Large Egg-laying Chicken Breeds

By Chicken Pets on
Large Egg-laying Chicken Breeds

Welcome to our exploration of large egg-laying chicken breeds, perfect for backyard enthusiasts seeking healthy, happy hens and bountiful egg production!

Large Egg-laying Chicken Breeds

Large egg-laying chicken breeds combine the benefits of ample egg production with substantial size, making them suitable for backyard flocks. Examples include Rhode Island Reds, Sussex, and Plymouth Rocks, all of which are known for their hardiness, friendly nature, and ability to lay many large eggs.

Rhode Island Reds: The Classic Layer

Rhode Island Reds are a popular choice for backyard flock owners due to their excellent egg-laying abilities, adaptability to different environments, and friendly personalities. Originating in the United States, these hardy birds are known to lay around 200-300 large brown eggs per year.


Rhode Island Reds are large-sized birds with strong, rectangular bodies, making them a suitable breed for both egg-laying and meat production. They feature deep, glossy red plumage and have a calm, friendly demeanor, which is ideal for those who want sociable chickens in their backyard.

Sussex: The All-Rounder

The Sussex breed hails from England and is known for its docility, friendliness, and egg-laying prowess. Displaying a variety of colors, such as white, red, and speckled, Sussex chickens can lay up to 250 large eggs per year, ranging from cream to light brown in color.


Sussex chickens have a rectangular body with a deep, wide chest, featuring short, strong legs. They get along well with other breeds, making them perfect for adding diversity to your backyard flock. Additionally, Sussex hens make excellent mothers and can even be used to hatch eggs of other breeds.

Plymouth Rocks: The Friendly Giants

Plymouth Rocks are an American breed, appreciated for their docile nature and impressive egg-laying capabilities. These large chickens typically produce around 200-280 brown eggs per year and are an excellent dual-purpose breed for both eggs and meat.


Plymouth Rocks are easy to identify due to their unique black and white striped plumage, often called “barred” pattern. They have a sturdy body, making them great for cold climates, and are known for their gentle, friendly personalities. These robust birds can also forage efficiently and are comfortable with humans, making them an ideal addition to any backyard flock.

Orpington: The Gentle Giants

Originating from England, Orpingtons are large, friendly birds that can lay up to 175-200 large, light-brown eggs each year. They’re well-suited for family environments, displaying a calm and docile temperament that makes them easy to handle.


Orpingtons are large-bodied birds with soft, abundant feathering that makes them look even larger than they are. They come in various colors, including black, blue, and buff, and have an endearing nature, making them perfect companions for children and seniors alike.

Australorps: The Australian Layers

Australorps are an Australian breed derived from Orpingtons, known for their impressive egg-laying skills and gentle demeanor. Providing around 250-300 large, light-brown eggs each year, Australorps hold a world record for the most eggs laid by a single hen in 365 days.


Australorps have solid, muscular bodies and can be easily recognized by their shimmering black plumage with green iridescence. These friendly birds are excellent foragers, and their calm personality makes them ideal for integration with existing flocks.

Wyandottes: The Stylish Layer

Wyandottes are an American breed treasured not only for their egg-laying capabilities but also for their striking appearance. These beautiful and friendly birds can produce around 200-240 large brown eggs per year and are great for colder climates.


Wyandottes feature a wide variety of beautiful patterns, such as Silver Laced and Golden Laced, and possess a broad, deep body with striking plumage. With their docile demeanor, they make for excellent backyard companions that are both attractive and productive.

Selecting the Right Breed for Your Flock

When deciding which large egg-laying breed to add to your backyard flock, consider the following:

  • Egg production: Review the average number of eggs each breed lays annually, selecting one that works best with your egg requirements.
  • Climate: Some breeds tolerate cold or hot environments better than others. Consider your local climate when choosing the right breed for your backyard flock.
  • Space: Ensure that your backyard has ample space to accommodate these large breeds, taking into account each bird’s size and ability to roam freely.
  • Temperament: Different breeds possess varying temperaments. Select a breed that complements your family environment and existing flock.
  • Intent: If you plan to raise chickens for their meat in addition to eggs, consider dual-purpose breeds.

Keeping Your Chickens Healthy and Happy

Regardless of the breed, there are essential aspects to ensuring the health and happiness of your backyard chickens:

  • Proper housing: Provide sturdy, well-ventilated coops with adequate roosting space, and nesting boxes for egg-laying breeds.
  • Nutritious diet: Supply a balanced diet with quality chicken feed supplemented by vegetables, fruits, and occasional treats.
  • Safety: Safeguard your chickens by predator-proofing their coops and enclosing their foraging area with secure fencing.
  • Regular health checks: Observe your chickens routinely for signs of illness or injury, seeking necessary professional care if needed.

By carefully selecting the suitable large egg-laying breed and providing a nurturing environment, you’ll enjoy a thriving backyard flock that supplies you with nutritious, locally-sourced eggs for your family.

Additional Tips for Raising Large Egg-laying Chicken Breeds

Now that you’re familiar with some large egg-laying chicken breeds and their specific characteristics, here are some additional tips to help ensure a healthy and productive backyard flock:

Choosing the Right Feed

Chickens require proper nutrition to maintain good health, reach their full growth potential, and produce high-quality eggs consistently. Invest in a high-quality layer feed that contains the right balance of protein, vitamins, and minerals. During the laying period, it’s essential to provide added calcium and phosphorus for adequate egg production and strong eggshells. Supplementing their diet with oyster shells or crushed eggshells can fulfill this need.

