What Considerations Should I Keep In Mind When Selecting Breeds For Egg Production?

what considerations should i keep in mind when selecting breeds for egg production

Are you thinking about starting your own backyard flock and becoming a proud chicken owner? Before you can enjoy the delightful pleasure of fresh eggs every morning, you need to carefully consider which breeds are best suited for egg production. While it may seem daunting at first, there are several key factors you should keep in mind when selecting your chicken breeds. From their temperament to their egg-laying abilities, this article will guide you through the important considerations to ensure you make the best decision for your flock. So let’s dive in and discover the eggcellent world of chicken breeds!

1. Physical Characteristics

Size and Weight

When selecting breeds for egg production, it’s important to consider the size and weight of the chickens. Different breeds vary in size, with some being larger and heavier than others. Larger breeds generally tend to produce larger eggs. If you’re looking for a breed that lays larger eggs, consider choosing a larger-sized chicken. However, keep in mind that larger chickens require more space and may eat more feed compared to smaller breeds.

Feather Color

Another aspect to consider when choosing a breed for egg production is the feather color. Chickens come in a wide range of feather colors, including white, brown, black, and even multicolored patterns. The feather color doesn’t directly impact egg production, but it can affect the aesthetic appeal of your flock. Some people prefer the classic look of white or brown-feathered chickens, while others enjoy the striking patterns of multicolored breeds. Ultimately, the choice of feather color is a matter of personal preference.

Comb Type

The comb is the fleshy growth on top of a chicken’s head, and its shape and size can vary among different breeds. The comb serves several important functions, including regulating a chicken’s body temperature and indicating its overall health. Common comb types include single, rose, and pea combs. Single combs are the most common and are found in popular breeds like the Rhode Island Red and the Leghorn. Rose combs are shorter and broader, while pea combs are smaller and have multiple lobes. When selecting a breed based on comb type, consider the climate in your area. Chickens with larger combs may be more prone to frostbite in colder climates.

Egg Color

The color of the eggs a breed produces is an important consideration for many egg farmers. Different breeds lay eggs of varying colors, ranging from white and brown to blue and even tinted shades like green or pink. The color of the eggshell is determined by the breed’s genetics and does not affect the taste or nutritional value of the egg. When selecting a breed based on egg color, consider your personal preference and the market demand in your area. Some customers may have a preference for certain egg colors, so choosing a breed that lays those colored eggs can be advantageous for marketing purposes.

2. Egg Production Rate

Number of Eggs per Year

One of the most crucial factors to consider when selecting a breed for egg production is the number of eggs it lays per year. The average production rate varies greatly between breeds, with some laying as few as 150 eggs per year and others capable of producing up to 300 or more. If your primary goal is maximum egg production, opt for a breed known for its high egg-laying capacity.

Consistency of Production

Apart from considering the number of eggs a breed produces, it’s also essential to examine the consistency of production. Some breeds have a consistent laying pattern throughout the year, while others may experience seasonal fluctuations or even periods of complete cessation. If you’re looking for a breed that consistently lays eggs throughout the year, choose one that is known for its year-round egg production capabilities.

Peak Laying Period

Additionally, it is worth considering the peak laying period of different breeds. Certain breeds may experience a higher egg production rate during specific seasons, while others maintain a consistent laying pattern year-round. Understanding the peak laying periods can help you plan your flock management and adjust feed and lighting schedules accordingly.

3. Egg Size


Egg size is another factor to consider when selecting breeds for egg production. Some breeds lay smaller-sized eggs, which can be advantageous if you’re catering to a market that prefers smaller eggs or if you plan to sell eggs in cartons specifically designed for smaller eggs. Keep in mind that smaller eggs may have slightly lower nutritional content compared to larger eggs.


Medium-sized eggs are a popular choice among many egg consumers. They are versatile and can be used in various culinary applications. Numerous breeds produce medium-sized eggs, making it relatively easy to find a breed that suits your production goals.


For those seeking breeds that consistently produce large-sized eggs, several options are available. Chickens that lay large eggs are prized for their impressive size, which can be advantageous for those who enjoy baking or prefer larger-sized eggs for cooking purposes. Larger eggs tend to have a higher yolk-to-white ratio, which can be desirable for specific culinary applications.

Extra Large

If you’re searching for eggs that make a statement, selecting a breed known for laying extra-large eggs may be the right choice for you. These impressive eggs can be a draw for customers looking for high-quality, large eggs. However, it’s important to note that eggs of this size may require larger cartons and have a higher feed consumption compared to smaller eggs.

4. Temperament

Docile and Friendly

The temperament of your chickens can make a significant difference in your overall experience as a poultry keeper. If you value interaction with your birds and want a breed that is easy to handle, consider selecting docile and friendly breeds. These chickens are generally calm, gentle, and more amenable to being held and petted. Docile and friendly breeds are also well-suited for families with children or those wanting a peaceful backyard flock.

Flighty and Skittish

On the other hand, some breeds tend to be more flighty and skittish in nature. These chickens may be easily startled or quick to take flight, making them less suitable for those seeking hands-on interaction. Flighty and skittish breeds often prefer to keep their distance from humans and may require more time and effort to gain their trust. However, they can still be excellent layers and are popular among those focused exclusively on egg production.

