Best Laying Chickens
What are the best laying chickens for your backyard flock? All chickens lay eggs, but some breeds egg production is better than others. If you need chickens that lay an egg everyday and have a long production period, there are three varieties to choose from.
The White Leghorn is one of the most popular chicken breeds all over the world with good reason. Each Leghorn hen lays about 300 eggs per year. They mature early and can begin laying eggs by 4-5 months of age.
Their eggs are large and slightly off-white in color. They are flighty and will avoid human contact if possible, so they are not good candidates for chickens you want as pets.
White Leghorns are one of the best laying chickens but rarely go broody, so if you want to hatch out some eggs you will need another breed to set them or an incubator.
These chickens do well in hot climates, and their combs get frostbite in cold weather.
Rhode Island Red
One of the best laying chickens for brown eggs, but are known to be aggressive, especially the roosters.
These chickens adapt well to confinement, and are hardy in hot or cold climates, but are prone to frostbite on their combs.
The Rhode Island Reds are usually laying by 5-6 months of age and are prolific producers of medium brown eggs.
Red Star and Black Star Sex linked
This breed that has earned the status of best laying chickens, are prolific layers of large brown eggs. They are also docile and make good pet that can interact with children.
The conversion rate from feed to eggs is excellent in these hens, and they continue laying through cold winter months when a lot of other breeds of hens don’t. If you raise them from chicks, you can expect to see your first eggs when they are about 4.5 months old. By 6 months old they will be producing eggs every day.
The sex linked gene makes these chickens easy to sex at first glance at hatching, but they do not carry that trait on to their future generations. However, this trait makes it easy to not buy unwanted roosters.
This is a good choice for family projects, or a small business endeavor for selling eggs.
Roosters or No Roosters?
If you are only interested in egg production it is not necessary to house and feed roosters with your hens. You only need roosters if you want, or may want, fertile eggs. If you don’t intend to hatch baby chicks to sell or increase your flock size, there is no reason to waste feed on a rooster.
Productivity Limits of Hens
Most hens are all done producing eggs by the time they are 3-4 years old. By the time they are 3 you will see a decline in the number of eggs produced, and the laying will become erratic at best. These chickens can then be slaughtered and put in a pot for stews or chicken and dumplings.
Of course if your best laying chickens have become your friends you may just put them out to pasture for the good service they have provided.