All hens can lay eggs, but some chickens breeds are undoubtedly better layers than others.
Given the correct care and attention, food, and shelter, the best egg laying chickens we showcase here will lay more eggs than other breeds. These chickens have been bred for year-round egg production. However, while they are all hardy egg laying chickens, some are better suited to homesteads and farms. Others, meanwhile, can more readily adapt to backyard chicken coops.
Some are docile and calm, while other breeds are more active and busy.
Rhode Island Red Chickens
The iconic Rhode Island Reds are one of the oldest chicken breeds in the United States. They were developed in the 19th century and take their name from New England.
They are excellent foragers and thrive in moveable A-frame coops and chicken tractors. They are tough and independent with dark brown and black feathers. It has black tips on its tail and on its wing feathers. They are good backyard chickens but equally at home on homesteads.
They are renowned egg layers and, once upon a time, the standard bird found on smaller poultry farms. Rhode Island Reds are dual-purpose, producing both eggs and meat.
These chickens are docile and calm, but the roosters can often be aggressive. Each year a Rhode Island Red will produce about 250 to 300 large brown eggs.
‘Leggerns’ are a breed that originated from an area close to Livorno in Italy, from which their corrupted name derives. They were exported to America in 1852.
These white feathered birds with thick combs are active, good foragers, and exceptional egg layers. As Leghorns are active birds, they are unsuited to backyards. Instead, they are more at home on homesteads and other forage-based systems.
Leghorns tend to be noisy, shy, energetic, and active flyers. As they tend to be flighty, they usually do not make good pets. Leghorns lay around 250 to 280 medium to large white eggs per year.
Sex-Link Hybrid Chickens
Hybrids are bred to lay large amounts of chicken eggs year round while consuming small amounts of food. These traits make them cheaper to feed than other chicken breeds.
Cross-breeding different pure breeds contains genes from a wide range of breeds, including Rhode Island Reds and Rhode Island Whites, produce these chickens. Sex-link refers to the male and female chicks being two different colors. There are two types of sex-links; red and black.
Sex-links are hardy, calm, and quiet. They can handle both cold and hot climates. As it is a friendly breed, sex links are good for backyards and also make good pets. However, they require to forage but can do well in small areas. Each year they produce around 300 large brown eggs.
Lohmann Brown Chickens (Hybrid)
The Lohmann Brown is about the best egg laying chickens, raised specifically for its egg-laying productivity in factories and hatcheries. It is a hybrid selectively bred from lines of White Rock and Rhode Island breeds. They have light brown bodies with white tail feathers. If you want more and more chicken eggs, the Lohmann Brown starts to lay at about 19 weeks, producing up to 320 large eggs to an age of 72 weeks.
They are known to be one of the more friendly, inquisitive and approachable chicken breeds. They can also live up to 10 years for those wanting backyard pet after their laying days are over. Their nature and egg laying capacity make up for their plain Jane appearance.
Isa Brown Chickens (Hybrid)
Similar to the Lohmann Brown chickens, the ISA Brown or Warren chicken, is cross between the Rhode Island and Leghorn breeds. They have light golden feathers. According to this post, both breeds are
“of a number of labels under which some hatcheries market their Red Sex Links which are produced by crossing a red gene rooster (RIR, NH, or PR) with a silver gene hen (RIW, Delaware, Light Sussex, SLW, or silver factor WR) to produce offspring that can be sexed by color from hatching (male chicks are whitish, female chicks are reddish), but no matter what label they are marketed under, Red Sex Links are egg laying machines, consistently churning out more than 300 large brown eggs per hen per year.”
Like the Lohmann Brown’s, the low maintenance Isa Brown chickens easily adapt to all kinds of weather. The average lifespan is between 2 to 3 years and in rare cases, they can live up to 8 years old depending on their care. They are extremely friendly and respond well to being trained with treats.
Golden Comet Chickens (Hybrid)
Golden Comets are a very popular hybrid from a Rhode Island Red chicken and White Leghorn chicken with the best traits of both breeds. They are specifically bred to be prolific egg layers and they start laying eggs earlier than other breeds but are very small in size at 5lbs so they’re not good for meat production.
They are usually a reddish-brown cinnamon color with white tail feathers. These chickens lay a whopping 280 large brown eggs per year which is about 7 eggs per week year round compared to most most heritage breeds that only lay 3 to 5 eggs per week. Golden Comets are very tough and resilient to most kinds of weather conditions and living environments.
