The main reason most people start raising chickens in their backyard is so they can get a fresh supply of eggs every morning. I remember the massive difference in the quality of eggs that I used to buy from the supermarket and when I started raising chickens. I don’t know how or why the quality is so different, but it is. And I prefer my backyard eggs much more than the supermarket ones these days.
But you can’t just buy any chicken and expect it to lay as many eggs as you prefer. There are certain breeds that lay more eggs than others. So as a beginner, you need to know which breeds to raise before you go all-in on it.
Making sure that you are raising the proper breed of chickens to get the result you want is incredibly important.
There are certain breeds like the Japanese Bantams that do not lay any eggs at all. And as a beginner, you want to avoid raising those kinds of breeds because that is a recipe for disappointment.
When I was a beginner at this, how many eggs my chickens laid was the most important factor. That is how I measured how successful I was at this. And I believe almost everyone that is getting into raising chicken measures it that way.
So, I’ve compiled a list of the 10 best breeds that lay the most amount of eggs all year long. Make sure you read the whole article to decide which breed you like the best.
And remember, you can have multiple breeds together in one chicken coop. You just need to make sure that the breeds you are choosing are not aggressive.
The Top 10 Chicken Breeds That Lay the Most Eggs All Year Long
1. Rhode Island Red
The Rhode Island Reds are famous for being one of the most versatile chicken breeds out there. They originated from America and they can be raised for either meat or eggs. They are tough as well. But you should still make sure that you are taking good care of them.
Based on the name of the breed, most people would assume that they are red in color. But that is not the case. The Rhode Island Reds have brown and black feathers and that gives them a dark appearance.
Like I mentioned above, they are known for being tough and being able to look after themselves. But they are friendly as well. And that is the main reason why most people recommend that beginners should choose to raise this breed to get some experience.
You can expect the Rhode Island Reds to lay around 250 eggs every year. The eggs are medium-sized and brown in color.
Just like the Rhode Island Red, the Sussex is also considered a dual-purpose breed that can be raised for meat or eggs. I like these kinds of breeds because it gives you the choice to decide whether you’d like to raise your chickens to be meaty, or if you would like to focus more on the egg-laying part.
The Sussex breed comes in 8 different colors. But the most commonly found color is a white body and the neck and tail having black feathers.
The Sussex would be a perfect breed for first-time chicken raisers. They are known for their calm nature and they enjoy roaming around in a free range in a garden without destroying everything they see. So if you are someone who would like a breed that wouldn’t take much effort to take care of, and would be easier to tame, then the Sussex is for you.
Like the Rhode Island Red, the Sussex can also lay about 250 eggs per year. You can expect the color to be different. It varies from creamy white to brown.
The Leghorn is the classic chicken that I used to see in cartoons when I was growing up in the 90s. and anyone who grew up during the 50s and the 60s will remember this breed from the TV show Foghorn Leghorn.
This breed was brought to the United States from Italy back in the 1880s. And ever since, this breed has been the perfect backyard chicken for people like us.
The Leghorn has a full white body with a large red comb.
As a beginner, I wouldn’t choose this breed because the Leghorn’s are known to be shy and harder to tame. So if you are looking for a breed that is easygoing, I recommend choosing either the Rhode Island Red or the Sussex.
Besides the character, this breed can lay up to 250 eggs per year just like the other 2 breeds I mentioned above.
The Barnevelder is known for its glossy, brown-tipped feathers. This breed originated from Holland and is a mix of the Dutch Landrace and the Asian jungle fowl.
This breed has black, glossy, brown-tipped feathers.
The Barnevelder is a great garden chicken. You also don’t have to worry about them flying away because they aren’t good flyers. So you don’t have to clip their feathers.
This breed is capable of laying around 200 eggs per year and their size can vary from small to medium. The color of these eggs is light brown, usually.
As you might have guessed, this breed has originated from Hamburg city in Germany. It is also considered one of the most attractive chicken breeds out there.
The Hamburg has a white body with black-tipped feathers. They have another color variation that is a black body with gold-tipped feathers. Both are equally as attractive.
The Hamburg loves to roam around in a free-range garden and they hate being in a small chicken pen. So if you are planning to keep your chickens confined to just the chicken coop, then you should raise this breed.
They get aggressive in small spaces.
They can lay up to 200 small to medium-sized eggs per year. And they are glossy white in color.
This breed was originally found in Italy but it is now more commonly available in the United Kingdom and the US.
The Ancona is very similar to the Plymouth Rock with a white body and black-tipped feathers. But the only difference is their size. The Ancona is less than half the size of Plymouth Rock.
Due to its smaller size, the Ancona is known as a good flyer. So you will have to make sure that you clip their feather or they will fly away from your chicken coop.
Not just that, they are also known to be skittish and quite notorious. Definitely not the breed you should pick as a beginner.
But if you want a challenge, then feel free to go for it.
Because of the smaller size, you would think that this breed would lay fewer eggs compared to the other breeds I’ve mentioned. But no. The Ancona lays up to 200 small-sized white eggs per year.
