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Best Egg Laying Chickens For Your Backyard

If you’re thinking about getting chickens, you’re probably wondering which breeds are the best egg layers. There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a breed of chicken, but egg production is one of the most important. If you’re a chicken keeper looking for the best egg laying chicken breed for your backyard – I’ve got just the right breed for you!

The nine best egg-laying chicken breeds are:

  1. Calder Ranger
  2. ISA Brown
  3. Golden Comet
  4. White Leghorn
  5. Red Sex Link
  6. Australorp
  7. Sapphire Gem
  8. Easter Egger
  9. Speckled Sussex

The 9 Best Egg Laying Chickens

As you are probably aware by now chicken breeds can be classified into three separate purposes: meat hens, layer hens, and dual-purpose breeds. Below is my cheat sheet – feel free to share it!

Best Egg laying chickens infographic

The best egg-laying chicken breeds that excel at egg production include:

1. Calder Ranger

The Calder ranger is renowned for having great egg production and being a reliable, tough bird. We’ve owned Calder rangers for many years as they are so hardy. They’re some of the toughest chickens you can buy and they’re perfect for free-range coops, the eggs they produce are delicious and they rarely get broody.

Their friendly nature makes them great pets for children. But it is always good to keep them as a flock as that is where they are the happiest.

  • Eggs: 300+ medium to large brown eggs per year
  • Hen Size: Approximately 4lbs
  • Rooster Size: Approximately 6lbs
  • Maturity: 16 to 19 weeks
  • Character: Calder Rangers are extremely hardy and pleasant chickens. They are ideal for beginners and make good family pets. These hens rarely get broody and generally lay over the colder months too.
The Calder Ranger are the best egg laying chickens

2 ISA Brown

  • ISA Browns were primarily bred for the commercial egg industry. However, these top-class egg layers can successfully transition to a backyard hen. While ISA Browns lay prolifically, the hens’ production drops from 6 eggs per week to around 3 to 4 weekly after their first two years.
  • Eggs: 300 to 350 medium to large, light brown eggs per year (in her first two years and then this drops to around 150 per year)
  • Hen Size: Approximately 5lbs
  • Rooster Size: Approximately 6lbs
  • Maturity: 16 to 18 weeks
  • Character: The ISA Brown is a friendly, non-aggressive bird perfect for backyard flock settings and families with children. They are known to be quiet making them great birds for urban and suburban areas with close neighbors.

3. Golden Comet

If the Leghorn does not sound like your cup of tea then perhaps the Golden Comet chicken may be. The Golden Comet is another popular American breed that was developed in the 1970s and is one of the best egg-laying chickens. They are a hybrid of the Rhode Island Red and white leghorns and are known for their high egg production. These hybrids have been bred to be healthy birds and offer lots and lots of eggs year-round making them a great bird for the backyard chicken owner.

  • Eggs: 280 to 330 medium to large brown eggs per year
  • Hen Size: Approximately 4lbs
  • Rooster Size: Approximately 6lbs
  • Maturity: 16 to 19 weeks
  • Character: Golden Comets are extremely friendly and pleasant chickens. They are ideal for beginners and get along well with children. In addition, Golden Comet hens rarely get broody and generally lay in winter weather too.

4. White Leghorn

The White Leghorn chicken is an Italian breed that was first imported to North America in 1852. They are a popular choice for egg production due to their high egg output – up to 280 eggs per year! The Leghorn chickens consistent egg-laying abilities have forever changed the egg industry since its popularity grew in the early 1900s.

