Hi Treats for Chickens community; it's me, Dawn!
If you’re scrambling for chicken eggs, searching high and low at the supermarkets, there is no need to look further because to crack the case of the missing eggs — the answer lies in a nationwide egg shortage.
Maybe recently you came across an article or two with the titles like “What's causing the dramatic increase in egg prices?”, “Why eggs are becoming more expensive,” or “Avian flu causes nationwide egg shortage,” which all of them discuss this un-egg-pected price surge to one of America’s essential foods- eggs. Yes, everything is more expensive, but the price of eggs has shocked many of us. Chicken egg prices have been stable for the past four decades as supply and demand have been in sync. But with severe bird flu outbreaks, inflation, and supply chain issues (like the increased cost of diesel gas and a decreased workforce) have changed the norm. With today’s egg prices more than ever, fellow chicken keepers are making efforts to become more self-sufficient.
For many chicken keepers, raising chickens is much more than keeping chickens for egg laying purposes. They are our pets and our friends. Bhuttt, you must admit that grabbing a basket and walking out to your chicken coop to collect fresh eggs from your flock feels pretty gooddd. We feel a sense of pride in our flock and a sense of accomplishment in providing nutritious food on the table (or, as the trendy kids say, “Farm-to-Table”).
In order to regularly collect a full egg basket, you need to select the right chicken breed, for certain breeds excel in egg laying. And as January is the month to start thinking about what chicken breed to get- in preparation for Chick Season- now is the best time to research.
Ahnnd, if chicken eggs are your top priority to dodge store-bought egg prices, here are The Top 6 Best Egg Laying Breeds For Egg Production. P.S. Some of these breeds (Australorps, Golden Comet, Leghorn, Lohmann Brown, and Rhode Island Red) will sound familiar from other Treats for Chickens’ chicken breeds or egg layer breeds blogs…
Austra White chickens are a hybrid chicken breed created from crossing black Australorps and white Leghorns. Compared to their purebred relatives, the white Leghorn (and their fickle disposition), the Austra Whites have a calm, docile personality. Which puts you at ease in collecting eggs for the household.
Eggs Per Year: 250+ Egg Size: Large Egg Color: White
Australorps are a heritage, dual-purpose chicken breed that can be raised for egg production. The hens of heritage chicken breeds, such as the Australorps, have a longer productive lifespan. Australorps are as calm and gentle as chicken breeds come. Most hens from this breed will be docile, relaxed, and relatively tame chickens, which are great for young chicken keepers.
Eggs Per Year: 250+ Egg Size: Large Egg Color: Dark salmon pink to light brown
What would you like to learn more about the Australorps chicken breed? Cluck here.
Golden Comet chickens are a widespread hybrid chicken breed and bred by mating a White Rock hen and a New Hampshire Red rooster. This combination results in sex-linked chicks, which can be sexed as soon as they hatch based on their plumage’s color. Golden Comets also mature quickly and start laying earlier than many purebred chicken breeds- as early as 16 weeks. Golden Comets are a pretty laid-back chicken breed.
Eggs Per Year: 250-300 Egg Size: Large Egg Color: Brown
Leghorn chickens are one of the most well-known purebred chicken breeds (probably thanks to cartoons and commercials) and are egg -cellent layers. Leghorns come in widely recognized varieties, from the Blue to the Cuckoo; but, the white Leghorn is by far the most popular and is the best egg laying variety. White leghorns are a standard breed used by the commercial egg industry for producing white eggs. Whites are said to be nervous, but some say their White Leghorns have been the sweetest, primarily tame.
Eggs Per Year: 200-280 Egg Size: Medium to large Egg Color: White
What to learn more about the 5 Best White Egg Laying Chicken Breeds? Cluck here.
Lohmann Brown chickens are a hybrid breed of chicken that originates from Germany. The breed was developed by crossing Rhode Island Red chickens or New Hampshire Red chickens with White Rock chickens. The result was a prolific, brown egg laying breed of chicken. Lohmann Brown chickens mature quickly and start laying as soon as 21 weeks. Not only do they lay an incredible amount of eggs, but their friendly temperament makes them suitable around children and other chickens!
Eggs Per Year: 320+ Egg Size: Large Egg Color: Brown
Rhode Island Red
Rhode Island Red chickens are a heritage chicken breed known for creating many commercial hybrid chicken breeds thanks to their natural egg production. Not only are Rhode Island Red hens good layers, but these hens have a longer productive lifespan than many hybrid chicken breeds. Rhode Island Red hens are spirited girls- loud and high energy!
Eggs Per Year: 150-250 Egg Size: Large Egg Color: Brown
What to learn more about the 5 Best Brown Egg Laying Chicken Breeds? Cluck here.
Now, you probably noticed that I keep mentioning the terms "hybrid chicken" and "heritage (purebred) chicken." Thus, you are probably also asking, "Which one is better for egg production? A hybrid chicken breed or a heritage chicken breed?"
This depends on what you are looking for. Many hybrid chicken breeds (not just those listed above) have been designed for optimal egg output. Hybrid chicken breeds have been developed to outperform their heritage, purebred ancestors. However, hybrids only lay well for the first one to two years of their life. Whereas, purebred chickens have better genetics because they have both a longer productive lifespan and a longer lifespan in general (as well as being less disease prone). Let me know in the comments section if you want a blog on the pros or cons of hybrid chicken breeds or a hybrid vs heritage chickens blog. I can scramble something up for you.
A little Chicken Care for the Winter reminder. If you’re a backyard chicken keeper with one of the listed egg laying breeds (Austria White chickens, Australorps chickens, Golden Comet chickens, Leghorn chickens, Lohmann Brown chickens, or Rhode Island Red chickens), but notice that egg production has slowed down during the winter, fret not. One of the reasons (not the only reason) could be the lack of light. A chicken’s egg production slows depending on how much light they get during the day. If you want to encourage egg production, you must provide a light source (not a heat lamp) to ensure your chickens get between 12 to 16 hours of light daily. I also recommend a good source of calcium and phosphorus for eggshell formation in laying hens. This can be found in Treats for Chickens' oyster shells and sea kelp meal, or better yet, in a Need A Little Extra Bundle.
Whether you want a daily supply of fresh eggs instead of skyrocketing-priced eggs from the store or start your own chicken egg vending machine business (like Sonoma County’s Wise Acre Farm), these chicken breeds are the top egg layers. Provide your flock with dedicated time, love, a nutritious diet, and a little pampering (aka treats), and you will get the best of both worlds from your flock- fresh eggs and happy chickens!
- Dawn, Treats for Chickens 🧡
Can we kelp you? For more information about domestic fowls, visit the Treats for Chickens blog, cluck HERE.
Hungry for more feathered friend wellness? Of course, you do, because your flock deserves eggs (cellent) treat (ment). For fabulous and healthy egg laying hens, Treats for Chickens recommends certified organic supplement: Cluck’n Sea Kelp™
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Let's keep your flock happy + healthy!