What are the Top 7 Egg Laying Chickens For Your Backyard

Nothing can beat the taste of freshly laid hen eggs. And if you have the best breeds of egg laying chickens, you can be assured of plenty of delicious eggs every day, 365 days of the year. When choosing the top egg-laying chicken breeds, plenty of hen varieties exist. Some egg-laying hens lay large brown eggs, whereas other breeds lay medium-sized eggs and are good for meat.

Egg Laying Chickens For Your Backyard

Whether you are starting a small homestead to raise chickens and have fresh eggs or want a couple of egg-laying backyard chickens for eggs and meat, you will find a suitable breed of egg-laying hen. 

Do you want to know the difference in egg size between a Leghorn and Isa Brown? But which egg-laying hen breed lays the largest eggs? But suppose you want a good egg-laying chicken for meat and eggs. In that case, which chicken breed should you buy?

If you want to find the answers, please continue reading because we’ve got the scoop on the coop.

The Best Egg Laying Chickens

Egg-laying chickens are becoming increasingly popular for their meat and tasty eggs. The best chicken breeds for producing eggs typically lay between 250 and 300 eggs per year. In addition, the best egg layers have qualities such as disease resistance, calm temperaments, and adaptability. Popular breeds include Rhode Island Reds, Isa Browns, Leghorns, and Plymouth Rocks

1/ Leghorn — Produces Most Eggs Annually

Leghorn chickens are on top of the “pecking order” regarding the number of eggs they lay. Leghorns lay between 280 and 320 medium-white eggs per year. These backyard chickens can be spritely noisy birds and can take to flying easily. Regarding egg-laying, an advantage of leghorns is that they rarely become broody.

Leghorns may not be the best choice for egg-laying chickens if you are a beginner. However, if you already own some chickens and want a high-producing egg layer, then leghorns are the ideal choice. In addition, their white feathers and bright red comb make them attractive chicks. 


Why choose egg-laying leghorn chickens? Leghorn chickens produce over 300 eggs annually. However, they are more suited to seasoned backyard chicken owners because they are nervous and hard to tame.

2/ Isa Brown — High Annual Egg Production

Isa Brown hens are among the most popular breeds of egg-laying hens—and for good reason. These big, robust, brown-feathered chickens can lay between 300 and 350 eggs per year. Simply put—their feed-to-egg conversion is among the best in the industry. Therefore, Isa browns are economical birds as they consume less feed while producing more eggs.

If you are a beginner backyard hen owner, then Isa Browns are a reliable egg-laying breed. Additionally, they have a gentle temperament, don’t make much noise, and are relatively low maintenance. 

Top egg layer

Why choose egg-laying Isa Brown chickens? Of all the hen-laying breeds, Isa browns are the most prolific layers with a calm, docile temperament. 

3/ Rhode Island Red — Excellent Egg Laying Hens

Rhode Island Red — Excellent Egg Laying Hens

Rhode Island Red egg-laying chickens are an excellent breed for the volume of eggs they produce. The attractive reddish-brown chickens, with their showy tails and bright red combs, can lay around 150 to 250 eggs in a year. In addition, the birds have plump bodies, making them ideal for meat. 

One of the great things about Rhode Island Reds is their habit of foraging. They will peck around the yard, catching bugs and eating weeds. In addition, the chicks are docile with mild temperaments. Finally, they are easy to handle, making them ideal if you have children. 

Excellent Egg Laying Hens

Why choose egg-laying Rhode Island Red chickens? These chickens are ideal for first-time chicken owners as they are calm and lay dozens of eggs monthly. However, they need space to roam and forage and do not like being cooped up during the day.

4/ Plymouth Rock — Large Eggs

The Plymouth Rock breed is one of the best egg-laying chickens for beginner backyard hen owners. These attractive black and white chickens are dependable layers and produce 200 to 250 large brown eggs annually. Because they are relatively straightforward to tame and don’t make a lot of noise, they are popular backyard chickens. 

