So, what are the best chicken breeds for beginners? How can you know which chicken breeds will lay the most eggs consistently? Which ones are most gentle and quiet? Well, as a chicken mama for many years, I can tell you that I’ve had my share of different breeds.
I’ve purchased chickens for many different reasons. Sometimes I just like the look of the bird, other times I want a certain color of egg. I just LOVE chickens and enjoy so many breeds, they are so much fun.
But if you’re looking for the best-performing laying hens, I’ve got a great list for you! These birds are prolific layers, which will keep you in eggs most of the year!
Best Chicken Breeds for Backyard Chickens
The Australorp originated in Australia and was introduced to the United States in the 1920’s. This chicken breed gained popularity almost immediately because of it’s outstanding egg-laying capability! The Australorp broke numerous world records for egg-laying! In one study, the Australorp laid eggs on 364 out of 365 days!
Developed from the Black Orpington, the Australorp was created for egg production, without sacrificing size and meat quality. This heavy breed lays beautiful light brown eggs.
Can be used as a dual-purpose, the males mature at #6-8 and females mature at #5-7.
The Australorp makes a wonderful backyard bird due to fact that they are quiet and gentle.
Sex Links (Black Star/Red Star)
The Black Star chicken was created shortly after World War 2 ended. Food was already rationed and with the troops coming home, there were more Americans to feed. Poultry scientists began experimenting with different combinations of breeds to produce more eggs. The Sex Link was born.
Sex link chickens are the first generation cross between two different chickens.
The Black Star is a cross between a Rhode Island Red rooster and a Barred Plymouth Rock hen. The Red Star is a cross between a Rhode Island Red rooster and a Delaware hen.
Both the Red and Black Star are excellent free rangers, saving on feed during the warmer months! (Always feed your birds, I’m just saying that you could use less feed)
As hybrids, these chickens are very hardy and do well in cold climates!
Once they begin to lay at 22 weeks, you can depend on this bird to lay from 200-280 large, brown eggs a year, making them another “best” laying chicken and a great choice for your backyard birds.
Although the Sex Link was designed to be a top egg producer, they can also serve as a dual-purpose bird, due to the fact that the males mature out at #8-9!
Golden Comets (Cinnamon Queen)
Another hybrid, created for egg production, Golden Comets are a cross between a Rhode Island Red rooster and a Rhode Island White hen.
Being on the smaller side (males #5-6), they don’t provide much meat for the family. However, they lay 250-320 eggs a year, adding them to the list of “best” laying chicken breeds! An added bonus, they can start laying at 16 weeks!!
They are gentle and quiet, making them a good choice for backyard chicken keepers!
I’ve had many Golden Comets on our farm and I just love them! My kids could carry them around under their arms like a football and the chickens never seemed to mind!
Best Known Chicken Breed: Rhode Island Red
The Rhode Island Red is one of the most famous chicken breeds and is also the state bird of Rhode Island.
They can be used as a dual-purpose bird, the males mature at #8.5 and the females at #6.5. However, they are excellent egg-laying chickens! No other heavy breed lays as many or better quality eggs as the Rhode Island Red.
The Rhode Island Red lays extra large eggs and begins to lay at 19 weeks. Excellent cold tolerance and not at all likely to sit on eggs.
Rhode Island Reds serve well as backyard chickens as they have a fairly docile personality. Another great forager as well!
The Plymouth Barred Rock
Developed in England in the early 1800’s, this heritage breed has become one of America’s favorite chickens and best-laying chicken breeds!
The Plymouth Barred Rock was a very popular breed before the end of World War 2 due to its egg-laying capabilities. Once again, during the war, food was rationed and Americans were asked by the government to produce as much of their own food as possible.
They serve very well as dual-purpose birds, the males mature at #9.5 and the females at #7.5!
The Plymouth Barred Rock is also a steady, reliable source of brown eggs, even in cold weather making it a great backyard chicken.
I’ve had many of these and they are a pleasure!
The Pearl White Leghorn is likely the BEST white egg-laying chicken breed!
Originally referred to as the “Italian”, the Leghorn originated in Tuscany, Italy, and was brought to America around 1828.
The birds lay longer than most birds and are laying at 18 weeks of age.
The Pearl White Leghorn is resistant to disease and has an excellent feed conversion rate! It’s also very athletic, hardy and not broody.
They free-range well and can usually avoid predators, although they are easier to spot because of their light color.
Chicken Breed that Lays Colored Eggs: Americana
Another one of my favorite chicken breeds!
Developed in the United States in the 1970’s, the Americana is derived from the Americana, from Chile.
Americana are just beautiful, very friendly, quiet (making them a good backyard chicken) and lay gorgeous blue/green eggs.
One of the traits I enjoy the most is that none of them look exactly the same, and they all have “muffs” that look like puffy cheeks.
They lay all winter long here in Ohio, making them another of the “Best Laying Chicken Breeds”!
With all of these great choices for maximum egg production, mix and match your chicken breed selections and enjoy them this year! Consider purchasing from McMurray Hatchery