Which Egg Laying Chickens Are Best for Your Family As You Start Raising Chickens?
Did you know there are hundreds of varieties of chickens? With so many options it can be difficult and confusing when deciding which egg laying chickens may be best for your family!
If you want the best possible egg production, limit your choices to the egg laying breeds.
Chicken breeds that are well-known and very popular for their egg laying production include Leghorns and Rhode Island Reds.
These two breeds are considered to be among the most productive egg layers. In fact, when you buy eggs from the grocery store, the odds are good that those eggs came from one of these two breeds.
Egg laying hens are chosen for their high egg productivity and usually have bodies too small to make them desirable as meat chickens.
The benefit of having such small bodies in chickens that lay eggs is that less energy goes into making muscle and more energy goes into making eggs. The energy-to-egg output for layers is optimized.
Layer chickens usually start laying eggs at about five months of age and will continue laying for most of their lives with the first 2 to 3 years being the most productive years and slowing from then on.
You can get up to three hundred plus eggs a year from a quality egg laying breed.
You'll also want to keep in mind that as a rule of thumb, the amount of eggs you get will in part be influenced by the amount of light your birds get. Generally chickens will lay eggs consistently for about 9 months throughout the year and slow down or even stop during the winter when the days are cold and short.
In areas that receive a lot of sunlight during the winter this is less of an issue. You can increase their laying rate during the short days of winter by adding artificial light to the coop to bring them up to at least 14 hours of light per day which is pretty much the minimum they need to lay eggs.
The following two breeds (Leghorns & Reds) of egg laying chickens have been around for a long time, and they should be fairly easy as well as enjoyable for your family to raise as backyard chickens.
If you want to raise chickens as layers, not many breeds are better than the White Leghorn Hens like the one pictured above.
The Leghorn first came to the U.S. from Italy in the early 1800′s.
They are a very popular breed for egg laying because they have an impressive laying rate that can exceed three hundred eggs per year.
Leghorn chickens tend to be fairly light weighing an average of about four pounds.
This is because they expend so much of their energy on laying lots of eggs.
Some feel White Leghorns and other good layers have a tendency to be more high strung and nervous, often avoiding human contact.
This is not always the case.
How friendly your birds are is based more on how soon and how often they have experienced contact with humans. The individual chicken’s personality is another significant factor.
This breed generally tolerates all climates well and will produce close to an egg per day.
They don't often go broody and usually lay eggs in good numbers, consistently.
Leghorns also come in quite a variety of colors other than white.
Rhode Island Reds (hen pictured above)
The Rhode Island Red is the perfect example of what you'll want in your backyard chicken flock and is a great choice for beginners.
They have a great laying rate of around three hundred eggs a year.
Rhode Island Red chickens are easy to care for and are very robust, which is a good thing if your family happens to make a few mistakes as they learn.
Rhode Island Red's are also known for being nice, friendly chickens although the roosters can become aggressive and may present some danger to both pets and small kids.
Since your goal is egg production, it's probably best to just stick with the hens when it comes to Rhode Island Reds.
Once your family reviews their goals and decide on the benefits they want to enjoy from raising backyard chickens then you will be able to choose the perfect egg laying chickens that provide these benefits.