Deciding to keep your own chickens for egg production is a great way to enjoy both the supply of this extremely versatile protein source and the unique behavioural qualities of their producers! Not only is it a cost-effective and sustainable option it can also be an ethical one if you choose to keep your chickens in a free range environment. Certain breeds of chickens can make great pets but if you are looking specifically for a chicken for maximum egg production, your breed choice is a very important consideration. If you want the best of both worlds, you are limiting your options, however, it is still a goal that can be achievable with the right research.
Thankfully, we have done the research for you and have a list of the best breeds to buy that will give you the highest yield and where desired the best entertainment and companionship! Although, bear in mind that buying a breed that is known for its high egg production doesn’t guarantee that they will lay lots of eggs, as there are many factors involved.
Facts About Chickens Laying Eggs
- On average, the volume of eggs produced by chickens each year is between 260 and 280.
- The highest authenticated rate of egg laying is held in the Guinness Book of Records at 371 eggs in 364 days.
- There are over 200 recognised breeds of chick around the world
- Chickens usually start laying eggs from 6 months of age, depending on the breed.
- Hybrid hens are the least productive egg layers after the first year and have a shorter life expectancy when compared with Pure-bred hens.
What Factors Effect Egg Laying Potential
- Age is the biggest factor affecting the volume in which any breed of chicken can The older the bird, the lower the volume of eggs – usually you would see a 20% decrease with each year of age.
- Optimal nutrition and husbandry – chickens need around 20g of protein each day for them to continue laying eggs.
- The Breed of the chicken as detailed below.
- Quality of environment and exposure to daylight – chickens need at least 14 hours of daylight to lay eggs, this means during the winter they will produce less.
- Size of the flock – the higher the flock the higher the production.
Best Egg Laying Chickens
Here are the top chicken breeds which are most likely to give you the highest volume of eggs.
These attractive birds can lay up to 300 large white eggs in their first year. They are more popular in the USA than the UK due to the egg colour preference between the two countries.
Rhode Island Red
This breed is smart and robust, requiring minimal care and yet still lays around 250 medium size eggs per year.
Know as the “Easter Egg Chicken”, these birds will produce up to 250 eggs annually. They tolerate all climates and are fun and broody in temperament.
New Hampshire Red
Although not the most prolific egg layer as others, you can still expect around 200 eggs in the first laying year. They can in some cases be competitive and aggressive in nature making them less suitable as a pet.
Best Chickens for Eggs and Companionship
These are the top chickens most suitable in terms of temperament as a pet whilst also providing a steady volume of eggs to meet your needs.
The Sussex chicken is a very calm and easy to tame breed. You can expect them to produce up to 250 eggs per year.
In their first year, you can look forward to the potential for up to 320 large chicken eggs from these ultimate egg laying machine! They are friendly and great for beginners.
Calm and friendly in nature and producing around 280 eggs per year. They enjoy foraging which makes them a great choice for free-range chickens when you are not having cuddles with them!
Suitable for countries with colder temperatures, the Golden Comet which is gentle and quiet breed, makes the perfect pet, whilst producing between 250-300 eggs in the first year.
So now you have decided which breed to go for, the question is what culinary delights will you create with all those wonderful eggs.
Should you be reaping the rewards of your egg laying chickens it could be an avenue worth pursuing further afield. Some countries are open to you bringing your chickens across their borders and if relocation is on the cards, speak to PBS Pet Travel about the logisitics behind bird courier services. We can help organise the safe and compliant movement of your chickens so that you can continue benefiting from their egg laying wherever you are!