Welcome to Part 4 of our chicken breeds. This article will cover which chickens lay 300 eggs a year or more.
But, for many people, egg production is the most important aspect. It provides more consistent income to the small or large farmer.
It ensures that families and preppers have enough eggs for their needs. And it makes planning a lot easier. You always know that you’ll have enough eggs without having to try and guess when you are at the store.
What Chicken Breeds Lay The Most Eggs? There are seven chicken breeds that are high egg-laying breeds- hens that lay over 300 eggs in a year. Golden Comet, Lohmann Brown, Leghorn, Ancona, Australorp, Rhode Island Red, and Black Star breeds, and hybrids are the highest egg producers in the poultry world.
But, egg-laying isn’t the only thing you want to know about when choosing a hen. It is also important to choose a chicken that will thrive in your specific circumstances. Be aware of which breeds do well in hot or cold climates.
You need to choose breeds that will do well in either confinement or free-range situations, depending on how you will raise your chickens.
You will also want to choose the right breed for the level of friendliness you desire. Some breeds are very good at family pets while others are more aggressive and standoffish.
Another thing to consider is whether or not you want to get a dual-purpose breed. Some high egg-laying breeds in this article are also great meat birds. This makes it more economical for smaller farms and backyard owners.
- Cold or Hot Climates
- Confinement or Free Ranging
- Friendly or Standoffish Temperament
- Hybrid or Heritage Breed Preferences
- Egg only or Dual Purpose Breeds
7 Super Chicken Breeds That Lay Over 300 Eggs Each Year: Click to skip to a specific breed or to the end to see a summary.
- Ancona chickens (Heritage)
- Australorp chickens (Heritage)
- Black Star Chickens
- Comet Chickens
- Leghorn Chickens
- Lohmann Brown Chickens
- Rhode Island Red Chickens (Heritage)
1. Ancona Chickens, Italian Black Beauties
This medium-sized chicken hails from the city of Ancona in Central Italy. They were imported to England in 1850.
After that, they became a prime egg breed across Europe.
They are very flighty and often considered wild. That’s because they like to roost in trees and love to fly.
What Does An Ancona Look Like?
The Ancona is a black bird with white-tipped feathers. It has a black mottled with white coloring. One in three feathers has a white tip. The white feathering increases every time the bird molts.
Black feathers have a green sheen to them. They also have yellow legs with black mottle down them. Hens have a medium comb with five points, while roosters have a single large comb. They have orange-red eyes, white earlobes, and white skin.
Anconas are sometimes called a black Leghorn, although that is an incorrect description. Anconas have backs that slant downward. Plus, they didn’t originate from the same breeds of chickens and Leghorns.
Ancona was admitted to the American Poultry Association in 1898 with a single comb variety. Rose comb varieties were admitted in 1914.
They have a natural lifespan of about 8 years. Ancona chickens are a heritage chicken.
Primary Uses Of Ancona Chickens
Anconas were primarily used for egg production. They lay a large number of white eggs a year. They are a medium-sized bird and back then, they would also be used for meat.
They grow to about 2.7 Kg (6 lbs) for the cocks and 2 Kgs (4.5 lbs) for the hens. They are primarily used for eggs.
They can lay about 220-300 large, white eggs a year and can lay more eggs during winter months than Leghorns. That means about 5-6 eggs a week.
They start laying at about 5 months.
Caring For Your Ancona
Ancona’s do very well in temperature extremes. They are extremely hardy. They often don’t care what type of climate they are in- they are healthy and happy in any environment! They are great birds for hot climates and for cold climates.
They are friendly and often popular for a backyard bird, but they are also very flighty. They can escape backyards very well. They will need some extra attention and effort to keep them contained.
Anconas are also one of the most intelligent of the chicken varieties. They sense danger better than other varieties.
They do very good in a free-range situation and will forage well. They also have a lower food to egg ratio.
They do very well in cold situations. They can be flighty and a little wild-like in their behavior.
They are a “watch” breed according to the Livestock Conservatory list, which means they aren’t rare but do have an estimated population of fewer than 10,000 birds worldwide.
