When people decide to purchase chickens as pets one of the main reasons is to have a supply of free-range, home bred eggs to eat on a daily basis. There is nothing quite like waking up, walking down your garden to your coop and collecting your fresh eggs to eat for breakfast.
What most first-time chicken owners don’t know though is that the breed of chicken you own is massively influential to how many eggs you will receive on a daily basis. Some hybrid breeds can lay near to 300 eggs a year, that’s nearly one egg each day, whereas some breeds like Japanese Bantams, for example, will tend not to lay any eggs at all.
The basics of looking after chickens
So now you know this before we delve into the world of Chicken breeds, let’s take a look at some of the basic ideas that will help your chickens produce more eggs no matter the breed.
- Age – When your chickens start laying eggs their first year will be their most successful, from then they will, unfortunately, produce fewer eggs year on year. This is just due to the ageing process, there is nothing that can be done, it is just nature taking its course. It is nothing to worry about though, you will still get many years of egg laying from your chickens. If after the first few years you are enjoying the experience you can then acquire some more young chicks to keep the cycle going.
- Diet – Ideally chickens need at least 20 grams of protein every day to ensure they regularly lay eggs. If the diet you provide your chickens with does not contain this you may find that your chickens are laying fewer eggs than you are hoping for. Just ensure the feed you are using contains enough protein, if not look into changing the feed or maybe buying some mealworms or other treats, the more protein the better quality the eggs.
- Daylight – Not many people know this but chickens require around 14 hours of daylight to keep producing eggs at a constant rate. In the summer this is easy as long as you are willing to wake up early, in the winter this is harder. A possible solution to this is to introduce artificial lighting to the chicken’s coops in winter but this is not advised as it is good for the chickens to lay fewer eggs over winter so their bodies can recover.
The best chicken breeds to lay the most eggs
Now we have gone over the basics lets take a look at some of the most popular breeds who should be able to produce you enough eggs so you will never need to pop to the shops again if you need some eggs, just pop into your garden. We will provide you with a brief description of the breed and how many eggs you can expect on average from these breeds.
- Hybrids – There are many types of hybrids around, these have been specifically bred to produce lots of eggs but also not need as much feed. A common hybrid is the Golden Comet, they will be a golden, brown colour and are usually very resilient. They will produce up to 280 eggs a year. If you are looking for a chicken who will lay all year round but cheap & easy to look after a hybrid is a good choice. They are also happy to live in a chicken coop with an attached run rather than needing lots of space.
- Leghorn – Leghorns have a pure white body with a bright red comb, anyone who knows Looney Toons will know about Foghorn Leghorn! This breed actually produces around 250 eggs a year but if you are a beginner they may not be the best choice as they are known to be shy and difficult to tame.
- Sussex – This breed comes in many different colours but the most common are white with black neck feathers. They can also lay around 250 eggs a year and are perfect for beginners as they are easy to tame and you will be able to have your children or friends feeding them from their hands.
- Rhode Island Red – Their name may suggest otherwise but these chickens actually have a dark brown colouring, these chickens are known to be tough and happy to look after themselves a bit more, they also lay a lot of eggs, up to 250 a year. This makes them ideal for first timers, they will also grow to be friendly with their owners if raised from a chick which is a bonus if you have children.
- Hamburg – This is a breed native to Germany, it is easily one of the most beautiful chicken breeds around, they generally are coloured like a Dalmatian (black and white) They will produce up to 200 eggs a year as well which is nice. They do however prefer to be let out in large areas, so they may not be the best breed if you are planning on keeping your chickens in a run. If you have space though they will thrive and add something to your garden you wouldn’t get elsewhere.
So there you have it, our top 5 breeds of chickens that will lay a decent amount of eggs. If you decide to raise one of these breeds you will hopefully never need to worry about having fresh eggs again.