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6 Best Egg Laying Chicken Breeds (For Beginners)

plymouth rock chicken breed

If you have a backyard, you can raise chickens. Not only are chickens fun, quirky, and entertaining, they can provide a valuable service by laying fresh eggs daily. 

The Washington Post reports that there has been a huge spike in orders for chickens. This is due to a lack of eggs in stores and because of social distancing and lock-downs all as a result of the Corona Virus pandemic. Raising your own backyard chickens is a great way to always have access to fresh eggs. 

For newbies to chicken raising, you might need some help deciding which breed of chickens would be best to start your flock. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. With over hundreds of different breeds to choose from, the task of making that decision can be overwhelming. 

The fact is, there are a number of questions you’ll want to ask yourself while deciding which breed to choose. Some of those things are: 

  • Which breeds of chickens are more friendly than others? 
  • Which color eggs do you want to produce? 
  • Will you be eating the chickens or just collecting eggs? 
  • Do you want one breed or a mix of breeds? 
  • How many eggs do you want to collect each week?

These are an example of some of the types of questions you need to ask before you undertake your chicken raising adventure. 

Be sure to check with regulations regarding livestock in your backyard if you live in an urban area. If you are good to go. All you need to do is create a safe area to keep your chickens then pick the breed or breeds that are right for you.

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6 Best Egg Laying Chicken Breeds for Beginners

In this article, we’re going to focus on which of the many breeds are best suited for beginners and which are also known to be excellent egg layers. To make this list, I looked for breeds that were not only known for their prolific egg laying abilities, but also those breeds which are friendly, less flighty and over-all great backyard pets.

1. Rhode Island Red

rhode island red breed for beginners

Why Rhode Island Reds Are Great for Beginners

Rhode Island Reds are one of the oldest breeds of chickens in our country and are one of the most popular egg laying breeds to own for a reason. Rhode Islands lay huge quantities of eggs and they’re good for their meat, making them an excellent dual purpose breed. They’re kind and gentle chickens and can easily work their way into your heart to become one of your treasured pets. 

Rhode Island Reds are a hardy breed. They thrive in any climate and have very few health concerns. They lay gorgeous, large, brown eggs and have a good feed to egg ratio. This means you don’t have to spend a fortune in feed to get quality eggs.

What to Expect With Rhode Island Red

  • They love to forage but they will do well in a coop
  • Easy to handle 
  • Easily get along with other breeds of chickens
  • Can lay 250 to 300 large brown eggs a year
  • Great for kids
  • Very few health problems
  • They are very laid-back birds
  • Dual-purpose breed


  • These are talkative birds and can be noisy at times
  • Roosters can be aggressive

2. Barred Plymouth Rock

plymouth barred rock chickens are good egg layers

Why They Are Great for Beginners

The second most popular breed of chicken in the US is the Barred Plymouth rock. This breed was the center of attention during World War II and was used as our country’s main source of both eggs and meat. 

Barred Rocks are a dual-purpose breed. They’re prolific egg layers and have a gorgeous and distinctive black and white feather pattern that brightens up any backyard. This is another breed that loves to be around people and has a gentle nature. Since they were bred in New England, they are hardy and easy keepers. 

What to Expect With Plymouth Barred Rock

  • Barred Rocks prefer to free range but will do well in a coop with a roomy run
  • They lay around 4 eggs a week or 200 large brown eggs a year
  • These are very inquisitive birds and will follow you around the yard
  • They are gentle and easy to handle
  • Good for any climate
  • Sturdy breed with no health issues
  • Talkative but not overly noisy 


  • Barred Rocks have been known to bully other chicken breeds
  • Rooster have large combs that may be prone to frostbite in frigid temperatures

3. Buff Orpingtons

buff orpingtons best egg laying breed for beginners
Orpington Hen Bird

Why They Are Great for Beginners

Buff Orpingtons are a large and fluffy breed of chicken. While there are many dual-purpose birds, the Orpingtons are top-rated because of their size and their ability to lay an abundance of eggs. They are excellent meat birds

This is another friendly, happy-go-lucky breed of chicken. They are cold tolerant and will lay eggs all winter long. They are kid-friendly birds that are easy to handle and very personable. 