  • Eggs: 250 to 320 large white eggs per year
  • Hen Size: Approximately 4.5lbs
  • Rooster Size: Approximately 7.5lbs
  • Maturity: 18 to 20 weeks
  • Character: Leghorns are intelligent and active birds and these excellent egg layers can lay up to 320 eggs per year. However, they are also known to be aloof, highly strung, and quite noisy! Therefore, they aren’t the best breed for urban living and I have never kept them myself. Leghorns are best suited for free-ranging or as commercial layers. They typically don’t go broody and make pretty poor mothers.
The white leghorn are an egg laying chicken breeds

5. Red Sex Link

The Red Sex Link is a hybrid species crossed between a Delaware hen and Rhode Island Red rooster. The breed gets its name from the ability to tell males and females apart on hatch day and were developed for commercial purposes. However their hardiness means they are also appropriate for the every day backyard chicken owner.

  • Eggs: 250 to 300 large light brown eggs per year
  • Hen Size: Approximately 6lbs
  • Rooster Size: Approximately 8lbs
  • Maturity: 18 to 20 weeks
  • Character: Red Sex Link chickens are generally calm and friendly. However, they you may find them slightly hostile if you are rescuing/adopting them from a commercial producer and they are not used to human ineraction. These birds love free-ranging and foraging for food and are well suited to urban areas.

6. Australorp

The Australorp is an Australian breed that was developed in the early 20th century from English Orpingtons. Australorps are known for their high egg production; some hens have been known to lay more than 300 eggs per year! One record-breaking Australorp hen laid a whopping 364 eggs in a single year – now that is a busy hen!

  • Eggs: 250 to 300 medium light brown eggs per year
  • Hen Size: Approximately 7lbs
  • Rooster Size: Approximately 9lbs
  • Maturity: 22 to 24 weeks
  • Character: Australorps can initially appear aloof. However, they are only quiet and shy. Once comfortable with their owners, these fowls have winning personalities and are known to be one of the best breeds for human interaction and make wonderful pets.
Australorps are one of the best laying hens

7. Sapphire Gem

The Sapphire Gem is a hybrid breed crossed between the Barred Plymouth Rock and Blue Plymouth Rock. These chickens are adored for their beautiful grey, lavender, and blue plumage – hence the name. However, they are excellent egg layers too.

  • Eggs: 250 to 300 extra-large brown eggs per year
  • Hen Size: Approximately 6lbs
  • Rooster Size: Approximately 7lbs
  • Maturity: 18 to 20 weeks
  • Character: The Sapphire Gem is a quiet, even-tempered bird that generally gets along well with other flock members. These well-mannered hens are perfect for free-ranging in backyards; they also do well with children and other pets.

8. Easter Egger

The Easter Eggers is a hybrid breed crossed between the Araucana and Ameraucana birds. The Easter Egger is one of the most popular chicken breeds for beginners and experienced keepers alike. These friendly birds produce large quantitates of fun-colored eggs.

  • Eggs: 200 to 280 extra-large, light blue eggs, olive green, cream, or pink eggs per year (each hen will only lay one egg color – so get a couple of hens for a collection of rainbow-colored eggs)
  • Hen Size: Approximately 4lbs
  • Rooster Size: Approximately 5lbs
  • Maturity: 18 to 20 weeks
  • Character: Easter Eggers are one of the best chicken breeds around and one of the best chickens for eggs. They are energetic, curious, and even enjoy occasional cuddles. The gentle nature of Easter Eggers makes them ideal for backyards and chicken keepers with children.
The easter egger is the best chickens for eggs

9. Speckled Sussex

The spectacular Speckled Sussex is an old heritage breed loved for its friendly nature and gorgeous mahogany plumage with speckles. The Speckled Sussex belongs to the Sussex family of chickens (not the Royals), who are known for their amazing egg-laying abilities.

  • Eggs: 200 to 250 medium light brown eggs per year
  • Hen Size: Approximately 6lbs
  • Rooster Size: Approximately 8lbs
  • Maturity: 18 to 20 weeks
  • Character: The Speckled Sussex is a fairly quiet bird, well-suited in urban backyards. These girls are curious, friendly, and extremely gentle. As a result, they are ideal for families.