One of the advantages of Plymouth Rock is that they do not startle easily and are easy to handle. These characteristics are ideal if pets and children are in the backyard. Therefore, they are reliable layers and will give you four to five eggs a week. 

Lay Large Eggs

Why choose egg-laying Plymouth Rock chickens? These elegant, bluish-black, and white chicks are calm birds and easy to care for. The hens have brooding tendencies and make good mothers. Plymouth Rock chickens are good dual-purpose birds—ideal for eggs and meat. 

5/ Australorp — Chickens for Large Brown Eggs

Australorp is an ideal egg-laying breed for large brown eggs. Autaralorp chickens are stunning to look at, with their metallic-green feathers contrasting with jet-black ones. In addition, the chicken breed was developed from black Orpington stock—a bird with impressive egg-laying capabilities. You can expect almost one egg per day from these chickens. 

As a top egg-producing chicken, Australorp continues laying during colder months. As a result, they are ideal as free-range backyard hens as they love to forage. In addition, there is no risk of them flying or roosting in trees—as is common with some chickens. 

Fun fact: An Australorp chicken holds the world record for the number of eggs produced in a year—a whopping 364! One short of laying an egg per day for 12 months. 

Chickens for Large Brown Eggs

Why choose egg-laying Australorp chickens? These egg-laying chickens have superior egg-laying capabilities and continue laying in cold weather. As a result, they are perfect for free-range backyards. 

6/ Sussex — Ideal for Meat and Large Brown Eggs

Sussex chickens are gentle and docile

The Sussex chicken breed is ideal for a backyard chicken run or homestead. The large bird can have white feathers with a black tail or brown with white speckles. Regarding egg production, this heritage breed lays up to 250 eggs per year. They are also good for poultry meat. 

Sussex chickens are gentle and docile and great around children. They are friendly birds, curious, and easy to tame—ideal for beginner chicken owners. They are also placid and happily live side-by-side with small bantam breeds. However, this characteristic means they don’t do well with aggressive birds in the coop. 

Why choose egg-laying Sussex chickens

Why choose egg-laying Sussex chickens? This is an ideal egg-laying chicken breed for good egg and meat production. They are also perfect for first-timers who are starting their first chicken coop. 

7/ Orpington — Calm Egg Laying Hen

The Orpington breed is an excellent egg-laying hen with thick plumage making it ideal for colder climates. These attractive birds are happy being cooped up or foraging in the backyard for grubs. If you add some Orpingtons to your fowl enclosure, you can expect around 200 eggs per year. 

Orpington chickens are known for their calm and friendly dispositions, red combs, and large body size. This robust, versatile bird can be used as a layer or table bird. They are inquisitive and friendly, although the hens can become broody in the summer when egg production slows down. 

Calm Egg Laying Hen

Why choose egg-laying Orpington chickens? These hens are great all-rounders for eggs and poultry meat. They are some of the biggest egg-laying hens and have meaty bodies. However, they need plenty of time in the coop to stay healthy.

The Best Egg Laying Hens Compared

BreedWeight (lbs.)Chicken colorEgg ColorEgg SizeEggs/yearBest forTemperament
Leghorn4.5WhiteWhiteMedium320LayerNervous and flighty
Isa Brown6BrownLight brownMedium300-350LayerCalm
Rhode Island Red6.5Rusty-brown to dark brownBrownExtra large150-250Laying and meatPlacid
Plymouth Rock7.5Black and whiteBrownLarge200-250Eggs and meatGentle and tame
Australop6.5Iridescent black and greenLight brownLarge250-300Meat and eggsGentle and broody
Sussex7Brown speckled or white and blackBrownLarge200-250Meat and layingPlacid and broody
Orpington8Iridescent black or tanBrownLarge175-200Eggs and meatCalm and gentle

FAQsAbout Egg Laying Chickens

How Many Eggs Will Two Chickens Lay a Week?

Two chickens will lay nine or ten eggs a week. However, several factors affect egg production. For example, age, health, diet, breed, and season affect how many eggs you can expect from two chickens. However, you may get as many as five or six eggs weekly from some of the best egg-laying chickens.

