20 Best Chicken Breeds for Eggs (Ranked by Egg Yield)

Best chicken breeds for eggs

For poultry enthusiasts, finding the best egg-laying chickens is a key priority. This is not surprising, as the ability to produce eggs is one of the most significant qualities in a chicken.

However, it should be noted that choosing the right breed doesn’t solely depend on egg yield. For example, broodiness and maternal instincts can influence your choice, especially if you’re interested in raising chicks, too.

In this article, you will find 20 of the best chicken breeds for egg production. They are also ranked by the average number of eggs they lay per year, making it easy to find the perfect fit for your needs. Let’s start!

How Many Eggs Do Chickens Lay?

Chicken laying eggs up close

A hen’s egg-laying ability can significantly vary. Typically, laying chickens can produce between 120 and 350 eggs every year. However, the exact number of eggs often hinges on the breed.

For instance, certain fowls, like ISA Brown and Leghorn chickens, are known to be among the best egg-laying chicken breeds around. These two can deliver approximately 290 to 350 eggs per year or even more.

Still, you should bear in mind that your chickens’ overall egg production also depends on various factors, including diet, genetics, environment, and general well-being.

Meanwhile, in a well-managed backyard flock, it’s common to anticipate one egg from two chickens each day. This means chicken keepers can collect a substantial number of fresh eggs weekly.

When Do Chickens Start Laying Eggs, and for How Long?

Chickens typically start laying eggs around 16 to 24 weeks old. Still, this can depend on the breed in question.

Some of the best egg-laying chickens, such as the Sussex chicken or Rhode Island Red, might begin their egg-laying cycle a bit earlier. Meanwhile, Australorps will tend to lay their first eggs at 22 weeks of age or later.

Once they start, though, hens will continue to lay eggs for several years. In fact, a healthy backyard chicken can provide eggs for about 5 to 10 years. However, the exact duration is often influenced by nutrition levels and care.

My friend James, a seasoned poultry keeper, once shared a fascinating insight into his chicken-keeping journey. He noted that most of his hens started laying eggs at around 5 to 6 months old.

Yet, James stressed that the output isn’t constant. As his fowls aged, he observed a drop in egg yield after their third year, which was dispiriting. He explained, “It’s a natural cycle — they start slowly, peak, and then decline.”

20 Best Chicken Breeds for Eggs

For those searching for the best chickens for eggs, it can take time to know where to begin. After all, there are so many breeds out there, and each one has its own unique characteristics.

Fortunately, this section breaks down the 20 best egg-laying chickens by their egg yield. This way, you can identify which fowl will likely make the most eggs — and which may be better suited for another purpose.

1. ISA Brown

ISA Brown
Egg Yield (Annual):300–350 eggs 
Egg Color:Light brown
Egg Size:Large

The ISA Brown, a breed of chicken developed by the Institut de Sélection Animale (ISA) in France in 1978, holds the top rank among the best chicken breeds for eggs.

Well-known for their exceptional egg-laying abilities, these chickens can lay 300 to 350 eggs per year, surpassing other popular fowl breeds.

Starting from around 22 weeks of age, ISA Browns begin producing eggs. This may be a little late, but they will continue to lay until they are about four years old.

Even more impressive, each egg they produce is large and light brown in hue, making them an appealing choice for those interested in breeding chickens for profit.

In terms of appearance, ISA Browns boast a reddish-orange plumage with white legs that contrast nicely against their bright red combs, eyes, and wattles.

2. Lohmann Brown

Lohmann Brown
Egg Yield (Annual):290–320 eggs
Egg Color:Brown
Egg Size:Large

If your goal is to raise chickens that lay more than 250 eggs a year, the Lohmann Brown is undoubtedly one of the best breeds to consider. These fowls’ large, brown eggs are known for their high fertility and hatchability.

Generally, Lohmann Browns start laying eggs relatively early, around 19 weeks old. They’re capable of producing a robust 290 to 320 eggs annually.

On top of that, the remarkable egg-laying capability of these chickens extends up to 72 weeks of age, promising a stable supply of eggs for nearly a year and a half.

Specifically, these chickens owe their superior performance to their crossbreed origin, specifically from the Rhode Island and White Rock breeds, which are also known for their excellent egg-laying traits.