Anacondas are also a heritage breed.
|Hot & Cold||Friendly
|Eggs||F: 4.5 lbs
M: 6 lbs
Anconas are typically not available at local farm supply stores. You can order them online from several hatcheries around the United States. In Europe, they are most often found in England and Italy.
- Very Predator Aware
- Very Cold Tolerant
- Strong Egg Layer
Australorp Chickens: Australian Egg Machines
Australorps hail from Australia. They were originally called the Australian Black Orpington. They are a cross between Orpingtons and Rhode Island Reds. They also had crosses of Minorca, Lanshan, and White Leghorn.
Even though the parent birds have much of the same lineage as the Orpingtons, the breed doesn’t resemble Orpingtons.
For many years, the breed was called numerous names. These names included Australian Laying Orpingtons, Australian Utility Orpingtons, and Australs.
Australorp Chicken Primary Uses
They are one of the highest egg producers of all the chicken breeds. They were bred as a dual-purpose bird, for both meat and eggs. Hens lay between 250-300 medium light, brown eggs a year.
In 1902, an Australian college held an egg-laying contest. Australorps have laid as many as 364 eggs in 365 days in Australia without extra lighting. That high number of eggs isn’t average for the breed because average eggs have decreased over the decades.
Australorps make good mothers with average broodiness.
Cocks can weigh up to 3.85-4.5 kg (8-10 lbs) and hens up to almost 2 kg (6-8 lbs). Even though they are a larger bird, they take confinement well.
Features of Australorp Chickens
They are usually black with fluorescent blue-green feathers, but they can be white or blue also.
But, only black Australorps are recognized by the Australian Poultry Society.
A true Australorp doesn’t have speckled or splashed coloring. Their comb has five distinct points. They stand upright.
Australorps were admitted into the American Poultry Association in 1929 in the black variety. They live 6-10 years naturally. They are considered a heritage breed.
Australorps were a declining breed, but have recently started to make a comeback. They are listed as recovering by the Livestock Conservancy.
Caring For Your Australorp Chickens
Australorps are good foragers and easy to care for. This makes them a great bird for beginners.
They are not noisy, which makes them a good bird for neighbors. They also don’t fly much, which makes them good for backyards.
But, they can be prone to obesity so free-ranging Australorps allows them to be more active and helps hens to fight weight gain.
They are shy, gentle, and calm. Even the roosters are mellow. That means that they can be bullied by more aggressive chickens.
Australorps do well in cold climates because of their larger size. They are also very heat hardy and have no special health considerations or needs.
They live for 6-10 years.
|Hot & Cold||Shy, Calm||Eggs &
|M: 8.5 lbs
F: 6. lbs
- Dual Purpose 300+ eggs 10 lbs
- Shy & Calm
- Cold & Heat Hardy
Black Star Chickens: Useful Hybrid Chickens
The Black Star is a hybrid chicken. They are bred with a cross of a Barred Plymouth Rock hen with a Rhode Island Red or a New Hampshire male.
After World War II, soldiers returned home, but a lot of food was still rationed. The Black Star was bred in the 1950s to provide higher egg production for the returning soldiers and their families.
Black Star Physical Attributes
Because they are a hybrid, the hens won’t breed true to breed. They will be other cross-breeds.
Black Star chicks are easy to sex. The hens are all black with light golden feathers on the breast. The roosters are all black with white spots or stars. One white spot will be on the rooster’s head.
They have a single red comb and yellow legs. Sometimes “black stars” are sold that can’t be sexed. These types of chicks aren’t true Black Star chicks.
Because they are a hybrid breed, they aren’t considered an actual chicken breed by the APA and aren’t admitted. Additionally, Black Stars and other sex link chickens may be sold under various names by different hatcheries.
Black Star Uses
Black Stars can be a good meat bird but are more often used for egg-laying.
The roosters will grow to 7-8 lbs (3.5 kg). The hens will reach about 5 lbs (2.25 kgs) in about 20 weeks. They are a medium-heavy bird.
Hens lay about 5 eggs a week. That means about 250-300 extra-large, brown eggs a year. Their food to egg laying is a good ratio. Hens start laying at 6 months.
Because they lay a lot of eggs, they can have reproduction issues and only lay well for about 2 years.
Hens don’t typically get broody. They will continue to lay while other breeds molt and get broody.
