The Lowdown on Layers: Top 5 Laying Chicken Breeds and 12 Tips

Posted by Jennifer Hojnacki, Wed, May 2, 2012; Updated 3/10/2023

Buff Orpingtons nesting box with eggs
Buff Orpingtons are one of the best poultry breeds for eggs.


Whether you’re just getting started or have been raising chickens for a while, chances are you spend a fair amount of time thinking about the end product—those delicious and nutritious eggs!

Manna Pro® spends a lot of time thinking about laying hens, and we’ve put together a great new guide to help you get the most out of your flock.

One of the most common questions on forums, in webinars and on our “Ask the Chicken Whisperer” page is, “What are the best laying breeds?” While there’s no absolute answer to this question, we’ve compared some of the expert opinions and owner comments and here are the names that seem to be at the top of everyone’s list:

Top 5 (more or less) Breeds for Egg Laying  

#1: Leghorn

No surprise here—the breed that is used the most commercially because of its laying proficiency is in fact the best layer. Keep in mind, however, that if you want a colorful egg basket, you won’t want a flock full of only Leghorns, as their eggs are white.

#2: Rhode Island Red

A great choice because they are not only great egg layers, but the males are big enough to eat as meat (helpful if you incubate and hatch, as you can raise the females as layers and the males as meat birds).

#3: Orpington

Also dual-purpose and known for laying abundant amounts of brown eggs.

australorp egg laying chicken

#4: Australorp

Excellent egg layers that produce beautiful light brown eggs.

ameraucana chicken
Fuzzy, cute, and amazing egg-layers, you'll love the Ameraucana chicken breed seen here.


#5: Ameraucana, Delaware, Sussex & Wyandotte

It’s a tie for 5th. Honorable mentions go to these incredible egg-laying breeds.


Raising Ducks for Eggs

When considering which breed of chicken to add to your backyard flock, consider going with a different species altogether - ducks! Ducks are beautiful, entertaining, full of personality AND produce delicious and nutritious eggs. Click here to learn more about raising ducks for eggs.

indian runner ducks best eggs
Indian Runner ducks are known to produce many eggs! Consider this amazing breed for your backyard flock.


Best Chickens for Eggs Downloadables


Manna Pro Chicken Breed Guide

For information on egg production, egg color, temperament and more for 30 top breeds, be sure to download the Manna Pro Chicken Chart, a helpful and easy-to-use guide to selecting the right breeds for your flock. 



Egg Laying Guide

Download our complete egg-laying guide here for info on how to optimize egg production in your backyard flock!



Lynn 05/03/2012, 4:36:56 PM

I have all but the leghorns. My white egg comes from a blue andalusian from a friend after easter a year ago. Also have barn yard hens. And working on endangered breeds. 18 hens 2 Roosters. 24 barn yard chicks. 22 that are Buff Orpingtons, Americana, Delawares, and Russian Orloffes. plus due to hatch more rare breeds the 10 Th and 15 Th. My goal is lots of private houses and runs for each of them. Nutty for my birds.......

Debbie 05/14/2012, 4:37:14 PM

I purchased 2 turkey chicks on April 4th. One turkey is about two inches taller and wider than the other. Do you think that the larger one is a Tom Turkey? I hope so, because I really wanted a Tom.

Laura Hepburn 05/15/2012, 4:37:36 PM

Hi Debbie! It's very possible the larger chick is a male as they do tend to grow faster than females.

Andi Lemieux 07/11/2015, 4:38:12 PM

Hey so we had a person break into our yard and try to steal a dog out of a locked kennel and subsequently released the dig in the yard and he killed our chickens and ducks I was wondering if I sent you pictures if you could tell me what they were as they aren't what we originally ordered and my daughter became very attached to them. Would like to get more of the same to replace them. Thanks

Dave Waldman 07/13/2015, 4:38:36 PM

You can certainly send us pictures and we can try and see which breeds you have. Another option would be to send the photos to Fresh Eggs Daily and ask for advice or Tilly's Nest. Both are wonderful bloggers with much experience.

Anonymous 11/27/2021, 11:05:19 AM

When do layers start laying eggs what signs do they show

vicki 03/17/2022, 2:39:39 PM

Please tell me, What breeds is the chicken in photo at top this page?

Many Thanks!


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