The 5 Best Chickens for Meat and Eggs (Dual-Purpose Breed)

When raising chickens, it may seem like it boils down to a game of choice – opting for eggs or meat. However, raising dual-purpose chickens gives you the benefit of both.

Dual-purpose or hybrid breeds bring flexibility to your coop; you can raise them for eggs, great-tasting meat, or both.

The best dual-purpose chickens are:

  1. Rhode Island Red
  2. Light Sussex
  3. Plymouth Rock
  4. Wyandotte
  5. Buff Orpington

Rhode Island Red

The Rhode Island Red is one of the most popular breeds in the United States and around the world as far as New Zealand. This breed was developed in Rhode Island in the 19th century and is known for its high egg production. The Rhode Island Red chicken is a robust, hardy, dual-purpose chicken raised for its delicious meat and prolific egg production.

  • Eggs: 250 to 300 large brown eggs per year
  • Hen Size: Approximately 6.5lbs
  • Rooster Size: Approximately 8.5lbs
  • Maturity: 18 to 20 weeks
  • Character: Rhode Island Reds are one of the best homestead breeds of chickens out there. These girls are healthy, hardy, and low-maintenance. They have a real zest for life, and the hens are pretty kid-friendly. Two of our friends keep Rhode Island Reds and swear by them and would not consider any other breed.
rhode island red

Light Sussex

The Light Sussex is a docile large breed bred for its dual purpose of eggs or meat. The Light Sussex is well-favored for its dependable egg-laying traits and delicious slow grown meat.

  • Eggs: 250 to 300 large creamy white to light brown eggs per year
  • Hen Size: Approximately 7lbs
  • Rooster Size: Approximately 9lbs
  • Maturity: 18 to 20 weeks
  • Character: Sussex chickens tend to be confident and friendly. However, it would be best not to keep these docile birds with aggressive breeds as they will suffer from bullying. These thrifty hens love to forage and get most of their food from the garden. Sussex hens are known to become broody, decreasing their egg-laying abilities so watch out for the signs if you decide to keep them. 

I have a whole article on the Light Sussex here

Plymouth Rock

The Plymouth Rock is a hardy breed with a winning personality and a great egg-laying capability. This is one of the main breeds of hen we choose to keep nowadays – we just love them!

  • Eggs: 200 to 300 large brown eggs per year
  • Hen Size: Approximately 7.5lbs
  • Rooster Size: Approximately 9.5lbs
  • Maturity: 18 to 20 weeks
  • Character: Plymouth Rock chickens are famous for their gentle personality and hardy disposition. These large birds’ docile and friendly temperament makes them ideal birds for beginners. We find they have the quirkiest personalities and make fabulous pets.


Wyandotte chickens are an All-American breed with a hearty and docile personality. Along with their bubbly personalities and beautiful plumage, Wyandotte chickens are bred for their dual-purpose ability. They generously produce large eggs in your backyard and are delicious on the dinner table.

  • Eggs: 200 to 240 large cream eggs per year
  • Hen Size: Approximately 7lbs
  • Rooster Size: Approximately 9lbs
  • Maturity: 18 to 20 weeks
  • Character: The Wyandotte is a hardy, no-nonsense chicken that withstands the harshest winter conditions. Although less affectionate, the Wyandotte is calm and beginner-friendly. 

Buff Orpington

The Buff Orpington is an English breed that was developed in the late 19th century. Breeders often breed beautiful birds for show purposes, breeding more for appearance than egg production. However, the Buff Orpingtons remain an excellent egg layer and if you want a beautiful bird they may be for you.

  • Eggs: 200 to 260 large, light brown eggs per year
  • Hen Size: Approximately 8lbs
  • Rooster Size: Approximately 10lbs
  • Maturity: 20 to 22 weeks
  • Character: The Buff Orpington is a fabulous choice for families. They are docile, gentle, and easy to keep – they make fantastic pets for children.