Caring For Your Black Star Chickens
Black Star chickens don’t generally have many health issues. They are resistant to many chicken diseases. The main health issue they face is reproductive issues. Any chicken that lays large amounts of eggs a year has a very short lifespan.
The hens can get egg binding or egg yolk peritonitis. Because of reproductive stress, hens usually only live for 2-3 years.
Black Stars are friendly, curious and adaptable. They do well in cold and hot climates as long as they have shelter.
They make a really good pet chicken and can be very cuddly if they are raised to be from a chick. They can be a lap chicken. They aren’t flighty or nervous.
Black Stars are good foragers.
They aren’t noisy but will announce an egg. They make good backyard chickens because they are quieter and they aren’t as flighty.
They are also good chickens for beginners.
|Hot & Cold||Calm, Friendly||Eggs & Meat||M: 8.5 lbs
F: 6 lbs
- Dual purpose 300 eggs 8 lbs
- Hybrid: chicks don’t breed true
- Shorter life & laying life
Comet Chicken: A Hybrid Egg-Laying Chicken
Golden Comets are hybrid chicks that are bred specifically for egg production. They were originally bred for the commercial field, but have spread to small farmers.
Golden Comet chickens result from mating a New Hampshire rooster and a White Rock hen. The chicks are sex-linked. The males and females are visually different from each other.
The second generation will be a cross-breed and not a true Golden Comet. Golden Comets are light reddish brown with a scattering of white lacing. They have a red single comb. Legs are yellow. The back of the Golden Comet forms a U shape.
Comets are not considered a true breed by the American Poultry Association. As such, they are not a heritage breed. They also have a shorter lifespan than a regular chicken.
Primary Uses Of Comet Chicken
Golden Comets are master egg layers but don’t do well as meat birds because they are smaller chickens.
A hen will lay 5-6 eggs a day. In some cases, hens will lay an egg nearly every day. You can expect as many as 300-330 large to extra large brown eggs a day for the first two years. After that, the number of eggs will drop to about 250 eggs the third year.
Golden Comets only live about 4 or 5 years. Hens start laying eggs at about 16 weeks.
The hens are not broody.
The hen will get to about 4 lbs (1.8 kgs) and the rooster will max out at 6 lbs (2.2 kgs).
Caring For Your Golden Comets
They are good foragers, but they also do well in smaller spaces so they make a good backyard chicken.
Plus, Golden Comets are mild, curious and friendly. They don’t mind getting picked up and they are rarely rattled. This makes them ideal as a pet and for children.
They don’t get involved in flock disputes and they are great for first-time owners.
They are resilient and will tolerate warm and cold climates. However, you will need to watch for frostbite on the comb.
|Wide variety||Friendly||Eggs||M: 5.5 lbs
F: 3.5 lbs
- 300+ eggs a year
- Friendly Hens
- Hybrid friendly chicken
Leghorn Chickens: Masters At Egg Production
Leghorns are the egg producers of the commercial industry. But, non-commercial leghorns are in a recovering status.
Leghorns originated in England, Holland, and Italy. Originally, they were called Italians.
Their exact origins are unknown. In 1852 they were brought to the USA by Captain Gates.
As they were bred two classes of opinions arose: those that wanted form and function and those who valued only egg production.
Physical Features of Leghorn Chickens
Although white leghorns are the most easily recognized, they come in up to 10 colors and 17 color varieties. Their comb can be a single or a rose comb.
The colors that Leghorns come in include light and brown, white, black, buff, silver, golden, Columbian, barred and exchequer. They have long bodies and flowing tails.
Non-commercial Leghorns were admitted to the American Poultry Association in 1873. There are several recognized colors including light and dark brown, white, black, buff, silver, red, black-tailed red, Columbian, and golden duckwing.
Non-commercial Leghorns are considered a heritage chicken. They usually lie between 4-6 years naturally.
Primary Uses of Leghorn Chickens
Leghorns will lay between 280-320 extra large, white eggs a year. They lay about 4 eggs a week all year long.
The English tried to breed a larger, dual-purpose bird, but Leghorns are still too skinny to be a good meat bird.
They also have one of the best feed to egg conversion of all chickens. The mothers seldom go broody. They continue to lay eggs in years 3 and 4.
