13 Great Egg-Laying Chickens | Living the Country Life
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13 Great Egg-Laying Chickens

Here's our guide to the 13 best chicken breeds for small acreages. These pretty and personable hens will provide a treasure trove of eggs in shades of white, brown and blue.
  • Image courtesy of mypetchicken

    Ameraucana

    Loved for their blue eggs, these medium-size chickens come in a range of colors, such as buff, black, blue, blue-wheaten, brown-red, silver, wheaten and white. 

    Temperament: Docile, friendly, good pets

    Heat/Cold Tolerance: Good heat tolerance / Excellent cold tolerance

    Productivity: Excellent egg layer, up to 250 eggs a year

    Size: Hens weigh about 6 pounds at maturity

    Chick Color: Yellow, light brown, or striped

    Fun Facts: This relatively new breed was developed in the 1970s from Araucana hens imported from Chile. The blue-egg gene comes from the Araucana chicken. 

    Date Published: February 20, 2018
    Date Updated: February 21, 2018
  • Image courtesy of mypetchicken

    Buff Cochin

    These big exotic birds are covered in layers of golden feathers. Among the showiest backyard chickens, they make wonderful pets and are ideal for kids who want a winning 4-H project.

    Temperament: Docile, friendly

    Heat/Cold Tolerance: Poor heat tolerance because of their heavy feathers / Excellent cold tolerance for the same reason

    Productivity: Adequate layer, up to 100 eggs a year

    Size: Hens weigh about 8.5 pounds at maturity

    Chick Color: Yellow

    Fun Fact: Introduced from China in the mid-1800s, Cochins also come in black, blue, white, and partridge coloring. 

    Date Published: February 20, 2018
    Date Updated: February 21, 2018
  • White Leghorn

    These hens lay big white eggs–lots of them. If you want a consistent source of high-quality large eggs, White Leghorns should be part of your flock. 

    Temperament: Active, high-strung, smart, not considered docile

    Heat/Cold Tolerance: Excellent heat tolerance / Excellent cold tolerance

    Productivity: Superior layer, up to 300 eggs a year

    Size: Hens weight about 4.5 pounds at maturity

    Chick Color: Yellow

    Fun Facts: With one of the lowest feed-to-egg conversion ratios, Leghorns are a frugal choice. Most of the white eggs you find in the market are from Leghorns or Leghorn crosses. 

    Date Published: February 20, 2018
    Date Updated: February 21, 2018
  • Silver Laced Wyandotte

    With silvery white and green iridescent feathers covering shapely, roundish bodies, this is a popular breed for showing in competitions. Productive layers, the hens have small rose-color combs. 

    Temperament: Calm, docile, easygoing

    Heat/Cold Tolerance: Good heat tolerance / Excellent cold tolerance

    Productivity: Good layer, up to 200 eggs per year

    Size: Hens weight about 6.5 pounds at maturity

    Chick Color: Black to light gray with stripes

    Fun Facts: Silver Laced Wyandotte, a true American breed developed in the 1870s, gets its name from the Native American tribe the Wyandot, aka Wendat. 

    Date Published: February 20, 2018
    Date Updated: February 21, 2018
  • Image courtesy of Cackle Hatchery

    Black Australorp

    This handsome hen hails from Austrailia (where it was developed from Black Orpington) and sports lovely black shiny feathers that, in sunlight, show hints of purple and green iridescence. 

    Temperament: Calm, quiet, gentle

    Heat/Cold Tolerance: Good heat tolerance / Excellent cold tolerance

    Productivity: Superior layer, up to 300 eggs a year

    Size: Hens weigh about 6.5 pounds at maturity

    Chick Color: Black and white

    Fun Fact: In the 1920s, a Black Australorp set an egg-laying world record: 364 eggs in a 365-day trial. 

    Date Published: February 20, 2018
    Date Updated: February 21, 2018
  • White Crested Black Polish

    The white-and-black feathered top knot on this breed adds elegance and comedy to the barnyard. This feature also makes it great for shows.

    Temperament: Quiet, docile, a little flighty

    Heat/Cold Tolerance: Excellent heat tolerance / Poor cold tolerance

    Productivity: Adequate layer, up to 100 eggs a year

    Size: Hens weigh about 4.5 pounds at maturity

    Chick Color: Yellow and brown with puffy head feathers

    Fun Fact: Some Polish chickens can be frightened easily because their head feathers restrict their vision.

    Date Published: February 20, 2018
    Date Updated: February 21, 2018
  • Image courtesy of mypetchicken

    Black Copper Maran

    This attractive black French breed lays chocolate brown eggs–the darkest eggs in the brown egg spectrum. Other Marans lay lighter brown eggs.