Golden Comets are friendly, gentle and they like to interact with people and are good for children to pick up. The relate well with coop mates and other animals. They are also curious so keep an eye out for their safely.
New Hampshire Red Chickens
The New Hampshire Reds are an offshoot of the Rhode Island Red. New Hampshires were selectively bred from multiple generations of Rhode Island Red to produce exceptionally vigorous and hardy chickens.
They mature early and being meatier than the Rhode Island Red are dual purpose. Like the Rhode Island Red, they get their name from their rich, red plumage.
New Hampshire Reds are a hardy breed that’s suitable for coops and backyards. Their personalities are varied. Some are focused on the pecking order and can be aggressive to others. Just as likely, though, they can calm and docile.
New Hampshire Reds will produce up to 260 large medium-brown eggs each year.
Rhode Island White Hem Chickens
A completely separate breed from the more famous Red, the White Hem is the product of crossbreeding in 1888. Rhode Island Reds and Whites can be bred together to create Red Sex Linked hybrid chickens.
The White Hem’s genesis is a cross-breeding of rose-comb White Leghorns, Partridge Cochins, and White Wyandottes. It was moderately popular up until the 1960s but it’s is now a relatively rare chicken.
The result was a meatier chicken with large well-rounded breasts. They are hardy foragers and can easily cope with frigid weather. White Hems produce about 240 to 250 large brown eggs per year. It also contains a bantam variety.
Did you know that this breed holds the world record for egg laying with one hen laying 364 eggs in 365 days? Black Australorps are a cross between a Rhode Island Red and an Orpington chicken in the 1920’s, and as hinted by their name, these chickens were bred in Australia to deal with harsh climatic conditions. They are an incredibly heat-tolerant, dual-purpose breed that you can count on to produce 250 large light brown eggs. Typically, Australorps are hardy, active, and efficient foragers and thrive best in a free-range environment but for urban dwellers, these chickens will tolerate small spaces or chicken runs. Autralorp chickens come in black, blue and white varieties.
They are meaty birds that are intelligent and have friendly and docile personalities which makes them good backyard pets that are good with children.
Hailing from England, Sussex chickens were once the British table bird of choice. Eight colors are recognized in Britain for both standard size and the bantam variety: brown, buff, coronation, light, red, silver, speckled and white. The Speckled Sussex is by far the most common. Their brown and white speckled plumage will see them stand out from the rest of your flock. However, their distinctive coloring also makes for good camouflage against predators.
The Sussex is famed for its friendly and curious personality. They are, like the Orpingtons, arguably the best chicken breed for pets. It is breed for both for its meat and for its large eggs which are brown to tan in color.
Delaware chickens originated in the State of Delaware in 1940. As a standard breed, were primary raised for meat production but today this breed is critically endangered.
Delawares are medium-sized with males weighing 8.5 pounds (3.9 kilos) and hens 6.5 pounds (3 kilos). Hens lay 280 large brown eggs per year and tend to go broody. This hardy breed is usually white in color with black markings and possess a calm temperament.
Dominiques aka Dominicker or Pilgrim Fowl, are considered America’s oldest breed originating in old English history and brought to the United States during the colonial period. They are listed as a rare breed by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy and one of the most unique chicken breeds. It is often confused with the Barred Rock chicken which also has a black-and-white “barred” feather pattern. Their feathers were used to stuff pillows.
These dual-purpose meat and eggs chickens are brown egg layers producing 230 large eggs each year, especially during the summer months. Generally calm, this gentle, non-aggressive breed is a good choice for children but don’t rely on the rooster to protect the flock. They are foragers suitable for raising free range chickens because their barred feather pattern is a camouflage from aerial predators.
La Bresse Chickens
La Bresse Gauloise was originally a French breed of domestic chicken raised as an egg producing chicken but today is called the “Queen of Chickens” because it is considered to be “the tastiest, the firmest and most succulent flesh of any chicken anywhere. This genetically recognizably chicken breed is able to metabolize feed in a distinct way which contributes to the Bresse chicken’s body form and production. They were first imported into the USA in 2011 from France where they have a legally-protected status and specific production protocol.
