There are many reasons why keeping chickens in your backyard is a treat, among which are of course their practical uses. For example, many people find the main incentive for keeping chickens is a steady supply of fresh eggs. As any seasoned chicken-keeper will tell you, there’s no experience quite like the first moment you gather eggs from your coop’s nesting boxes!
However, if you’re truly in this for the eggs, you might as well keep chickens professionally. And what many newbies in the world of chicken-keeping don’t know is; your chickens’ breed will play a huge role in the number of eggs you can expect from them on a daily basis.
You’ll find that this is an important choice to make; some breeds lay an egg almost every day, while others like Japanese Bantams do not produce eggs at all. Thus, if you want to have a fresh supply of eggs throughout the entire year, you should look into one of the breeds we’re going to present to you here.
As you may have guessed, hybrid is really a catch-all term, instead of being a single breed of chickens. There are plenty of versatile hybrid types of chicken, and for example one of the most often-seen is the Golden Comet.
Seeing as hybrids were specifically bred for egg production, these are the breeds that lay the most eggs while consuming the least amount of food. If you’re looking to make your bottom line as profitable as possible and lower your costs; these are kinds of breeds you should think about.
Hens of the hybrid variety generally lay about 280 eggs every year. You’ll find these eggs to be brown in color and a medium size. The chickens themselves have an eponymous golden, brownish hue and white feathers on their tails.
At the end of the day, this is generally a good choice for anyone looking to have eggs all year long without having chickens that are tough to look after.
Rhode Island Red
As we’ve mentioned above, hybrid types of chickens are almost exclusively meant to be raised for their eggs. However, there are certain other breeds that are regarded as ‘dual purpose’ hens. In other words, such chickens are raised either for their meat or for their eggs, or both.
As you may have guessed, these breeds such as the ever popular Rhode Island Red are favored by many; they give you the option of getting quite a lot of eggs, and even meat if you’re so inclined.
Compared to hybrid chickens though, they tend to lay somewhat fewer eggs; the average Rhode Island Red will give you some 250 eggs annually. The egg have a brown color and a medium size. And contrary to what you might expect of them, Rhode Island Red hens aren’t actually red; they have black and brown feathers, giving them an almost ominous appearance.
One of their best characteristics however, apart from productive egg laying, is the fact that they’re quite tough, and don’t need much looking after. Many who keep chickens for the first time opt for the Rhode Island Reds for this reason alone.
Ask anyone who grew up in the 60s about Leghorn chickens, and chances are high that they’ll have some idea what you’re talking about. These animals were of course popularized by the Foghorn Leghorn TV show. And in the real world before that, they were shipped over from Italy for the first time in the 19th century. Since then, they’ve proven to be one of the best backyard chicken breeds in the United States.
These chickens produce around 250 eggs each year. Unlike the previously mentioned breeds, the Leghorn produces medium sized white eggs.
The color of the chickens itself is mostly white, coupled with a big red comb.
Just like the previously described Rhode Island Reds, Sussex hens are dual-purpose chickens; so you can raise them for either meat or eggs. On average, your average Sussex hen will net you some 250 eggs each year.
Interestingly enough, the color of the eggs varies, from creamy white to light brown. And the chickens themselves vary in color as well, though most are pure white coupled with a dark brown or black neck.
As for their character, you’ll find they’re quite a joy to keep around the yard. So, if you’re looking for a tame chicken breed, the Sussex is a great pick.
Ideally, Barred Rock, or Plymouth Rock chickens are one of the best breeds you can choose if you’re someone who’s keeping chickens for the first time. Sure, they’re not the most productive breed out there; but they’re one of the easiest to take care of.
With these hens, you can expect about 200 eggs annually. Generally, their eggs tend to be light brown and medium to small sized. As for the hens themselves, they’re usually grey, but riddled with white stripes across their bodies.
They’re also big birds, quite suited to free ranging. Again, you won’t need to do much to take care of them – and they’re also incredibly easy to tame.
Much like the Leghorn, the Ancona is a tiny chicken breed that made its way to the United States from Italy. Nowadays, though, it’s one of the most common breeds in both the US and the United Kingdom.
They lay tiny white eggs, and about 200 of them every year. When it comes to their feathers and general look, they’re quite similar to the abovementioned Barred Rock chickens. Though, they have one key difference – they’re about half the size.
And we don’t recommend these birds to chicken-keepers without experience; it’s not a breed you would pick to be your pet. They’re quite skittish, and you may need to clip their feathers on a regular basis; their small size and light weight means they’ll constantly try to fly out of the coop!
If you’re not an avid chicken breeder, this may not mean much to you; but the Barnevelder is a crossbreed between an Asian jungle fowl and the Dutch Landrace. This breed comes from Holland, and it’s renowned for its glorious feathers. In practical terms, though, the chicken will give you about 200 eggs every year. The eggs will be of a speckled brown hue, and usually small in size.
Keeping in theme with our last couple of picks, this chicken breed is a European one as well. It hails from Germany, as you might ascertain from the name!
These are definitely among the best looking chickens you’ll find anywhere – and they’re no slouches when it comes to egg production as well. They produce some 200 white, glossy eggs each year; though they’re usually quite small.
These chickens have feathers that are often compared to Dalmatian coats, with pretty black and white feathers. Though, there is another variation of the breed, which has gold and black feathers.
If you’re going to keep Hamburgs around your yard, bear in mind that these chickens will need quite a lot of space. They’re not used to being cooped up (no pun intended), and if you leave them in a small space for too long they’re likely to become agitated and aggressive. This is a breed you’ll most certainly want to keep as a free range hen.
Here’s the last dual purpose breed we’ll present to you – the Marans! They’re widely known for laying quality brown eggs and the provision of excellent meat.
The Marans will likely give you about 200 eggs each year. As for their appearance, the Marans look a lot like Plymouth Rocks; with white tail feathers and general whiteness. You may be happy to learn that these are pretty economic chickens, as they don’t need too much space to be happy. On the other hand, they aren’t particularly tame, so they’re not exquisite pets like some of the other breeds on our list.
Lastly, we come to the Buff Orpington – one of the nicest backyard chicken breeds you’re likely to encounter! These chickens hail from Kent, England – and they produce about 180 eggs each year.
Bear in mind that they’re quite broody in the summertime, which is the main reason behind their comparatively low productivity. But you’ll definitely like their looks, as these chickens have a great yellow-golden color, with thick feathers.
They’re also pretty tame, which is what makes them a true joy to keep around the yard. With these chickens, you won’t get as many eggs as with most of the others on our list; but they’ll socialize with other animals and humans quite quickly, and they’re very adaptive to new circumstances and environments.