    Temperament: Calm, quiet, gentle

    Heat/Cold Tolerance: Excellent heat tolerance / Excellent cold tolerance

    Productivity: Good layer, up to 200 eggs a year

    Size: Hens weigh about 6.5 pounds at maturity

    Chick Color: Black and white

    Fun Fact: The hackles (neck feathers) on a Black Copper Maran are copper colored, giving the breed its name. 

    Date Published: February 20, 2018
    Date Updated: February 21, 2018
  • Buff Orpington

    Originally from England, these large, shapely birds feature luminous golden feathers and striking red combs. These chickens are real beauties. 

    Temperament: Quiet disposition, gentle, friendly, good mothers, easy to tame

    Heat/Cold Tolerance: Good heat tolerance / Excellent cold tolerance due to abundance of feathers

    Productivity: Good layer, up to 200 eggs per year, lays in winter

    Size: Hens weigh about 8 pounds at maturity

    Chick color: Light buff color

    Fun Fact: Buff Orpingtons are an old breed, dating from teh 1800s.

    Date Published: February 20, 2018
    Date Updated: February 21, 2018
  • Rhode Island Red

    This heavy mahogany red hen sports a jaunty red comb and is a favorite for backyard flocks because it is an egg-producing machine. Rhodies are also very hardy. 

    Temperament: Friendly, good mothers

    Heat/Cold Tolerance: Good heat tolerance / Excellent cold tolerance

    Productivity: Superior layer, up to 300 eggs a year, lays in winter

    Size: Hens weight about 6.5 pounds at maturity

    Chick Color: Rusty red

    Fun Fact: The Rhode Island Red is the state bird of Rhode Island. 

    Date Published: February 20, 2018
    Date Updated: February 21, 2018
  • Image courtesy of mypetchicken

    Light Brahma

    Among the largest hens, Light Brahmas decended from Asian chickens and were brought to America in 1850. The showy birds feature feathered legs and large plump bodies. They have small combs (called pea combs) and two-tone feathers. 

    Temperament: Quiet, easy to handle, gentle

    Heat/Cold Tolerance: Good heat tolerance / Excellent cold tolerance

    Productivity: Good layer, up to 200 eggs per year

    Size: Hens weight about 9.5 pounds at maturity

    Chick Color: Creamy white with shades of gray on backs

    Fun Facts: Called gentle giants, Light Brahma roosters weight up to 12 pounds.

    Date Published: February 20, 2018
    Date Updated: February 21, 2018
  • Delaware

    Developed in Delaware, this 1940-era breed is a cross of Barred Rock roosters and New Hampshire hens. The breed features a predominantly white body with black barred accents. 

    Temperament: Calm, friendly, quiet

    Heat/Cold Tolerance: Good heat tolerance / Excellent cold tolerance

    Productivity: Good layer, up to 200 eggs per year, lays in winter

    Size: Hens weight about 6.5 pounds at maturity

    Chick Color: Yellow

    Fun Fact: Delawares were originally developed as meat chickens and were sold as broilers. 

     

     

    Date Published: February 20, 2018
    Date Updated: February 21, 2018
  • Welsummer

    The brown and black speckled feathers on the Welsummer hens resemble those of partridges. Bred in the Netherlands, this breed lays attractive brown speckled eggs. 

    Temperament: Friendly, smart, docile

    Heat/Cold Tolerance: Excellent heat tolerance / Excellent cold tolerance

    Productivity: Excellent layer, up to 250 eggs a year

    Size: Hens weigh about 5 pounds at maturity

    Chick Color: Dark yellow with black stripes

    Fun Fact: The rooster icon on boxes of Kellog's Corn Flakes cereal was reportedly inspired by a Welsummer rooster.

    Date Published: February 20, 2018
    Date Updated: February 21, 2018
  • Barred Rock

    This popular New England breed is also called Barred Plymouth Rock. Developed in the 1800s by crossing Black Javas, Dominiques, and other breeds, Barred Rocks feature a distinctive black-and-white feather pattern and bright red combs. 

    Temperament: Calm, friendly, quiet

    Heat/Cold Tolerance: Good heat tolerance / Excellent cold tolerance

    Productivity: Good layer, up to 200 eggs a year, lays in winter

    Size: Hens weigh about 7.5 pounds at maturity

    Chick Color: Dark gray to black with white patches

    Fun Fact: Barred Rocks, a true American breed, were first shown in a Boston poultry show in 1849.

    Date Published: February 20, 2018
    Date Updated: February 21, 2018

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