Top 5 Breeds Of Chickens That Lay LARGE Eggs
When planning your chicken coop, you might have dreams of cracking open big fresh eggs daily for breakfast, baking, whatever you like. If you already have a couple of chickens laying eggs, you might notice that they aren’t always as big as you expected. Although the size of the egg depends on a few different factors, like diet and overall health of the individual hen, breed also matters.
Large Egg Laying Chickens
We did a bit of research and put together this list of five breeds of chicken that can lay really large eggs. Many folks report that these breeds of chicken, given the right conditions, can lay large to jumbo sized eggs. Before getting started though, let’s take a look at what “large” really means when it comes to eggs.
According to this nifty guide by The Kitchn, large eggs weigh an average of 2 ounces each. Extra large eggs ring in at about 2.25 ounces, and jumbo eggs are 2.5 ounces on average. Now that we have a gauge of what a large egg is, let’s jump into breeds that can lay them.
5 Breeds Of Chickens That Lay Large Eggs
1. Rhode Island Red
Kassandra Smith at Backyard Chicken Coops describes the Rhode Island Red’s eggs as big and brown. Originally, Rhode Island Reds were bred to be dual purpose chickens. This means that they have a larger body than other egg layers, who are bred for egg quantity over size. Simply put, a larger body makes room for larger eggs. In addition to laying big eggs, the Red is a very personable chicken which makes it very popular with folks who live in town.
2. Plymouth Rock
Like the Rhode Island Red, the Plymouth Rock chicken originates in the USA and is bred as a dual purpose bird. According to this breed history by The Happy Chicken Coop, the Plymouth Rock was a favorite for its large eggs until WWII when commercial growers started favoring chickens that lay more eggs per year. These chickens are known to keep producing eggs late in life, even until their tenth birthday. Hardy in both the cold of winter and summer heat, Plymouth Rock chickens are a great option for backyard coops. Good with children and adults alike, these ladies are known to be gentle and a little more quiet.
One of the most iconic breeds of chicken, the Leghorn’s white body matches her big, pearly white eggs. Originating in Italy, the Leghorn is a bit smaller in body that the first two entries on this list. Even so, Leghorns are renowned for both their large egg size and production volume. The generic cartons of large white eggs that you would buy in your local grocery store probably came from a Leghorn hen. They tend to be a bit more “talkative” and aggressive though, so they’re better suited for chicken enthusiasts who don’t live in an urban area.
Originating in England, the Orpington has recently been brought back from the brink of extinction by conservationists. Luckily for us, backyard chicken enthusiasts have helped conserve the Orpington, which graduated from the Livestock Conservancy’s priority list in 2016. The Orpington chicken is a big girl, averaging 8 pounds. Their eggs tend to be big and range in color from light to dark brown. Although they are available in several different colors, the most common Orpington is a beautiful buff and is both lovely to look and great at laying eggs.
The Barnevelder, although a little harder to find than the other breeds on this list, is a jewel of a chicken. Their plumage is a a beautiful dark red and black, and their eggs are a deep chocolate brown color. My Pet Chicken characterises the average eggs from Barnevelders as large, and their personality as active and friendly. Since the breed is originally from Holland, it makes sense that they are pretty hardy in cold climates. If you happen to live in a hotter climate though, a Barnevelder might not be the best choice.
Tips on Maxing Out Egg Sizes
Although the breeds above are capable of laying big beautiful eggs, there are ways that you can help your hens lay the biggest eggs they can. Before you buy a hen to add to your flock, do a bit of research on the breed. Some breeds will tolerate heat or cold better than others. A chicken bred for a cold climate won’t much enjoy living somewhere hot, like the American south. Likewise, a warm weather loving chicken won’t flourish in the cold winters of the north.
Likewises, some breeds tolerate confinement better than others. If you have the space for free range chickens this is less of a concern. Folks with an urban chicken coop may want to look into breeds that don’t mind being “cooped up” for more of their day. There are plenty of resources out their to help you get started, but I’m really partial to My Pet Chicken’s easy to read breed list.
Once you have a chicken, the best way to get large eggs is just to make sure that the chicken is just generally happy and healthy. Investing in good quality feed, making sure chickens have ample water and space, and making sure they aren’t being bullied too much by others in the flock all contribute to your hen’s health. A healthy, happy chicken will always lay bigger eggs more often.