What to Expect With Buff Orpingtons

  • Most Buff Orpingtons are from the original lines and are quality birds
  • Large birds that are great for meat and eggs
  • Lay 200 to 250 large to extra-large eggs a year
  • Lay in the winter months
  • Easy to handle, may even enjoy being held
  • Heavy feathering makes them very cold hardy
  • They brood easily and are willing to hatch eggs and raise chicks
  • Quiet chickens so they are good for small yards
  • Low maintenance and no health issues


  • Some people prefer dealing with smaller chickens
  • If their feathers get soaked when it’s cold they may be prone to hypothermia 
  • They can overheat in the summer if not given ventilation and shade

4. Easter Egger

easter egger chicken breed lay colorful eggs

Why They Are Great for Beginners

If you want a fun bird that will enchant your children and wow your neighbors, check out the Easter Egger, although technically, they are not an actual breed. Easter Eggers are bred from Araucana who have the genetics to lay blue eggs. Sometimes these blue egg laying Araucans are cross bred with Ameraucanas, an American breed that lays blue or green-tinted eggs, and other chicken breeds. 

Easter Eggers are a mix of various breeds that can produce eggs in varying shades of green, blue, olive, aqua, and even pink. They are mostly raised for eggs although they get large enough to be used for meat as well. There is no standard for appearance, you simply get a mix of whatever mom and dad happen to pop out. 

What to Expect With Easter Eggers

  • Expect the unexpected – if you order 12 chicks, all 12 of your chickens may look completely different
  • They will have adorable beards and fluffy cheek feathers
  • This is a hardy breed that does well in cold and heat
  • They fly well and will roost in high places
  • They do well free-ranging or in a coop
  • Good layers of various colors of eggs
  • Lay 200 medium eggs even during the winter months
  • Friendly and kid-safe
  • Quiet birds


  • The roosters can be mean
  • Not a true breed
  • Coop has to be enclosed or they will fly out

5. Leghorns

Leghorns are good egg laying breed for beginners

Why They Are Great for Beginners

Foghorn Leghorn was the most famous Leghorn but this breed is also famous for their ability to lay eggs. If you’re looking for white eggs, and a hardy, low maintenance chicken breed that’s perfect for beginners, Leghorns are about as simple as chickens get.

These birds love foraging but also do well in confinement. They are the most popular breed used in commercial chicken farming for a reason; their feed to egg ratio is one of the best. Leghorns mature fast and grow quickly but are not necessarily known for their meat quality.

What to Expect With Leghorns

  • These are very active birds that will constantly hunt and scratch
  • They will not be a breed that likes to hatch eggs
  • They will lay 280 to 380 large white eggs a year
  • Lay during the winter months
  • Intelligent chickens that are friendly and easy to handle
  • Do well in any climate
  • Come in a variety of colors
  • Very inexpensive to feed  


6. Australorp

Australorp chickens are a good breed for beginners

Why They Are Great for Beginners

Another top layer of brown eggs, the Australian bred Australorp is renowned for its extremely docile temperament. Bred specifically for egg production, this is a fantastic layer. They are larger birds so they are also suitable as a dual-purpose breed.

Whether you choose black or blue Australorp, you will have stunningly beautiful birds. This breed also happens to hold the world record for laying the most eggs in a single year. They are often used as family pets because of their gentle personalities and love of being with people. They are hardy birds and easy to raise. 

What to Expect With Australorp

  • Excellent layers of 250 to 300 large brown eggs a year
  • Will lay in the winter months
  • Large, beautiful birds with soft, downy feathers
  • Great foragers but also do well in confinement
  • Heavy birds, so not great flyers
  • Sweet personalities that make them suitable for kids or as pets
  • Do well in cold temperatures
  • Easy to keep and raise, no health issues


  • Need special care in hot weather
  • Not a reliable breed for hatching eggs

Final Thoughts

If you’re a beginner to raising chickens, there’s no doubt that you’ll do well with any one of the breeds listed above. All of them are very easy to raise, are friendly and are prolific egg layers. 

If you think you’re ready to get started, you can order baby chicks directly from our partner, Cackle Hatchery. They offer over 200 different breeds of chickens, turkeys, ducks and more. You can check them out right here. 

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