Roosters grow to about 7 lbs (3.2 kgs) and hens grow to 5.5 lbs (2.5 kgs).
Caring For Your Leghorn Chickens
Leghorns are nervous, active and not friendly to humans. Even when raised as chicks, it is difficult to tame leghorns as much as other friendlier breeds.
They like to fly and roost in trees. They forage well but do well in confinement as long as they have more space. They are ambitious birds and are very hardy on any soil type.
If they don’t have enough coop space, they will get bored and bully other chickens. They are noisy and high strung.
They are hardy in the winter. But, their comb can get frostbitten so extra care will be needed. Otherwise, they tolerate heat and cold well. They have no common health issues.
|Hot & Cold||Active||Eggs||M: 7 lbs
F: 5.5 lbs
- High egg layers
- Very hardy birds
- Great Foragers
Lohmann Brown Chicken: The Best Egg Layer In Africa
Lohmann Brown chickens are a hybrid that has been created by a German genetics company. They were bred using New Hampshire cocks and brown laying hens. The breed is very new and not technically a recognized breed yet.
As a result, a high production hen was born. Lohmann Browns are used extensively in South Africa and are used extensively there. They have been called the “Best Chicken Of South Africa.”
They are an easy chicken because they are very laid back, do well in all sorts of climates and lay a lot of eggs for a couple of years.
Physical Traits Of Lohmann Brown Chickens
Lohmann Browns are a plain-looking chicken. Their feathers are caramel-colored. They have lighter cream specks with light feathering on the tips of the tail feathers.
They are medium-sized chicken. They have long necks and short tail feathers. They have red wattles and a red, single comb.
There are two color varieties, brown and silver (white). The brown variety lays more eggs than the silver variation.
Reasons To Raise Lohmann Brown Chickens
Lohmann Browns are one of the kings of egg layers. They can lay between 300 – 325 eggs a year for two years.
Plus, they lay much quicker than other commercial breeds. Lohmann Browns start laying around 18 or 20 weeks. Some hens have been known to lay as young as 14 weeks.
Hens lay strong for two years.
They lay 6-7 large to jumbo sized brown eggs. That averages to between 300 and 325 eggs a year. They lay year-round, making them a dependable layer.
Roosters grow to about 4 pounds (1.81 kgs) and hens grow to about 3.5 lbs (1.6 kgs).
Caring For Your Lohmann Brown Chickens
Lohmann chickens are very friendly and docile chickens. They do well in a free-range situation and in confinement.
They do well in small backyards and gardens and stay content. They have been called the “best backyard chicken.” They are a very versatile chicken.
They are friendly and inquisitive, which makes them a good family chicken. They are less aggressive than Leghorns, which is good for families with smaller children.
Lohmann Browns do very well in hot and cold climates. Even in the winter, they do well and continue to lay eggs.
They have a longer lifespan, about 10 years. They are not yet as popular in the United States, but their popularity is growing across Europe and Africa.
|Hot & Cold||Active & Friendly||Eggs||M: 5 lbs
F: 4.5 lbs
- Hens start laying at 18-20 weeks
- 320 eggs a year for two years
- Friendly and adaptable for all climates
Rhode Island Red Chickens: Vibrant-Red Dual Purpose Chicken
Rhode Island Reds are one of the most successful chicken breeds in the world. They are super popular.
In 1854, a sea captain, William Tripp, bred a Malay chicken with his own chickens. He noticed that the offspring produced more eggs. He enlisted the help of his friend, John Macomber, and breeding began in earnest.
Eventually, Isaac Wilbour bought some of the new breed and continued to refine it. As a result, Wilbour usually gets the credit of the Rhode Island Red.
They were bred as a dual purpose bird. They are the official bird of Rhode Island and have two statues in the state erected to the breed.
Rhode Island Red’s Physical Traits
The body of a Rhode Island Red Chicken looks like a long brick. The birds are red, although it can vary from a brilliant red to a dark vibrant red. They can have a little black on their tail feathering.
They have hard feathers with red wattles, comb and ear lobes. Their feet and legs are yellow with some darker coloring down the shanks.