7. Buff Orpington
The Buff Orpington lays fewer eggs than the other breeds on this list but to be honest, you won’t notice it at all. Raising this breed is a dream for most chicken keepers out there.
This breed has golden-yellowish-colored feathers.
Buff Orpingtons are known to be one of the best and easy-to-raise chicken breeds out there. You can easily train them to eat from your hand and to start socializing with you whenever they see you.
This is the reason why most people prefer this breed over any other on this list. It is just an enjoyable process to raise them and have fun.
This breed tends to get broody during the summer months and so they lay fewer eggs compared to other chicken breeds.
On average though, you can expect them to lay around 180 eggs every year.
The Marans are another dual-purpose chicken breed. But most people prefer to raise them for their meat – they are known to have exceptional quality meat. But their eggs aren’t bad either. The dark brown eggs you see in movies and TV shows, are from this breed, in most cases.
The Marans are similar to the Plymouth Rocks when it comes to the color of their feathers.
The good thing about this breed is that they don’t require much space to move around. They are okay with being in small spaces. They are also known to be very gentle. But the problem is, they aren’t tame. So if you are looking to raise them as pets, I recommend you either go with the Sussex or the Buff Orpingtons.
You can expect a Maran to lay around 200 eggs every year. The eggs are medium-sized.
The Ameraucana is another breed that is just fun to raise. They are also known as the “Easter Egg” chicken because their eggs are usually multicolored. And not just that, their eggs are absolutely delicious to eat.
The Ameraucana has golden-yellowish feathers with a full black-feathered tail and a full muff. They do come in different color varieties as well like a mixture of black, white, blue, and brown.
The Ameraucana is a fun breed to have around. They are very tame and can also tolerate a variety of climates in small spaces. So whether you plan on keeping them in a pen, in a coop, or in a free-range garden, you will have a good time raising them.
But you should know that this breed is known to have a genetic disorder called the “crossed beak” that affects 1 in every 100 chicks.
You can expect an Ameraucana to lay around 250 eggs every year. That is 50 more eggs every year than other breeds on this list while also being an absolute pleasure to raise them.
10. New Hampshire Red
The New Hampshire Red is known to be an aggressive and competitive breed. But it is also known to be a “does it all” type of breed. You can raise them for their meat and their eggs. But most people prefer to raise them for their meat – it is absolutely delicious!
This breed is very similar to the Rhode Island Red because it was raised as a separate strain in New Hampshire, Massachusetts. The overall size of this chicken is similar to the Rhode Island Red but the color of their feathers is different.
The New Hampshire Red’s feathers have a lighter shade of red with some pale yellow highlights. Some might even say that they are closer to chestnuts in shade.
This breed is quite broody which makes them excellent mom hens. But if you don’t have enough hens around, they can tend to become quite disagreeable with each other. For beginners, I recommend only adding this breed when you have enough hens around, or if you want to have a fun challenge raising chickens.
If you want to have a good time overall, then I recommend going with either the Ameraucana or the Buff Orpington.
The New Hampshire Red can lay around 200 eggs per year. The good part is, they start laying eggs at the 18 to 21-week mark.
How Do You Make Sure Their Egg Production Is High?
Choosing the right chicken breed that lays a lot of eggs is one-half of the formula. The other half is making sure that you create all the right conditions for them to lay as many eggs as they can.
And there are a lot of factors that affect their egg production. Things like their age, diet, getting proper daylight, etc.
Let's get into each one of those factors and see how you can optimize them.
This is one factor that you cannot control at all. As your chickens get older, they won’t lay as many eggs as they used to. That’s just a sad fact.
Just like us humans, their bodies get old and are not as efficient as they were when they were young.
The first year of a chicken is always their best year when it comes to laying eggs.
For example, if you got an Ameraucana and it laid 250 eggs in its first year. Then by the third year, it would only lay 160 eggs.
I’m not saying those are the exact numbers. Of course, they can vary depending on the other factors. But you can consider them as ballpark numbers.
Access to Daylight
Just like us humans, daylight is super important for chickens as well. More so than us.
Chickens need as much as 14 hours of daylight every day to lay a good amount of eggs.
So you will have to wake up earlier than you are used to so you can let them out close to the sunrise.
And during wintertime, you will need to make sure that you have enough artificial light in your pen or coop to keep the circadian rhythm of your chickens on track. That is what most chicken farmers recommend to have them lay as many eggs as possible.
I don’t use artificial light during winters because I think letting the chickens take a break from laying eggs will allow their bodies to heal and come back stronger when the egg-laying season comes back.
Having a Proper Diet
I like comparing the chickens with humans because it just shows how many things we have in common.
And diet is no exception. Chickens need around 20 grams of protein every day to keep laying as many eggs as they can. If they get less protein than that, then they won’t lay as many eggs.
Just like humans. Obviously, we don’t lay eggs, but we do require a minimum amount of protein based on our body weight. Or we won’t function as well as we could.
I recommend feeding your chickens layers of pellets to ensure that with the protein, they are also getting all the important micronutrients to maintain proper overall health as well.