3. Leghorn

Egg Yield (Annual):280–320 eggs
Egg Color:White
Egg Size:Large

Hailing from Italy, the Leghorn breed is recognized for being one of the best egg-laying chickens in existence, especially its white variety.

Basically, white Leghorns are known for their productivity, capable of laying between 280 and 320 large white eggs annually. This output amounts to 4 to 6 eggs per week, an impressive feat among chicken breeds.

Furthermore, Leghorn hens begin laying eggs at roughly 18 weeks old. Yet, these chickens are reputed to lay well into their third or fourth year, making them a consistent, reliable source of eggs.

As far as temperament is concerned, Leghorns tend to be friendly and docile by nature. However, they do not adapt well to confinement and are best raised outdoors as free-range fowls.

The following video shows a white Leghorn laying eggs:

Sharing our #whiteleghornchicken laying egg #poultry @ Wide Open Transit Farm

4. Sapphire Gem

Sapphire Gem
Image credit: taminator27 / Instagram
Egg Yield (Annual):280–300 eggs
Egg Color:Brown
Egg Size:Large

The Sapphire Gem, also known as the Blue Plymouth Rock or Sapphire Blue Plymouth Rock, is a hybrid breed with exceptional egg-laying abilities.

In fact, these chickens are noted as one of the best when it comes to producing large, brown eggs.

At around 4 to 6 months old, they start laying roughly five eggs per week, which equates to an annual yield of 280 to 300 eggs.

Apart from being prolific layers, Sapphire Gems are also cost-effective to keep, making them a popular choice among chicken keepers. They provide a steady source of eggs while not demanding excessive upkeep expenses.

What’s more, they’re very docile and make excellent pets for children who want to learn about raising livestock in their backyard.

5. Golden Comet

Golden Comet
Egg Yield (Annual):250–300 eggs
Egg Color:Light brown
Egg Size:Medium to large

The Golden Comet, a chicken breed first developed in the United States in the early 20th century for commercial egg-laying purposes, was created by crossing White Rock and Rhode Island Red chickens.

Their egg-laying prowess is evident as early as 16 weeks old, with the ability to produce 250 to 300 eggs a year. This high yield makes Golden Comets an excellent option for those looking for everyday egg production.

In addition to their egg-laying capabilities, these chickens stand out for their adaptability and easy management. They are hardy fowls that can thrive in various climates and environments.

Newbie poultry keepers will also appreciate that Golden Comets are relatively quiet chickens that don’t require too much space, special attention, or laborious care routines.

6. Rhode Island Red

Rhode Island Red
Egg Yield (Annual):250–300 eggs
Egg Color:Brown
Egg Size:Medium to large

The Rhode Island Red, one of the best chicken breeds for laying eggs, is highly esteemed for its dual-purpose abilities.

This breed is both an excellent egg layer and a substantial meat provider, making them a well-rounded choice for those seeking versatile backyard chickens.

My journey as a chicken keeper began with a humble flock of Rhode Island Red chickens. I meticulously raised these fowls, providing them with a warm, safe chicken coop.

They started to lay around 18 weeks old. It was a thrilling venture, collecting almost an egg daily. As the weeks turned into years, my best layers always churned about 300 eggs a year, proving the breed’s egg-laying prowess.

7. Sussex

Egg Yield (Annual):240–280 eggs
Egg Color:Cream, light brown
Egg Size:Large

The Sussex breed, renowned as one of the best chickens for both eggs and meat, graced the United States with its presence in 1912.

Originating from Britain, these dual-purpose chickens stand out with a diverse array of eight shades, all acknowledged by the American Poultry Association (APA). These colors include white, brown, red, buff, and silver.

However, it is worth noting that Sussex chickens particularly impress with their egg-laying capacity, producing between 240 and 280 large eggs annually.

Personality-wise, Sussexes are generally recommended for novice poultry enthusiasts. They are easygoing fowls that adapt well to any environment as long as they receive enough space and proper ventilation.

