Choosing Your Egg Layers
Congratulations, you've made a great decision to raise chickens for eggs! Eggs are a great source of protein and nutrients, and raising chickens as a method of producing your own food can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
Myth: Brown eggs taste different from white eggs. False! The taste and quality of your egg is going to depend primarily on the feed your birds receive and the environment in which they live. Size is dependent mostly on the age and breed of the chicken. Nutrition certainly helps!
What's the difference between brown, white, and blue eggs? Nothing but the color of the shell. Brown Egg Layers are the most common types of egg layers in the chicken world. Most people don't realize this because if you didn't grow up on a farm, you probably saw a majority of white eggs at the grocery store.
Brown egg layers are great because they are usually heavy and hardy chicken breeds that lay large eggs, resist common poultry diseases, lay throughout the winter, and can handle most weather climates throughout the United States. Most brown egg layers are also what you would consider Dual Purpose Chicken Breeds.
If you're interested in brown egg laying chickens, learn more about the benefits of raising Brown Egg Layers or Dual Purpose Egg Layers, and check out a few of our favorite breeds in the Brown Egg Layer Buying Guide.
There are only a few breeds of white egg layers that are kept for egg production, but many varieties of chickens do lay white eggs.
White eggs became most prevalent in grocery stores and refrigerators across the country because of the emergence of the White Leghorn Chicken as the most prolific and economic breed of egg laying hen.
The White Leghorn Chicken is a smaller breed with an excellent feed conversion ration. This means it requires less feed to remain a prolific layer. While they White Leghorn will lay an abundance of eggs year round and are very hardy and disease resistant, their smaller size and large combs don't make them as great of an option for backyard chicken farmers in the colder climates.
Regardless, the Leghorn is one of the best egg producers around, and if you're looking for white eggs, you can't go wrong. Check out our White Egg Layer Buying Guide for more info on the Leghorn and other white layer varieties.
That's right, in case you weren't familiar, there are some chicken breeds that will actually lay a blue, green, olive, or pink colored egg.
The most common of these breeds raised today is called the Ameraucana chicken, or Easter Egger as we like to call it. The Easter Egger has a few other fancy traits like a Muff and Beard that give them a unique appearance, but they will lay an abundance of blue or green chicken eggs depending on the bird.
The Easter Egger Breed comes in a variety of color patterns, none of which we separate or sell individually, so you can receive any combination of blue, white, brown, or other base Easter Egger color variety. All varieties are incredibly beautiful and unique.
Other Things to Consider
There are a few other things to consider when selecting the best breeds for your chicken flock. Are you concerned with their temperament or do you just want the most egg production possible? Do you care as much about the beauty of your flock as you do about their egg production? Are you interested in breed conservation? These are all very important questions that you should consider before making your purchase.
Production Chicken Breeds are breeds that do not have a historic lineage in American Poultry Production. These are usually hybrid breeds that have been developed for farmers that want to maximize meat or egg production on their farm.
This is not the same as factory farming, however factory farms usually do use production breeds. You may simply want to raise a small flock and minimize your feed costs while producing enough eggs to sell locally at a farmers market or grocery store.
In this case you would want to consider a production breed. They are prolific layers, incredibly disease resistant, and are usually cold and heat tolerant as well as year round layers. A downside to this is that many production varieties will not do as well in mixed flocks and can sometimes be slightly more aggressive than other layers.
Our most prominent production layer is the Production Red Chicken. These are a go to breed for farmers that want maximum production of large brown eggs. There simply isn't another breed on the market that will match its output.
What are Heritage Chicken Breeds? Heritage chicken breeds are breeds that have been raised and developed for many generations in American History. These chickens were produced well before industrial agriculture and were carefully selected and bred for traits that would help them thrive and adapt to their local environment.
These breeds are incredibly important for smaller farming operations without the resources of the modern agricultural movement. Because they were developed over many generations prior to these modern ag practices, they contain attributes that most production breeds lack - foraging instincts, hardiness, disease resistance, longevity, high fertility to name a few.
These are the breeds you'll find along countrysides and backyards across American, and it's critical to future generations of farmers that we preserve these breeds and continue to breed and raise them. Because they have been bred for over a century, they have genetic make up that is incredible valuable to farmers looking to raise birds with certain traits. When heritage breed is lost or becomes extinct, it's genetic make up is lost forever.
Read more about Heritage Breeds and the importance of breeding them on our blog, and see a list of heritage breeds that you can raise for Eggs along with their conservation status. And great news, most of our Dual Purpose/Brown Egg Laying hens are also heritage breeds!
If you're looking to raise some Broilers for meat along with your egg layers, be sure to check out the Broiler Buying Guide as well!