The best breeds of laying hens

Written by jessica blue
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The best breeds of laying hens
Fresh brown eggs (Chicken shaped eggs holder with three eggs image by velora from

When choosing a breed of hen for laying, you must take several factors into account. How productive will their egg-laying be? At what age will they start laying? Will they "go broody" and sit on their eggs until they hatch? Will they be aggressive toward other chickens, or wander away from the coop? Over time, chickens have been carefully bred for certain features that make them better layers.

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Leghorns are among the world's most popular breeds. They have been kept as layers since ancient times, but the breed was refined in the 19th and 20th centuries. Leghorns lay large white eggs, starting at a young age and continuing at a high rate of production. They will not "go broody" and hatch their own chicks. They can be flighty, and are often kept in confinement.

The best breeds of laying hens
A brown Leghorn (chicken image by Pity from

Rhode Island Red

Another extremely popular breed, Rhode Island Reds are less flighty than Leghorns but produce at a slightly lower rate. They lay large brown eggs, and will set on eggs but not always go broody. Rhode Island Reds can be aggressive, but usually are quite docile; they are good for backyard flocks and cage-free production.

The best breeds of laying hens
A Rhode Island Red (chicken image by marcio branco from

Sex Link

The odd name of this breed indicates just how much control humans have over it. Sex Link chickens are bred specifically for egg production, and their colour pattern indicates their sex. As they are hybrids, however, this colour patterning does not persist past the first generation. The characteristics of these birds vary; they are available directly from breeders, who can give specific information on their traits. Overall, because they are so carefully bred, sex link chickens come with a guarantee of high production and good behaviour.

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