8. Easter Egger

Easter Egger
Image credit: mrs.nuenemanns_landleben / Instagram
Egg Yield (Annual):200–280 eggs
Egg Color:Green, blue, olive, pink, tan, cream
Egg Size:Medium

The Easter Egger, a fowl developed in the 1970s, is also one of the best chickens for eggs. A mix of Araucana and various American breeds, they’re remarkable hybrids that top the list of chickens that produce colored eggs.

To be specific, these chickens lay green, blue, olive, pink, tan, and cream-pigmented eggs, adding a vibrant touch to any egg basket.

Yet, with the capacity to produce around 200 to 280 eggs annually, Easter Eggers combine productivity with an impressive display of colors, making them a delightful addition to any backyard flock.

What’s more, these chickens are among the friendliest breeds around. Their gentle and sociable spirit makes them ideal companions for those who want to start their first poultry coop.

9. Australorp

Egg Yield (Annual):200–260 eggs
Egg Color:Light brown
Egg Size:Medium

The Australorp, an Australian utility breed, is a notable inclusion in this list of best egg-laying chickens.

This breed may start laying a bit later than others, around 6 to 7 months, but they make up for the late start with constant egg production.

Producing about 4 to 5 times a week, Australorps can lay between 200 and 260 eggs yearly. However, it’s worth noting that these chickens may experience a decrease in egg production around their fourth year.

When it comes to appearance, Australorps display three attractive colors: black, blue, and white. They also sport yellow-colored skin, which adds to their striking appeal.

Overall, Australorp chickens are a popular choice among poultry keepers. Their steadfast egg yield makes them one of the top picks for someone looking for a good layer.

10. Hamburg

Egg Yield (Annual):200–250 eggs
Egg Color:White
Egg Size:Medium

The Hamburg chicken, with its origins tracing back to 14th-century Holland, is a breed that combines a robust egg-laying ability with excellent foraging skills.

They start laying at a young age, approximately 4 to 5 months old, delivering a good yield of roughly 200 to 250 eggs in a single year.

Moreover, Hamburg chickens are well adapted to cold weather climates, a trait that makes them suitable for various geographical locations.

Yet, note that they’re not broody, so if you aim to hatch chicks, you might need to invest in an incubator.

Regardless, their tolerant streak and strong foraging skills make them an outstanding choice for those seeking low-maintenance poultry. They’re adept at finding food on their own without much upkeep from their owners.

11. Wyandotte

Egg Yield (Annual):200–250 eggs
Egg Color:Cream, brown
Egg Size:Large

The Wyandotte, first introduced in New York in the 1870s, is recognized for its dual-purpose productivity.

As prolific egg-laying chickens, these hens commence egg production at about 5 to 6 months old. In truth, you can expect a bountiful yield of 200 to 250 large, brown eggs yearly from a single hen.

Notably, Wyandottes are also valued for their meat, demonstrating their versatility. Further, these chickens are renowned for being unfazed by chilly conditions, making them an excellent choice for colder climates.

Moreover, Wyandotte hens exhibit great maternal instincts and are known for their broodiness. So for anyone who intends to hatch chicks, these female fowls will be very supportive and nurturing mothers.

All things considered, Wyandottes offer a mix of reliable egg production, quality meat, and ease of care, making them an all-around choice for chicken enthusiasts.

12. Plymouth Rock

Plymouth Rock
Egg Yield (Annual):200–230 eggs
Egg Color:Brown
Egg Size:Large

The Plymouth Rock, a chicken initially sighted in Massachusetts in the 19th century, serves two main purposes: meat and egg production. This dual-purpose functionality makes it a favorite among many owners.

To be exact, however, Plymouth Rock chickens’ egg-laying abilities kick in around the 20-week mark, consistently offering an abundant yield of between 200 and 230 eggs each year.

Their peak egg-laying performance typically occurs around their third year of life, and they will continue to lay eggs until they reach the age of ten.

While not generally considered a broody breed, these hens have been known to display broody tendencies. This means they may be inclined to sit on and hatch eggs that are not theirs.

The only downside with Plymouth Rocks is that they don’t do well in cold climates; they’re best suited for warmer weather areas where they can roam freely outdoors.