Preventing Health Issues

By implementing preventive measures, you can protect your flock from common chicken health problems. Keep their living quarters clean and adhere to a consistent coop cleaning schedule. Prevent the buildup of dampness and moisture which can lead to respiratory issues. Regularly check for parasites and signs of external parasites, such as mites and lice. Consult a veterinarian for appropriate treatment plans if you suspect an infestation.

Practice Proper Biosecurity

Biosecurity involves taking everyday preventive measures to decrease the risk of spreading diseases in your backyard flock. Limit visitors to the chicken coop and run areas. Wash hands thoroughly before and after handling your chickens or cleaning their living quarters. Require footwear to be disinfected at the entrance for anyone visiting your chickens. Quarantine new birds before introducing them to the existing flock to identify any potential health concerns.

Handling Molting Season

Molting is a natural process where chickens lose their old feathers and grow new ones. During this period, egg production may decrease or stop completely. To support your birds through molting, temporarily increase their protein intake by offering a higher-protein feed or supplemental protein-rich treats. Avoid the urge to force lay during this time, as it may strain your hens and negatively impact their overall health.

Managing Flock Dynamics

Introducing new chickens to the flock can sometimes cause temporary disruptions in social dynamics. Carefully observe interactions between the new and existing members, intervening if necessary to prevent injury or extreme pecking order issues. Provide hiding spots or visual barriers in the coop and run area, allowing new or low-ranking hens to escape the more dominant flock members when needed.

By considering these additional tips alongside your choice of large egg-laying chicken breeds, you’re well on your way to cultivating a thriving, happy, and productive backyard flock.

FAQ Section: Large Egg-laying Chicken Breeds

If you have questions about selecting and raising large egg-laying chicken breeds, check out our FAQ section. We’ve compiled a list of common questions and answers to help you establish and maintain a healthy and productive backyard flock.

1. What is the best large egg-laying chicken breed for beginners?

For beginners, the Rhode Island Red is an excellent choice due to its hardy nature, adaptability, and friendly personality. Plus, they have exceptional egg-laying capabilities, providing around 200-300 large brown eggs per year.

2. Are large egg-laying breeds suitable for urban settings?

Yes, many large egg-laying breeds, such as the Sussex and Plymouth Rocks, can adapt to urban settings if provided adequate space, secure housing, and proper care. Check your local regulations regarding backyard flocks before setting up your coop.

3. How much space should I allocate for each large chicken in the coop and run?

Each large chicken should have a minimum of 4 square feet in the coop and 10 square feet in the run. Providing ample space prevents overcrowding, which can lead to stress, illness, and aggressive behaviors within the flock.

4. How often should I clean the chicken coop and change the bedding?

Aim to clean the chicken coop at least once a week, removing soiled bedding and droppings. Replace the bedding completely every 4 to 6 weeks to maintain optimal cleanliness and prevent the build-up of odors and harmful bacteria.

5. What treats can I give my chickens?

Safe and healthy treat options for chickens include fruits, vegetables, and grains such as watermelon, pumpkin seeds, and oatmeal. However, treats should not exceed 10% of their daily dietary intake, and avoid giving them salty or high-sugar foods.

6. When do hens start laying eggs?

Hens typically start laying eggs between 18-24 weeks of age, although the exact timing depends on the breed, season, and individual bird. As daylight hours play a crucial role in egg production, the onset of laying may vary throughout the year.

7. How long do large egg-laying breeds typically live?

Large egg-laying chicken breeds typically live for 5-10 years, depending on their living conditions, diet, and healthcare. Providing a clean environment, nutritious food, and appropriate medical care when needed will help ensure a longer, healthier life for your chickens.

8. Do I need a rooster to get eggs from my hens?

No, a rooster is not necessary for hens to lay eggs. Hens will lay eggs without fertilization, and roosters only become essential if you plan on hatching fertile eggs and raising chicks.

9. How can I tell if my eggs are fresh?

To ensure the freshness of your eggs, perform the float test. Fill a bowl with water and gently place the egg into it. A fresh egg will sink to the bottom, while a bad egg will float due to gas build-up inside the shell.

10. How many nesting boxes should I provide?

As a general rule, provide one nesting box for every four hens. This arrangement will encourage your hens to share nesting boxes, reducing territorial behaviors and ensuring adequate space for laying.

11. Can I leave my chickens alone for a weekend?

Chickens can be left alone for a couple of days if provided with sufficient food, water, and proper housing. However, it’s best to ask a friend or neighbor to check on your flock, especially if you have concerns about predators or extreme weather conditions.

12. Is it okay to mix different breeds in my backyard flock?

Yes, you can mix different chicken breeds in your backyard flock. In fact, it’s recommended to have a diverse flock, as it promotes a more stimulating social environment. Choose breeds with compatible temperaments and similar space requirements for a harmonious coexistence.

13. Can I feed my chickens kitchen scraps?

Yes, chickens can be fed kitchen scraps, such as vegetables, fruits, and grains. However, moderation is essential, and avoid giving them moldy or spoiled foods, as well as high-salt or high-sugar options. Always provide a balanced diet with quality chicken feed as their primary food source.

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