Top RANKED 13 Best Egg Laying Chickens For Your Backyard Farm

Raising chickens for eggs is a fun experience for many backyard farmers and is often the first thing that people try when first starting out. However, not all chicken breeds are equal when it comes to laying eggs. If you want the best egg laying chickens to have good production on your farm I’ve got you covered.

Some breeds are more productive than others, while some are known for their docile temperament, while others are feisty and independent.

best egg laying chickens intro image

It’s no secret that I am all about making choices for your backyard farm that lead to your ultimate goals for the lifestyle you want to live. And raising chickens and choosing the best chicken breeds intentionally is no exception.

And to do that you need to understand what your goals are, and then find the best breed for you.

How To Choose The Best Chicken Breeds Based On Your Goals

Your choices dictate your actions. What does that mean?

The things you want out of your backyard farm will dictate what you buy, the breeds you choose, the things you grow, how you choose to raise your chickens.

Choices: If you want to have a big garden and you want to free-range chickens. That’s simply not going to work. Chickens can destroy your garden in a matter of hours. They will dig up your freshly germinated plants, they will eat the flowers off your tomato and cucumber plants, and they will eat the leaves off your plants so much so that they can’t get enough sunlight to grow.

Actions: If you want to have a big garden AND chickens you are going to have to keep your chickens penned in while the garden is in season. Just facts. BUT not only that you are going to have to put a top on the chicken run or have a top on it to keep chickens in. OR get a chicken breed that can’t get out like Cochins’.

Choices: You are fully focused on getting your backyard farm to operate in the most efficient way possible and produce food for your family.

Actions: You are going to raise a chicken breed that was developed to produce eggs well. Picking the breed that you think is the cutest is not an option.

Choices: You are only creating a backyard farm for your family’s enjoyment and so you have something to do together off screens.

Actions: Then you want to choose a breed that is friendly and likes or would not mind BUT you also need to set up a budget around how much you want to spend per month on chicken feed.

Does that make sense? You have to know what you are working towards in your backyard farm first so you can take intentional action. Take these thoughts into account when you are trying to find the right breed of chickens for you.

chicken eggs in a carton

Different Chicken Categories

Are you considering starting a backyard farm and wondering which chicken breed is the best for you? Choosing the right chicken breed can make all the difference when it comes to achieving your backyard farm goals. Here are some tips to help you choose the perfect breed.

Think about what you want from your chickens. Are you looking for them to be great layers or do you want them primarily as meat birds? Or both?

Some breeds, like Leghorns, are known for their prolific egg-laying abilities but they are useless if you plan to eat your chickens after they have stopped laying eggs.

While others like Cornish Crosses are bred specifically for meat production.

If you’re after chickens that could work for meat and also are decent at laying eggs. Dual-purpose chickens, then Rhode Island Reds or Plymouth Rocks would be great options.

Columbian wyandotte chicken

Egg Laying Chickens

Egg-laying chickens are an awesome addition to any backyard or farm. These feathered friends are known for their ability to lay delicious, nutritious eggs that can be used in countless recipes. There are many different breeds of egg-laying chickens, each with its own unique personality and egg-laying abilities.

In my opinion, the top breed of egg-laying chicken is the Leghorn. Originally from Italy, Leghorns are known for being productive layers that can produce up to 320 eggs per year! They also have sweet personalities and enjoy spending time outside scratching in the dirt and taking dust baths. In addition to producing large quantities of eggs, Leghorns are also great foragers and can help keep pests like ticks and beetles under control in your yard or garden.

Another common breed of egg-laying chicken is the Rhode Island Red.

Meat Chickens

There is really only one main breed that was developed to produce meat and they can be ready to butcher in less than 10 weeks if you do it right. Cornish Rock Cross chickens grow extremely fast and are way messier than your standard egg-laying chicken. If you want to learn more about them make sure to read this post. If you want to learn how to raise meat chickens efficiently you need to read this post.

