Laying chicken breeds!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by cackleberrycam, Mar 6, 2014.

  1. cackleberrycam

    cackleberrycam Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 28, 2013
    What are the TOP 15 layer breeds of chicken????
    I am trying to figure it out! [​IMG]
    I was thinking these may be the ones:

    1. Isa Browns
    2. Sussex
    3. Leghorns
    4. Jersey Giants
    5. Rhode Islands
    6. Stars
    7. Australorps
    8. Marans
    9. California Grays
    10. Plymouth Rocks
    11. Minocras
    12. Wyandottes
    13. Brahmas
    14. Orpingtons
    15. Anconas

    Well, what do you think???
    Is there a breed that I left out that should be on my list??
    Is there a breed on my list that is not a top layer??

    Thanks! [​IMG]
  2. PrairieChickens

    PrairieChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2012
    White Leghorns are the absolute #1. If sheer productivity is your goal, go with them. In my flock of birds, the best layers have--surprisingly--been the Easter Eggers. They laid consistently all winter long, even when other hens stopped laying completely. I had over 15 hens of laying age this winter, and only three of them were easter eggers, yet the EE's accounted for half of the eggs we collected.

    The important thing to remember is that all hens will lay about the same number of eggs in their lifetime, so if you get a leghorn who lays almost every day and a Polish Crested who only lays twice a week, they'll lay the same number of eggs over the course of their lives... The leghorn will just lay all of her eggs in the first couple of years, while the polish may still be laying at the age of 6 or 7.
    1 person likes this.
  3. cackleberrycam

    cackleberrycam Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 28, 2013
    I agree! My leghorn lays like CRAZY!!
  4. Spangled

    Spangled Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 12, 2012
    Serenity Valley

    For me, I'd have to organize them differently by making two categories: Hybrid Layers and Standard Styles

    Many would say we couldn't use the word "breed" because the APA gets to make the decisions on what type of chicken is a breed.

    Hybrid would mean to me any cross between two types of chickens that consistently uses hybrid vigor to lay more eggs than either of the birds used in the cross. Example: Production Red X White Rock. Hybrid would also mean any type of layer that has had generations of crosses done within its own genetic subset, as in industrial White Leghorns, to make a "super layer."

    Hybrid Layers (examples, not in any order)
    White Leghorns
    ISA Browns
    Stars (also Comets, Cinnamon Queens, Indian Rivers, Etc., often called sexlinks)
    Production Reds (also called at times Rhode Island Reds, but includes most high production red layers)
    Austra Whites
    Etc. (can't think of other U.S. examples)

    Standard Styles of Layers
    New Hampshires
    Barred Rocks

    Concerning your list, I can't really disagree with any of your choices. They could be the top 15 layers.

    Personally, I have had Campines that laid shockingly great right through a cold winter with no supplementary light. 5.5 eggs a week, pullet year; I didn't count subsequent years. Can I find that strain again? Possibly. But I don't for one second think that I would get winter laying Campines that could do that ever again. Why?

    Because it was the strain and not the breed.

    I am of the opinion, and of course, I could be wrong, that finding good egg layers in Standard Styles of Layers is a hit or miss type of thing for the most part anymore. Very few folks are breeding Standard Styles of Layers for high egg production because the Hybrid Layers are performing so well and fulfilling that need.

    How often do we hear of anyone doing trap nesting and counting eggs during a hens second year and then only breeding from those hens that lay 250 eggs or more (or some other high number)? I don't think there's any economic advantage to anyone to perform all that work. I think that numbers have fallen off on what White Wyandottes can do when comparing to what they were doing back in the days of laying contests in around 1890 to 1915 (or whenever, I think there were competitions in the 30s also, but can't remember for sure at this point and don't want to stop to look it up). If we want TOP Layers and there are ISA Browns available, why not just buy those? Or White Leghorns? (Well, I guess I don't because I'd have to get 25 ISAs (I like more color in my backyard) and the White Leghorns have too big of a comb for our weather.)

    I wish I could find out for sure if any hatcheries or their hatching egg suppliers (if the hatchery doesn't raise their own) are doing trap nesting and are only breeding from hens with high outputs and breeding for egg production in breeds such as Minorcas, Marans, Speckled Sussex, etc. But it's a big secret what goes on, so I can't find out.

    Anyway, I see that Marans are on your list, but I'm not sure which variety. My personal experience is that my Black Copper Marans are not huge producers. They lay right at 3+ eggs a week clear up until 5 years of age at least, stopping at their molt in the fall and starting back up in late-ish February, by and large. But that's my strain. I have no idea what My Pet Chicken's rates of lay are. They definitely have a different strain than I have. I don't know where Cackle got theirs, but likely from a good source, and when I need to replace my Black Coppers, that's probably where I'll go. (3+ means 3.?, but not usually 4 except their first year)

    My New Hampshires from Cackle are from the Newcomer strain that Cackle claims to be improving on (but I don't know how), and I have bred my own from my initial batch for a number of years. They out-lay any Speckled Sussex that I've had. But I can't say that the New Hampshire should be on the TOP 15 list. I've only ever had certain Standard Styles of Layers and can't possibly know if all New Hampshires always lay more than Speckled Sussexes. Mine do for sure, though. I've charted the egg counts, and there is no doubt. I would put my New Hampshires on my TOP 15 list. :) But that's only based on the Standard Styles of Layers that I have experience with. I still say Speckled Sussex are just fine in the egg-laying department. They were higher than my Black Copper Marans.

    I have had really good luck with green egg layers also, which go under the Standard Styles of Layers because they can't be a breed according to those making the rules. Olive Eggers (Black Copper Marans X green egg layers-not Ameraucana breed) lay really well in my experience and would be on my TOP 15 list for Standard Styles of Layers.

    Barred Rocks would be on my list of TOP layers if they hadn't been so noisy and resistant to mixing well with others. Great layers. For the record, I am so not demeaning all Barred Rocks because most are great for others. I just ended up with a strain that were great layers, but obnoxiously loud and ... well ... they wouldn't be voted Miss Congeniality, that's for sure. Many folks speak of unassuming, friendly, quiet Barred Rocks.

    Also, chicks need to get off to a good start to be good layers. My experience (and it's echoed in production books and manuals) is that if they get off to a bad start because of too much time in shipping, like 4 days instead of 2, that they may not be able to overcome that bad start and may always be mediocre layers. I had one batch for sure like that and another that was maybe like that.

    Also, like most of us know already, brooding, feeding, and housing make a difference. In the best of conditions, we get better rates of lay. Layers also put out more eggs if we add additional lighting in the correct manner through winter. (I don't add extra lighting to layers.) Starting chicks in spring as opposed to late fall makes a difference on how their system ends up developing and performing based on day length decreasing and increasing. But I presume our TOP 15 Layers lists are based on "best case scenario."
    1 person likes this.
  5. cackleberrycam

    cackleberrycam Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 28, 2013
    You see, I am creating a website on chicken breeds so I just wanted to have a list of 15 top laying chicken breeds for beginners to view.[​IMG]
  6. iamfivewire

    iamfivewire Chillin' With My Peeps

    We have a Delaware pullet that that lays a well as any of our RSLs + shes a real sweetheart
    1 person likes this.
  7. fatcatx

    fatcatx Chillin' With My Peeps

    I second the Delaware. Once ours started laying it was 6+ days in a row like clockwork (and it was in the middle of winter with no light!) Those with Brahmas that I know do not get a lot of eggs out of them - maybe four on average.
    1 person likes this.
  8. cackleberrycam

    cackleberrycam Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 28, 2013
    Thanks, guys!

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