13. Ancona

Egg Yield (Annual):180–220 eggs
Egg Color:White
Egg Size:Medium

Originating from Italy, the Ancona is a mixed breed initially referred to as the black Leghorn. Their plumage is unique, with feathers being predominantly black and speckled evenly with white tips.

Getting down to the egg business, Anconas are known for their substantial egg production. At about five months old, they start laying medium-sized white eggs and continue this all year round.

As a matter of fact, their annual egg count can tally up to a remarkable 220.

Consistent in their egg-laying, Ancona chickens can maintain their prolific production up to their fourth year. However, it’s good to note that their egg yield may lessen as they age beyond this.

When it comes to mothering, broodiness is not a significant trait of the Ancona breed, so they often choose not to sit on their eggs.

14. Barnevelder

Egg Yield (Annual):170–200 eggs
Egg Color:Dark brown, chocolate
Egg Size:Medium

Tracing their roots to the Barneveld region in the Netherlands, the Barnevelder is a chicken breed well-known for its egg-laying prowess.

Despite starting their egg-laying cycle a little late — at roughly eight months old — these hens possess an admirable annual egg output. Specifically, they can yield between 170 and 200 eggs each year.

Yet, what sets Barnevelders apart from other chicken breeds is their ability to lay eggs even during the cold winter season.

However, remember that the frequency of their egg-laying during this period may depend on the size of their comb, with a smaller one indicating better resistance to low temperatures.

Predator evasion is another strong suit of Barnevelder chickens. Their survival instincts are sharp, which makes them durable and dependable companions for various farm environments.

15. Marans

Egg Yield (Annual):150–200 eggs
Egg Color:Dark chocolate brown
Egg Size:Large

Hailing from France, the Marans breed is a significant inclusion in this list of the 20 best chicken breeds for eggs. With a lifespan of up to eight years, these fowls offer a long period of productivity.

Interestingly, they begin their egg-laying course around 5 to 6 months old, unfailingly continuing until they reach the age of six or seven years.

One of the most remarkable attributes of Marans chickens are their annual egg yield. They are adept at laying around 200 eggs a year, which is a considerable quantity for small-scale keepers or hobby farmers.

Despite not being consistently broody, Marans hens can still turn out to be good mothers. They go about raising their chicks with great care and diligence.

On another note, these chickens lay eggs that are quite distinct in appearance. Their eggs are large and boast a rich, dark chocolate brown color.

16. Orpington

Orpington walking on dirt
Egg Yield (Annual):150–200 eggs
Egg Color:Light brown
Egg Size:Large

Meet the Orpington, a top contender for the title of the best chicken for laying eggs.

Emerging from England in 1886, this breed serves a dual purpose, providing ample eggs and being excellent table meats. Simply put, they are versatile assets in any poultry operation.

From 5 to 7 months old, Orpingtons kick off their egg-laying routine. Annually, they lay an outstanding 150 to 200 eggs. Yet, it’s vital to note that their production tends to decrease after they hit the three-year mark.

While they’re great mothers, Orpington hens aren’t known for being overly broody. Plus, they need a specific temperature to thrive, as these chickens are more sensitive to heat, making them less suitable for warmer climates.

Another thing to keep in mind about Orpingtons is their preference for freedom. Their ideal habitat would be a free-range setup, offering plenty of space to explore.

17. Ameraucana

Egg Yield (Annual):150–200 eggs
Egg Color:Blue, green
Egg Size:Medium

Here comes the Ameraucana, a type of designer chicken created in the 1970s. They were born from a mix of Araucanas and other breeds, with the goal of eliminating inconvenient genes.

This fine-tuning resulted in a breed that’s a powerhouse in the poultry world.

Starting as early as 5 to 6 months old, Ameraucanas become egg-laying machines. In fact, these hens can produce up to 200 eggs per year.

However, note that just like other breeds, their egg production comes to a pause when the molting season arrives. Yet, do not worry, as these chickens will bounce back to their routine once this phase is over.

Although Ameraucanas might not always be broody, they’re known for their strong mothering instinct. This attribute makes them a suitable choice for those looking to breed chickens.

18. Welsummer

Egg Yield (Annual):150–200 eggs
Egg Color:Reddish-brown, dark brown
Egg Size:Large

Next is the Welsummer, a domestic chicken breed that originally hails from the Netherlands. Known for their striking egg color, these fowls add a tinge of rustic charm to any backyard flock.