What Are Dual Purpose Chickens

Dual purpose chicken breeds are the perfect solution for those who want to keep chickens that can serve two purposes. These breeds are known for their ability to lay larger quantities of eggs (however they are not going to be quite as good as breeds that are solely focused on egg laying) and provide a quality meat source. With the popularity of backyard chicken keeping on the rise, dual-purpose breeds are becoming more and more popular with hobby farmers across the country.

One of the primary benefits of having dual-purpose chicken breeds is that they do not require separate flocks for egg-laying and meat production. This means you can enjoy fresh eggs from your chickens while also being able to harvest them for meat when they reach maturity. Additionally, these birds tend to be hardy, adaptable, and easy to care for, making them an ideal choice for beginners or those who have limited experience with raising chickens.

If you’re looking for a rewarding experience in backyard farming, consider adding some dual-purpose chicken breeds to your flock.

chicken eggs sitting on a cloth

Temperament Definitions

I have been a big supporter of Cackle Hatchery and one big thing I love about them is their temperament “grade” if you will on each chicken breed. But you still have to read between the lines. While I am still going to give you my own personal opinion of the breeds I have had experience with you still have to use logic.

They aren’t going to say “this breed has a tendency to be a jerk” but being very active or active is going to indicate that the breed can have a much higher chance of being aggressive.

And there are some chickens you simply can’t fix. So if you run into that issue you are just going to have to know what you plan to do ahead of time. Are you going to add them to the freezer or put up with the little twerp? The last one is a hard ” over my dead body, no” for me.

Also, keep in mind the larger you go oftentimes the calmer the breed. Its that way with dogs, rabbits, and most livestock so chickens tend to be the same way for the most part.

  • Very Active – This is going to depend on the breed but personally, I would say you have a 50/50 chance that your chickens are going to be mean. But this also means that the breed needs space to move. They wouldn’t do well in the city or in a small chicken run.
  • Active – Less active but still can have a grouchy temperament.
  • Flighty – This typically means they scare easily. So they may not attack you but they are going to be hard to contain. Having a dog that likes to chase chickens could cause them to get scared enough to die or run into something to get away from the thing chasing them which would kill them.
  • Active Yet Gentle – These breeds like to roam and check things out. BUT they are good with people and often show interest in what you are doing. This does not mean they want to be picked up or will come to you like a dog or cat.
  • Docile – Good-tempered and easy to handle.

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Top Chicken Breeds In Order Of Egg Production

In this blog post, we’ll go through the best egg-laying chicken breeds, the average number of eggs they produce each year, their size, and their temperament.

Leghorn (220-300 Eggs Per Year)

  • Hen – 4.5. pounds
  • Rooster – 6 pounds
  • Purpose – Egg Laying
  • Egg Color – White
  • Temperament – Very Active
white leghorn

Known for their high egg production, Leghorn chickens lay around 280-320 white eggs per year. They are small to medium-sized chickens, with roosters weighing around 6-7 pounds and hens weighing around 4-5 pounds.

They are an active, flighty, and independent breed. They are not for someone who wants a nice friendly flock of chickens. But if you are focused on choosing a breed for the best production this is the breed to get. They have both the white leghorn and the brown leghorn but the brown color isn’t just brown. They look like your typical multi-colored rooster. They would do well in hot climates because they are slender-bodied.

Golden Comet (250-320 Eggs Per Year)

  • Hen – 6-7 pounds
  • Rooster – 8-9 pounds
  • Purpose – Egg Laying
  • Egg Color – Light Brown
  • Temperament – Active
Golden Comet flock of chickens

The Golden Comet chicken is a variety of cross-bred chicken that excels in laying large brown-shelled eggs. Every year, a single hen can lay up to 300 eggs, making it an ideal choice for the commercial egg industry. The chicks of the Golden Comet breed are sex-linked, meaning they can be identified based on their down feather color as soon as they are hatched. This helps to distinguish more quickly between layers and cockerels.