Bresse hens lay a large golden brown egg containing a thick white shell. Of the four varieties of Bresse: white, black, blue, and gray, the white one is the largest and most popular. All breeds have a bright red comb, white feathers and blue steel leg color.
La Bresse prefers open pastures with other chickens, is even tempered and minimal human interaction.
Blue egg-laying Ameraucanas are a rare South American chicken breed. However, most chickens referred to in the United States as ‘Ameraucanas’ are, in reality, a mix of various South American breeds. They are all the distant offspring of Araucana chickens imported from Chile in the 1970s. Sometimes they are wrongly called ‘Easter Eggers.’
No matter their lineage, Ameraucanas are fun and interesting chickens best known for their eggs rather than their meat. They all seem to have different but generally agreeable personalities. The lay around 250 medium-sized eggs which vary in color from various shades of blue to green and cream.
Ameraucanas are somewhat a favorite with children and customers who frequent farmers’ markets.
Anacona chickens originated in the Marche region of Italy and were bred primarily for egg production. The two standard varieties are the Rose Comb and Single Comb. The have a distinct plumage color pattern which is black ground color mottled white, yellow legs and yellow beaks. They look similar in coloring to the Plymouth Rock but is less than half the size.
Hens are very active foragers and do well in free range environments. They are alert and fly well so high fencing or clipping their wing feathers is required. They are very attractive birds and not broody. They are hardy, fertile, prolific and they lay 200 medium to large white eggs each year. The average lifespan is 8 years and there is a bantam version.
The Orpington chicken is famous for its large size, full feathers, and gentle personalities. The most common variety is the Orpington Buffs. Their large size at maturity makes Orpingtons the ideal dual-purpose bird.
Their sweet natures mean they are easy to keep fenced in and tolerate being handled. Though a favorite for families with younger kids, the Orpingtons’ docile disposition also makes them more vulnerable to predation.
Though primarily bred for their meat, Orpingtons are accomplished egg layers. They are remarkably tolerant of cold weather and will lay eggs throughout the winter, making them ideal for farms in colder climates.
This Dutch domestic breed is a cross between Asian jungle fowl and the Dutch Landrace and is one of the most popular and unique backyard chickens with gorgeous glossy black feathers.
Barnvelders are dual purpose chickens that produce 200 large chocolate colored eggs each year. The more eggs they lay the lighter they will be. They occasionally go broody. They are low maintenance birds that are easy to raise in a garden pen. Barnvelders are friendly and docile but can sometimes bully other chickens. They are described as lazy and prone to getting overweight if they’re not fed a proper diet. The average lifespan is about 10 years.
Plymouth Rock Chickens
The variety you are most likely to see is the Barred Plymouth Rock. With their distinctive bands of black and white, Barred Rocks are handsome and true stand out chickens. As their name hints at, the Plymouth Rocks originate from Massachusetts.
In the past, they were the favorite chicken breed in the United States, primarily down to their amenable and docile personalities.
The Plymouth Rocks is a reliable and sturdy choice of dual-purpose bird. They lay 280 large eggs and remain very popular among homesteaders and small farmers.
The Maran is a dual purpose breed of chicken from the port town of Marans in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of south-western France. Recognized varieties include Birchen, Black, Black Copper, Black Tailed Buff, Columbian, Cuckoo, Golden Cuckoo, and Wheaten. They are reknown for dark brown eggs, tasty quality of meat and colorful plumage.
Marans lay 200 large dark brown eggs per year. They are active foragers that enjoy roaming around but can become fat and lazy if there’s no room to roam. They are docile, quiet and low maintenance but not easy to tame and not good pets. They can live up to 8 years.
The Hamburg is a breed of chicken that originated in Holland sometime prior to the fourteenth century from local chicken breeds. It is one of the most beautiful breeds with white and black feathers like a Dalmation’s coat.
Hamburgs produce 200 small to medium white glossy-shelled eggs per year. They rarely go broody and they are cold hardy. These chickens like to roam and require a lot of free range space and will become aggressive if confined to small spaces. Lifespan on average is 6 to 10 years.
Known originally as the American Sebright, these pretty chickens are dual-purpose and prolific brown egg layers. The most commonly available variety is the silver-laced Wyandotte. However, there are numerous color variations. But all are docile and good-natured.
Wyandottes can cope with adverse weather and terrain, so they are at home in colder climes.