Rhode Island Red chickens, single comb, were admitted to the American Poultry Association in 1904. Rose comb was accepted in 1905. Since that time, the color of their red feathers has changed.
They are considered a heritage chicken. Rhode Island Reds usually live 4-8 years with an average lifespan of 6 years.. The older breed may have a longer lifespan depending on genetics.
Reasons To Raise Rhode Island Red Chickens
Rhode Island Red chickens were first bred as a dual purpose bird. Since the breed was created, there have been a split of the breed between a heritage version and a newer commercial breed. The heritage RI Reds have a good table quality and are also used for show birds. The commercial variety isn’t often used for meat, although it may be a good meat bird still. Instead, they are usually used for their superior egg-laying abilities.
Rooster grow to 8.5 lbs (3.85 kgs) and hens grow to 6.5 lbs (2.9 kgs).
They lay a good number of eggs too! There are two varieties of Rhode Island Red, the commercial variety and the heritage breed.
The Rhode Island Red commercial variety usually lays about 5-6 times a week, even during the cold season. That means between 200-300 eggs a year.
The heritage breed will lay between 150-250 eggs a year. The eggs are a large, brown egg. The size of the eggs will get bigger as the hen grows older.
The hens are rarely broody, but when they do, they are good mothers.
Caring For Your Rhode Island Red Chickens
Rhode Island Red chickens may be the easiest chickens to care for. They’re laid-back and adaptable in almost any situation.
Plus, they are active foragers. They also do well in confinement. They are super adaptable and will thrive in any climate. They do well in very cold climates and very hot climates.
They are a very laid back bird that doesn’t stress out. They tolerate challenges very well. They can handle adversity and adjust to a wider variety of food and situations.
Rhode Island Reds are a great bird for first-time chicken owners because they are assertive, but won’t be obnoxious. They also won’t struggle with many of the mistakes a first-time poultry raiser can make.
They are friendly and can be tamed.
The heritage breed is on watch status, but the modern version is common.
|Any Climate||Adaptable Friendly||Eggs & Meat||M: 8.5 lbs
F: 6.5 lbs
- Great Egg Layer
- Super adaptable in any situation
- Very laid back and friendly
Each breed of chicken has different strengths. Below, I’ve listed the traits for each of these super egg layers so that you can quickly see which breeds would be best for you.
There are a few things to know about this chart:
Most chickens can handle cold weather ok if they have proper shelter and if their combs and wattles are taken care of. Sub-freezing temperatures put certain breeds at risk of frostbite.
The breeds that are listed as handling cold are at little risk of frostbite and need little extra care in the winter months
Also, most breeds can handle backyards and confinement if they are provided with enough square feet per bird (raising chickens). The birds that handle confinement best are those that tend to need less space and get stressed out less. They also tend to be less noisy and bother neighbors less.
And, while some breeds are much tamer and friendly to kids and owners than other breeds, all chickens tend to do better when handled from a young age and when they receive interaction from their owners on a daily, consistent basis.
Lastly, be sure to check out Other popular chicken breeds for eggs and which chickens are best to raise for meat birds.
|Breed||Hybrid / Heritage||Best Climate||Handles Confinement?||Good Forager / Free Range||Family Friendly Bird?||Broody?||# of Eggs A Year||Dual Purpose?|
|Ancona||Heritage||Hot & Cold||Not as well||Predator Aware, Excellent Forager||Flighty, Friendly||No||220-300 white||No|
|Australorp||Heritage||Hot & Cold||Yes||Yes, prone to obesity||Shy, Gentle||Ave||250-300 brown||Yes|
|Black Star||Hybrid||Hot & Cold||Yes, Quiet||Excellent||Friendly, Adaptable||Yes||250-300 brown||Yes|
|Comet||Hybrid||Hot & Cold||Yes||Good Forager||Curious, Friendly||No||300-330 brown||No|
|Leghorn||Both||Hot||Not as well||Yes||Nervous, High-strung||No||310-330 white||No|
|Lohmann Brown||Hybrid||Hot & Cold||Yes||Average||Friendly||Ave||300-320 brown||No|
|Rhode Island Red||Both||Hot & Cold||Yes||Excellent||Laid back, mellow||No||200-300 brown||Yes|
Feature Image Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks Flickr