I would rank them with the leghorns as far as egg production capabilities. HOWEVER. the ones we had were pretty bossy and did not do well with newcomers. But they are ok with people if you keep a dominant air about you.

We had a flock of about ten comet hens and no rooster at the time. The hen who took the place of the flock leader was BOSSY they didn’t let our young turkeys get to the food to the point of us losing one. And once we brought a 12-pound Jersey Giant Rooster (we are talking a really large bird) home from my mom she beat the living daylights out of him. They went at it for a really long time and all I could do was watch and make sure they didn’t kill each other. But they had no choice but to learn how to get along.

Rhode Island Red (200-280 Eggs Per Year)

(The runner-up is the Production Red which lay about the same but are not as common. They do have a better temperament than RIR so If you have the choice defiantly go with the Production Red Over these.)

  • Hen – 6.5. pounds
  • Rooster – 8.5 pounds
  • Purpose – Egg Laying (primary), Meat Source (Secondary)
  • Egg Color – Brown
  • Temperament – Active
Rhode island red hen

Another popular breed for egg production, Rhode Island Reds lay around 200-280 brown eggs per year. They are a medium-sized breed, with roosters weighing around 8.5 pounds and hens weighing around 6.5 pounds.

Somehow people promote these as friendly all over the internet and yet EVERY single interaction I have had with these birds has been that they are aggressive and even mean.

We took in a small flock of Rhode Island Red chickens from our neighbor who had to move and couldn’t take them and the rooster started stocking our dogs and out of nowhere kicked at our Saint Bernard who has never chased a chicken in his life. (The look on that dog’s face was hilarious. He had never had a chicken come at him before and I think he was in just as much shock as I was.)

Good layers, easy to find, but do not recommend if you don’t want to have to watch your back when being around your backyard flock. However, they would do pretty well in cold climates.

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Australorp (200-280 Eggs Per Year)

  • Hen – 6.5. pounds
  • Rooster – 8.5 pounds
  • Purpose – Egg Laying (primary), Meat Source (Secondary)
  • Egg Color – Brown
  • Temperament – Active Yet Gentle
black australorp hen

Originally from Australia and really are a great breed. Australorps are known for their docile temperament and excellent egg production, laying around 200-280 brown eggs per year. They are a large breed, with roosters weighing around 8.5 pounds and hens weighing around 6.5 pounds and lay large eggs.

I have to say that my experience with this breed has always been good. The hens are always inquisitive and good-tempered. They are active and like to go check things out and roam around. But they have always been well-behaved and never mean. If you get a rooster you may have to remind him once who’s boss but it’s not often if ever that they test the boundaries.

Easter Egger (200-280 Eggs Per Year)

  • Hen – 5.5 pounds
  • Rooster – 6.5pounds
  • Purpose – Egg Laying
  • Egg Color – Blue, Green, Pink, multi-color
  • Temperament – Active
easter egger hen

Easter Eggers are one of those hybrid breeds, known for their colorful eggs that can range from blue to green to pink. They lay around 200-280 eggs per year and are a small to medium-sized breed, with roosters weighing 6-7 pounds and hens weighing 5.5 pounds.

They aren’t to bad temperament-wise but will bite if aggravated or in a situation like at a 4-H show due to the stress level. They do like to venture out in the yard and would need a high fence if you plan to keep them in.

Orpington (200-280 Eggs Per Year)

  • Hen – 8 pounds
  • Rooster – 10 pounds
  • Purpose – Egg Laying (primary), Meat Source (Secondary)
  • Egg Color – Brown
  • Temperament – Docile
buff Orpington hen

Orpingtons are a large breed, with roosters weighing around 10-11 pounds and hens weighing around 8 pounds. They are known for their docile temperament and excellent egg production, laying around 200-280 brown eggs per year.

