also lay large eggs. You get extra production as well as sizeable eggs. That more than makes up for the generic aesthetic of the white leghorn.
2. Goldline Hybrid
Of the group of four, the Goldline hybrid is the most competitive with the white leghorn for the chicken breed that lays the most eggs. In some cases, Goldline hybrids outproduce white leghorns, at least they do so initially. The first year with a Goldline should net you roughly 320 eggs. That’s an 87% per year production level against the white leghorn’s 82%.
However, the Goldline tapers off faster, with the white leghorn winning the long term over the short term. Goldline hybrids resemble a cross between Rhode Island reds and yellow buff orpingtons. In a flock of Rhode Island reds, it’s easy to lose track of a goldline.
Goldlines are highly recommended to first-time chicken owners because of their high production and low maintenance. If you’re looking for a chicken that’s very sociable and friendly, however, you’ll have to look elsewhere. They will eat out of your hand, given plenty of time and repetition.
3. Rhode Island Red
Rhode Island Reds are prolific egg layers, often putting out more than 250 eggs per year. They also lay a distinctly bronze-like egg that, depending on the bird, is light to very dark. While this chicken breed doesn’t lay the most eggs, it’s consistent and rarely broody. Three or four Rhode Island reds will have you swimming in medium-size eggs in short order.
They’re not the friendliest chickens, so if you’re looking for a lap chicken that lays a lot of eggs, Rhode Island reds are very low on the list. However, like most chickens, they will follow you around once they get used to you showing up to feed them.
Some will even jump up next to you while you’re sitting down (if you have food). Just don’t expect any cuddles. Also, like the white leghorn, they aren’t the most dazzling when it comes to feather aesthetics, just the rust red in the above pic.
The Ameraucana is a striking chicken breed, and while it doesn’t lay the most eggs, it lays a lot. They also happen to lay very pretty eggs, especially if you have little ones and Easter is on the horizon. Though they are often associated with Easter eggers, they are a recognized breed, where Easter eggers are thought of as the mutts of chicken breeds.
Ameraucanas are a fun chicken breed and more lighthearted than their Rhode Island red cousins. They lay about 250 medium-sized eggs per year, and the eggs are either green or blue. Most people love them for their distinctive, puffy cheeks.
It looks as if they walk around with their mouths packed with food. While you shouldn’t expect a lapdog type of relationship with your Ameraucanas, they are more docile and friendly than most chicken breeds and not likely to run for the hills when you come outside.
Other High Producing Chickens
The chicken breed that lays the most eggs is often a matter of opinion. Any of the above chickens are capable of laying more eggs than the others on the list. That goes for the chickens under our “Other High Producing Chickens” tag as well.
For instance, many will insist that the Australorp lays the most eggs, capable of essentially laying an egg a day for most, if not all, of the year. An Australorp currently holds the world record for laying the most eggs in a single year.
Isa Brown chickens find their way onto egg-laying lists often as well. Resembling Rhode Island Reds or Goldlines, they are capable of laying over 300 eggs in a year. Isa Browns also happen to be highly affectionate chickens, making for an excellent egg-laying and pet-friendly combination.
The Plymouth Rock is the chicken breed that lays the most eggs on some chicken aficionado lists. Also known as barred rock, they have a unique look to them and are capable of laying nearly 300 eggs per year. They’re also one of the older breeds, having been around since the 1800s.
Sussex chickens, along with various hybrid breeds (gold comets, sex links, and black stars to name a few) are also prolific egg layers. They frequent the “chicken breeds that lay the most eggs” lists, as well as most of the others above.
The biggest takeaway here is the chicken breed that lays the most eggs is often a contentious debate. The white leghorn, australorp, and Goldline hybrid probably get the most praise in that regard. However, there are plenty of chicken breeds out there that lay a ton of eggs each year.
If you are thinking about jumping on the backyard chicken bandwagon, any choice of chickens (or a mixture of different breeds) on the above list will provide you with years of plentiful egg production. If you can find one that’s friendly and lays a lot of eggs, you’ll also get a lot of joy out of raising them.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Dmitriy Prokofev/iStock via Getty Images
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.