Do Hens Need a Rooster to Lay Eggs?

rooster can be beneficial in a coop

Egg-laying chickens do not require a rooster to lay eggs. This is great news if you don’t want to be woken every morning when roosters start crowing at 5 am. The egg-laying process does not involve fertilization; therefore, hens will lay eggs regardless of whether there is a rooster present or not.

However, a rooster can be beneficial in a coop. The male chickens provide protection for a flock of hens and promote well-being. However, too many roosters cause aggressive behavior, fighting, and feathers flying in the air—quite literally.

Therefore, if you want to build a small chicken coop with multiple hens, one rooster will be enough. 

What Foods Increase Egg Production in Chickens?

To produce the most number of eggs, hens need a diet rich in protein, calcium, and vitamins. Egg layers require balanced chicken feed containing 15 to 18 percent protein. Good protein sources to increase egg production include grains, seeds, and pulses. Calcium is essential for healthy egg production so that the eggs have strong shells.

A lack of calcium in the diet of egg-laying hens can lead to brittle bones. To stay healthy and optimize egg production, hens need a range of vitamins like A, D, E, and K. Additionally, vitamins B1 and B2 are necessary for growth and good metabolism.

Other foods to maximize the number of eggs you get include eggshells, Japanese beetles, fruit, fresh vegetables, mealworms, and scratch grains.  

When do Chickens Start to Lay?

According to experts, chickens start laying eggs between 18 and 22 weeks of age. However, factors like breed, nutrition, and housing can all impact egg production. However, by six months old, a healthy hen should be laying one egg every second day or so.

It’s good to remember that egg production slows in the winter months due to shorter daylight hours.

How Long will Chickens Lay Eggs for?

Pullets (chickens less than a year old) start laying eggs around the 18 to 22-week mark. The hens will continue laying eggs for three to four years. With proper care, a good diet, and a secure chicken coop, you can help hens to lay eggs for several years. However, egg quality starts to diminish after three years.  

Best Conditions for Egg-Laying Chickens?

Feed—Give egg-laying hens a balanced diet containing calcium and up to 18 percent of protein will boost egg production. Additionally, cracked corn, bugs, fresh fruit and veg can also help keep your feathery friends healthy.

Water—Like humans, poultry need water to survive. Therefore, hens that lay eggs need a constant supply of water, and they should drink as often as they need. An ideal pH level for hens is 6.0 to 6.8, and water from the tap is generally fine for hens. 

Space–Healthy hens that produce plenty of eggs need space to feel comfortable. According to hen experts at the University of Georgia, you should ensure that each egg-laying hen has at least 3.5 sq. ft. However, to keep poultry healthy in a backyard, 4 sq. ft. would be better. Therefore, the coop should be 12 sq. ft if you have three regular-sized chickens.

Chickens also need plenty of space in a pen to run outdoors.

Best Conditions for Egg-Laying Chickens

Nesting boxes—The top egg-producing hens like Plymouth Rocks, Sussex, and Leghorns need a nesting box that is 1 ft. tall, deep, and wide. You will also need around one nesting box for 4 to 5 hens. The nesting box should be big enough for the hen to feel comfortable yet small enough to feel safe.

Stress-free environment—Chickens don’t produce many eggs when stressed. Therefore, to maximize egg production, you must ensure that your hens live in a stress-free environment. This also means keeping the coop clean and free from predators. Additionally, it’s crucial to provide shade in the summer and warmth in the winter. Lastly, keeping the hens away from loud noises and other animals is important.

Not only will stress-free hens produce more eggs, but they will also be tastier. 

The Best Egg Laying Hens — In Conclusion

The best egg laying hens are Leghorns, Plymouth Rocks, Isa Brown, and Australorp. These excellent breeds will pop out an egg almost every day. These high-producing layers are known for their hardiness and reliability, ensuring your egg basket is always full. Additionally, to maximize the number of eggs you get from your hens, you need to provide them with a balanced diet, plenty of water, space to roam, and nesting boxes.