The Orpington chicken is a popular breed of domesticated poultry. Developed in England, they are well known for buff Orpington with their bright orange coloring, though there are also less common colors out there as well like the lavender Orpington but those other colors do not produce as many eggs.

Quick to mature, friendly, and easy to raise, Orpingtons make excellent pets and backyard chickens due to their high production of eggs – over 200 per year! Additionally, they have been successfully exhibited as show chickens at many events. If I wasn’t so adamant about keeping my chickens contained so they didn’t destroy my landscaping I would definitely get more because they are one of my favorite breeds of chickens. They are also a great dual-purpose breed.

New Hampshire (200-280 Eggs Per Year)

  • Hen – 6.5 pounds
  • Rooster – 8.5 pounds
  • Purpose – Egg Laying (primary), Meat Source (Secondary), pet
  • Egg Color – Brown
  • Temperament – Docile

For those looking for top-notch egg-laying chickens, the New Hampshire Red is an excellent choice. This breed has a long history of producing a lot of eggs and still having a good temperament. Their size makes them easy to manage and they are quite docile – perfect for those new to raising chickens.

New Hampshire Reds also make great pets due to their social and friendly personalities. Whether you are just starting out in the poultry business or you are a seasoned farmer looking for a reliable egg producer, the New Hampshire Red is an ideal choice to consider!

Wyandotte (180-260 Eggs Per Year)

  • Hen – 6.5 pounds
  • Rooster – 8 pounds
  • Purpose – Egg Laying (primary), Meat Source (Secondary)
  • Egg Color – Brown
  • Temperament – Docile
silver laced wyandotte

Wyandotte chickens are a large, dual-purpose heritage breed of chicken. They are well known for their unique and wide variety of feather patterns, especially the silver-laced, red-blue-laced, Columbian, and golden-laced varieties. Wyandottes are extremely cold hardy, making them great wintertime egg layers. On average, these chickens lay 200 large brown eggs per year, with some larger and heavier hens producing close to 300 eggs per year!

The temperament of the Wyandotte is also quite remarkable–they’re friendly and docile birds who get along well with other chickens in the coop. Several of ours LOVED IT when we got baby chickens and brought them outside. They almost immediately took over and started “teaching them the ropes” of looking for food in the yard. They also do well in the winter months.

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 Sussex (180-240 Eggs Per Year)

  • Hen – 7 pounds
  • Rooster – 9 pounds
  • Purpose – Egg Laying (primary), Meat Source (Secondary)
  • Egg Color – Light Brown
  • Temperament – Active / Curous
speckled sussex

Sussex or speckled Sussex chickens are a medium-sized breed, with roosters weighing around 8-9 pounds and hens weighing around 6-7 pounds. They are friendly and easy to handle, making them a popular choice for backyard farmers. They lay around 180-240 brown eggs per year.

Brahma (180-240 Eggs Per Year)

  • Hen – 9.5 pounds
  • Rooster – 12 pounds
  • Purpose – Egg Laying (primary), Meat Source (Secondary), Pet
  • Egg Color – Brown
  • Temperament – Active / Curous
white brahma

The Brahma chicken is one of the most treasured breeds due to its gentle nature and generous egg-laying abilities. Affectionately known as “Brahmas”, they usually weigh 10 pounds this breed can be pretty big. These chickens can provide large amounts of eggs throughout the year even in cold weather. Brahmas are not a common breed but they are growing in popularity as backyard chicken keepers who look for a strong winter laying bird that still behaves well around humans.

Other Good Egg Layers For Your Small Farm

Here are some other great breeds that are worth looking into if you want breeds that have good egg size and lay lots of eggs.

  • Plymouth Rock
  • ISA Browns
  • Jersey Giants
  • Sex Links
chicken eggs ina bowl

It can be tempting to pick the breeds that are the cutest but most of the supper cute ones don’t lay that well. Have your backyard farm goals in front of you when you are ordering your chicks from a hatchery to help you stay strong and focused.

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