5. Adaptability and Hardiness


When selecting breeds for egg production, it’s essential to consider the climate in your region. Some breeds are better equipped to handle extreme cold, while others thrive in hot climates. Understanding the specific needs of different breeds in relation to your local climate can help ensure the health and well-being of your chickens. Hardier breeds will require fewer climate-controlled resources, reducing the overall costs of keeping your flock comfortable.

Housing Conditions

Another aspect of adaptability and hardiness is the ability of a breed to thrive in various housing conditions. Some breeds are better suited for free-ranging or semi-free-ranging setups, while others may adapt well to confined spaces. Evaluating the housing conditions you can provide and matching them with the breed’s preferences will contribute to the overall success of your flock.

Predator Resistance

Predators pose a significant threat to chickens in many areas, so selecting a breed with good predator resistance can enhance the security of your flock. Some breeds have a stronger instinct to protect themselves and their young, making them more capable of deterring or escaping from potential danger. Depending on your location and the prevalence of predators in your area, a breed with enhanced predator resistance may be a wise choice.

6. Feed Conversion Efficiency

Egg Production vs. Feed Consumption

Feed conversion efficiency measures how well a chicken converts its feed into eggs. Some breeds are more efficient than others, requiring less feed to produce a similar number of eggs. Opting for breeds with high feed conversion efficiency can be cost-effective in the long run, as it helps minimize feed costs while still maintaining a high egg production rate.

Foraging Ability

Foraging ability is closely tied to feed conversion efficiency. Chickens that excel at foraging can supplement their diet with insects, worms, and vegetation found in their environment. This reduces their reliance on commercial feed and allows them to thrive on a more natural diet. If you have access to pasture or spacious outdoor areas, selecting breeds known for their foraging abilities may be beneficial.

7. Longevity

Egg Production Lifespan

The egg production lifespan of a breed refers to the length of time during which a hen will consistently lay eggs at a satisfactory rate. Some breeds may have a shorter egg production lifespan, resulting in a decline in egg production as they age. Others can maintain a steady egg production rate for a more extended period. Assessing the egg production lifespan is vital to ensure a consistent supply of eggs over time.

Overall Lifespan

The overall lifespan of a breed is an essential factor to consider when selecting chickens for your flock. While chickens generally live around 5 to 10 years, some breeds may have a shorter or longer lifespan. Opting for a breed with a longer lifespan can ensure a more extended period of egg production and reduce the need for frequent replacements.

8. Broodiness

Broody vs. Non-Broody Breeds

Broodiness refers to a hen’s instinct to sit on and hatch eggs. Some breeds exhibit a strong broody tendency, while others are less likely to go broody. If you’re interested in hatching and raising chicks naturally, selecting a broody breed can be advantageous. On the other hand, if you anticipate buying fertilized eggs or chicks, a non-broody breed may be a more suitable choice.

Desire for Hatching and Raising Chicks

Consider your preference for hatching and raising chicks when selecting breeds. Some chicken keepers enjoy the process of breeding and raising chicks, while others prefer a more straightforward egg production-focused approach. Understanding your desire for raising chicks will help you choose a breed that aligns with your goals and requirements.

9. Noise Level

Quiet Breeds

If noise levels are a concern in your living situation or neighborhood, selecting quiet breeds is essential. Some breeds are naturally quieter and don’t vocalize as frequently or loudly as others. Quiet breeds can help maintain good relations with neighbors, particularly in urban or suburban areas where noise complaints may arise.

Noisy Breeds

Alternatively, if noise isn’t an issue or you enjoy the cheerful sounds of a thriving flock, selecting breeds with a more vocal nature can add character to your flock. Although noisy breeds may not be suitable for all environments, they can contribute to the ambiance of a rural farm setting or serve as a natural alarm system.

10. Availability

Local Breeds

Considering the availability of chicken breeds in your area is crucial when selecting for egg production. Local breeds are often well-adapted to the specific climate and conditions of the region. They may also have established reputations for egg production and be readily accessible from local breeders or hatcheries. Supporting local breeds can also contribute to the preservation of endangered or rare chicken varieties.

Rare Breeds

Rare breeds are often prized for their unique characteristics, historical significance, and genetic diversity. If you have a particular interest in preserving rare breeds or are looking for a more niche market for your eggs, selecting a rare breed may be the way to go. However, be aware that rare breeds may have different requirements and may be more challenging to find.

Commercially Available Breeds

Finally, commercially available breeds offer a wide range of options for both small-scale and large-scale egg production. These breeds are typically well-documented in terms of their characteristics, egg production rates, and recommended management practices. Commercially available breeds are widely accessible and are often bred specifically for optimal egg production and efficiency. Choosing a commercially available breed can provide a reliable foundation for building a successful egg production operation.

In conclusion, when selecting breeds for egg production, it’s essential to consider various factors such as size and weight, feather color, comb type, and egg color. Additionally, consider egg production rate, egg size, temperament, adaptability and hardiness, feed conversion efficiency, longevity, broodiness, noise level, and availability. By carefully evaluating these considerations, you can choose the breeds that best align with your goals, preferences, and local conditions, setting yourself up for a successful and enjoyable egg production experience.