From about 20 to 24 weeks of age, Welsummers begin their egg-laying journey. They can produce a notable number of eggs each year, averaging between 150 and 200.

However, it’s important to highlight that as these chickens age, their egg-laying capacity decreases. In fact, when they reach 18 months old, the frequency and quality of their eggs start to drop.

Moreover, while they may sometimes go broody, Welsummers are not known for their maternal instincts. They’re easily distracted from their nests and are generally considered poor mothers.

Despite these traits, Welsummer hens still make for a great egg producer. They are prolific egg layers and can be pretty hardy under good care.

19. Minorca

Image credit: pebblethechicken / Instagram
Egg Yield (Annual):120–200 eggs
Egg Color:White
Egg Size:Large

The Minorca, a breed believed to have originated in Spain, has charmed chicken enthusiasts around the globe.

The main reason behind this is that they bring together an excellent balance of charm, alertness, and noteworthy egg production, making them a viable candidate in this list of top egg-laying chickens.

Minorcas typically start laying eggs at about 26 to 28 weeks of age. Although late, their patience is rewarded, as these fowls can lay up to 200 eggs in a single year.

Still, keep in mind that they are not just about numbers when it comes to female Minorcas. These hens are known for their white eggs, which are notably large compared to many other breeds.

However, suppose you’re searching for broody hens. In this case, there might be better choices than Minorcas, as they are not naturally inclined to brood.

20. Araucana

Egg Yield (Annual):120–180 eggs
Egg Color:Blue, green
Egg Size:Medium to large

If you’re looking for the best chicken breed for laying eggs, you’ll want to consider the Araucana. Native to Chile — as per the Araucana Club of America (ACA) — this type of chicken is admired for its green and blue eggs.

Araucanas begin their egg-laying journey when they are between 20 and 24 weeks old. Yet, despite a slightly later start compared to other chicken breeds, their annual egg yield can reach up to 180.

Known for their protective mothering instincts, these fowls also exhibit broodiness. This characteristic ensures the safe and successful hatching of their eggs.

Temperament-wise, Araucana chickens have a docile nature. In short, they are recognized to adapt quickly to human interaction, which makes them an ideal option for those new to chicken keeping.

Interestingly, a few distinctive features of this breed are their small pea combs, fluffy ear tufts, and lack of tail feathers.

Benefits of Hybrid Chickens

When you are considering chicken breeds for eggs, note that hybrid fowls stand out for their unique benefits. This is unsurprising, as they are designed to combine the best traits of two or more types of chickens.

The following are some of the advantages of owning hybrid breeds:

  • High egg production: Hybrid chickens are prolific egg layers created through selective breeding to maximize egg yield. These designer chickens are capable of laying around 200 eggs or more annually, ensuring a steady supply of fresh eggs for chicken keepers.
  • Consistent egg size and quality: Hybrids are known for their consistent egg production, both in quantity and quality. In fact, whether it’s large white eggs, brown, or even blue ones, you can rely on these breeds for a uniform batch of eggs every time.
  • Early maturation: Hybrid chickens often mature faster than purebreds. This means they start laying eggs sooner, often as early as 16 to 18 weeks old. So for chicken keepers eager to see results, these breeds can be rewarding to raise.
  • Adaptability: Hybrid chickens display excellent adaptability. They thrive in various climates and are resilient, even under stressful conditions. This hardiness often translates into their egg-laying ability, making them less likely to stop laying during less-than-ideal situations.

As you can see, the benefits of hybrid chickens make them an excellent pick for those interested in high egg production. These fowls balance quantity and quality while ensuring early growth and adaptability.

Benefits of Heritage Chickens

Heritage chicken side profile

While hybrid fowls have their perks, heritage chickens, the original breeds of the chicken world, also possess remarkable qualities. They are often the best chickens for laying eggs when considering aspects beyond just yield.