The 4 Best Egg Laying Chickens for Beginners

As a beginner, selecting the right chicken breed is critical! Your choice might boil down to the difference between thoroughly enjoying your birds or questioning why you got them in the first place.

Now, I understand that beginners might not have the slightest clue where they should begin. So, I’ve decided to include a section specially designated for the newbies.

There are endless possible answers to your question, depending on the climate, available space, and egg production. However, I’m focusing on low-maintenance and high-producing breeds with winning personalities and the likelihood to adapt and thrive anywhere.

Here are the top 4 beginner-friendly chicken recommendations for success in the chicken coop.

  1. Australorp
  2. Rhode Island Red
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Orpington


The Australorp is an excellent breed for beginners. These hens are easy-going and as tough as nails! Australorps are cold-hardy and thrive in unpredictable cold climates and warm climates alike (remember they were developed in Australia!). However, your ladies may need more protection during warm, humid weather.

Australorps make up for their additional summer care with their ability to thrive in a minimal food-water-coop set-up. These ladies also have winning personalities, inclined towards docility, gentleness, and friendliness.

The Australorp is chosen mainly for its reliable laying ability, producing up to five or six eggs per week. The hens rarely go broody and even lay eggs throughout winter.

These chicks are perfect for nervous beginners or families with children. Australorps also get along well with other breeds, making them ideal for most coops.

Rhode Island Red

Rhode Island Red hens are the way to go for new backyard chicken keepers and as I mentioned I know two families that swear by them. They are laid-back layers and are well-known for their hardy nature. The Rhode Island Red is happy and adjusts well in any backyard – be it steamy tropical rain, in a hot humid climate, cold weather, or full-blown sunshine.

However, do not let their gritty and robust nature fool you; these ladies are friendly, sweet-natured, and curious, making the perfect companion for kids and adults alike.

The Rhode Island Red is bred for its dual purpose. But once you discover that these girls truly know how to lay eggs, you’ll want to keep them far away from your dinner table. They are known to lay up to 6 eggs per week.

Low maintenance care and feeding is the trait that pushes the Rhode Island Reds over the top as beginner birds. These ladies do not require much space and are happy if they have sufficient food and water.

New Hampshire

The New Hampshire, a cousin of the Rhode Island Red, is a reliable and robust hen that novice chicken keepers will adore. These ladies are fantastic egg layers, moms, and friends to both young and old.

New Hampshire chickens are bred to fit in anywhere – they are perfect for free-ranging coops, groups of two, or flocks of many. The same applies to weather conditions; New Hampshire hens flourish in warm weather to frigid conditions. 

New chicken owners will be taken aback by New Hampshire’s subtle charm and friendly nature. The hens welcome affection and love pecking treats from your hand.

These robust, full-bodied birds are good egg layers, laying three to four eggs weekly. However, these equally great mommas are natural brooders, making them ideal for owners who’d like to build their flock.

Note: the New Hampshire breed prefers large, free-ranging areas and can become pushy when confined to small spaces.


Finally, I cannot finish the post without including the busty bird I fell head over heels in love with when I started with chickens – the Orpington.

The Orpington is a heavy-set lady with a personality to match. These ladies are renowned for their gentle natures and sweet dispositions towards adults, children, and other hens.

Orpington chickens are excellent egg layers. The hens can comfortably provide around four eggs per week, even during winter. However, given half a chance, your hens will love nothing more than nestling over some eggs – they are maternal by nature.

In addition, Orpington hens are happy with a basic food and water set-up, making them ideal for beginners.


When choosing a breed , it’s important to consider your own needs and what will work best for your flock. My favorite hen is and will always be the Orpington’s and Plymouth Rock (ever noticed my profile picture?). However, I’m looking forward to discovering which breed you’ll be adding to your coop. I hope this article has helped you narrow down your choices and given you some useful information. Thanks for reading and please share!


Which chicken produces the biggest eggs?

While egg size is not the most important factor I would consider the new Hampshire red produces consistently large eggs.

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