Below are a few benefits of raising chickens that are specific to their heritage status:

  • Preservation of genetic diversity: Heritage chickens play a crucial role in preserving genetic diversity. Raising these breeds supports the continuation of distinctive genes, which are vital for the overall health and resilience of the chicken population.
  • Hardiness: Heritage breeds are typically hardy, often resistant to diseases, and able to thrive in various climates. Hence, if you’re a beginner chicken keeper looking for low-maintenance laying hens, heritage breeds might be the right choice for you.
  • Longevity and sustainability: Heritage chickens are known for their longevity and sustainable egg production. Although they may not lay an egg every day, these breeds will consistently produce eggs for many years, often more than their hybrid counterparts.
  • Diverse egg colors and sizes: If you’re interested in a colorful egg basket, heritage chickens are your best bet. From large, brown eggs to smaller, tinted ones, these breeds can provide a delightful array of egg colors and sizes.

Overall, heritage chickens, with their genetic diversity, hardiness, longevity, and ability to produce a variety of eggs, are a valuable addition to any backyard pen.

How to Keep Egg Production High

In your quest for high egg production, understanding how to nurture your chickens is vital. In this section, you will learn about the key factors that can help ensure your flock consistently produces a high yield of eggs.

1. Provide comfortable nesting boxes

Generally speaking, well-made nesting boxes make your female chickens feel secure, promoting a happy, productive flock. Each nesting box should be spacious enough for a hen to sit comfortably, helping it lay lots of eggs.

2. Maintain optimal health

More often than not, the health of your chickens is directly linked to their egg production rate. Fortunately, regular check-ups, vaccinations, and pest control can help ensure your flock stays healthy and productive.

3. Ensure balanced nutrition

A balanced diet is crucial for high egg yield. In other words, your hens require sufficient protein and calcium to produce tons of high-quality eggs.

Luckily, some commercial egg feeds are designed to meet these nutritional needs, aiding in constant egg production.

4. Keep stress levels low

Chicken breeds, like all animals, are susceptible to stress, which can reduce their egg-laying ability.

To be specific, predators, frequent changes in the coop, or even overcrowded conditions can cause stress. Thus, make sure to minimize these factors to keep your egg production high.

In my early years of chicken keeping, I found my egg yield was far below the expected 200 eggs per year. I had one of the best egg layer chickens, the Wyandotte, but the results were unsatisfactory.

I realized my hens weren’t happy chickens, as the coop was too close to the bustling street, causing stress. When I moved it to a calmer location, the laying breed began to thrive, meeting the 250 eggs per year milestone.

5. Implement proper lighting

Usually, chickens need adequate daylight to maintain high egg production. As a matter of fact, there are certain breeds that lay eggs based on the number of daylight hours they get.

Hence, during winter months, adding proper lighting to the chicken coop can help maintain egg output.

6. Maintain adequate hydration

Lastly, hydration is crucial. Always remember that dehydrated chickens can experience a drop in egg production.

Furthermore, eggs are primarily composed of moisture; therefore, ensure your chickens have access to clean, fresh water at all times.

Frequently Asked Questions

Two chickens walking on the grass

What Chicken Lays 350 Eggs a Year?

The ISA Brown chicken is the breed that produces an impressive 300 to 350 eggs a year.

Renowned as one of the best chicken egg layers, this breed can lay around six eggs a week, surpassing the typical 200 eggs a year by most chickens.

Overall, the ISA Browns’ high productivity makes it a popular option in the egg industry.

What Kind of Chicken Lays Two Eggs a Day?

It’s unusual for chickens to lay two eggs a day, as most breeds lay one. However, Ancona and Wyandotte chickens, some of the best chickens for laying eggs, occasionally defy this rule.

While it generally takes 24 hours to develop an egg in a chicken’s body, these breeds exhibit a genetic trait that may cause them to produce a second egg within the same day.

What Are the Best Egg Layers for Beginners?

If you’re a newbie looking for the best-laying hens, consider breeds like Rhode Island Red, Australorp, Leghorn, Easter Egger, and Plymouth Rock chickens.

These breeds are beginner-friendly and known for being hardy, reducing the challenges often faced in chicken keeping. They also make great egg layers, with some even laying around 200 eggs per year.

Ultimately, the quest for finding the best chicken breeds for eggs depends on individual preferences and needs. Feel free to share your experiences or ask questions about these best egg-laying chickens in the comments!

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