Best Chickens That Lay White Eggs
Whether you raise a few hens in your backyard or a whole flock on your homestead, many times you want to include chickens that lay various colored eggs.
Not only do the eggs look beautiful, but it is fun to have a mixed flock. If you want to add some chickens that lay white eggs to your flock, you have many breeds to choose from.
The White Leghorn is the most popular chicken breed that lays white eggs. They are an excellent layer and will lay an egg almost every day during the peak season. This amounts to about 280 eggs a year.
Leghorns are usually the breed that lays the typical white eggs you find in grocery stores. But there isn’t any reason that backyard chicken keepers can’t raise them either.
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The biggest downside to raising White Leghorns is that they are a bit standoffish. However, you’ll find that most white egg layers aren’t typically as friendly as some breeds that lay other colors of eggs.
Read: The Friendliest Chicken Breeds for Your Backyard Flock
White Leghorn chickens are also very lightweight so they aren’t the best breed if you plan to use older chickens in the soup pot. They don’t have nearly as much meat on their bones as some other breeds.
Leghorns are also usually good fliers and can easily escape from an enclosure that isn’t covered at the top. But because of their smaller size, white leghorns tend to eat less food than many other breeds making them a top choice if you sell eggs.
Some people have said that white leghorns aren’t very good foragers, but in my flock, I haven’t found that to be true. Our leghorns seem to find just as many bugs as the other breeds that are supposedly better foragers.
Leghorns don’t tend to go broody which can be either a good or a bad trait, depending on what your purpose is. If your goal is egg production, not having broody chickens is a great thing.
However, if you want a mother hen that will raise baby chicks, it is best to look at another breed for your white eggs.
White Leghorns are very tolerant of hot weather so they make an ideal breed for warm climates. They will also do okay in cold weather, but because most tend to have large combs, they are susceptible to frostbite.
Read: How to Prevent Frostbite in Your Flock
Not all white egg-laying breeds have to be white chickens. Andalusian chickens are small active chickens that have a blue pigment to their feathers.
But this beautiful Mediterranean chicken breed still lays white eggs. They aren’t nearly as common as the White Leghorn, but they do lay well, laying up to 250 eggs a year.
Andalusians are very fond of flying. To keep them confined to your backyard, you will need a high fence.
Andalusians are a great chicken if you have room for your flock to free range. They are extremely curious so they make excellent foragers.
The Andalusian breed can tolerate heat well but doesn’t thrive in extremely cold weather. However, the hens tend to continue to lay throughout the winter if it isn’t too cold.
To see pictures of the Andalusian breed visit My Pet Chicken.
Ancona Chickens are another of the Mediterranean breeds that are good layers of small white chicken eggs. Anconas tend to lay 200-220 eggs each year.
They have black feathers, some of which have white tips. Sometimes the black feathers can take on a greenish tint.
Anconas have often been called “the Black Leghorn chicken” because their body shape is so similar to the White Leghorn breed. Their small size means they don’t eat as much as larger birds making them a good choice for people who want to save money on feed.
The Ancona breed is very active making them excellent foragers. However, this also means they aren’t easily tamed unless you clip their wings.
They are a wonderful breed for cold weather conditions but can handle hotter climates as well. Ancona hen’s don’t usually go broody and the breed doesn’t handle confinement easily.
To see pictures of Anconas visit McMurray Hatchery.
Hamburg Chickens are a small-sized breed that can produce up to 200 white eggs per year. This is an older breed that has been raised for egg production for years.
Hamburg Chickens are both heat tolerant and cold hardy making them a good choice for almost any climate. They come in a variety of colors but tend to be nervous and flighty like most other white egg-laying breeds.
Hamburgs are great foragers and will thrive if allowed to free-range. However, they don’t tend to do as well in confinement so this may not be the breed for you if you need to keep them locked up.
Hamburgs are fast little birds which makes them hard to catch. They also have an innate ability to evade predators quite well. They are good fliers so they will roost up high in the trees instead of inside your coop if they have that option.
The Hamburg breed is a popular breed for showing at country fairs and is supposedly the original exhibition chicken. Hamburg chickens don’t tend to go broody so keep that in mind if you want to breed your flock.
To see a picture of the Hamburg breed visit The Livestock Conservancy.
California White Chicken
California Whites are excellent producers of large white eggs. Each hen averages about 290-300 large eggs each year. If you want lots of eggs, this is the breed to choose. They are some of the most prolific egg layers you will find.
Many chickens of the California White breed have a few black spots on their feathers. This helps to be able to easily identify one chicken from another. They have a single large comb.
Like most chickens that lay white eggs, they are flighty and nervous so they don’t make the best pets. However, they do well free-ranging.
This breed came about as the result of breeding a White Leghorn hen with a California Grey rooster. These hens tend to lay eggs for quite a few years and make excellent backyard chickens as they will do fine free-ranging but can handle confinement well too.
California Whites are a cold-hardy breed but also do well in warmer climates. They will usually lay more eggs than White Leghorns and typically live longer than leghorns too.
To see pictures of the California White breed visit Welp Hatchery.
If you’ve paid much attention to the descriptions above, you’ll notice that most of the chicken breeds that lay white eggs have been flighty and nervous breeds.
But what if you want a friendly chicken that lays white eggs? If you want a tamer breed, check out the Polish chicken.
Polish chickens tend to only lay about 150 small white eggs each year. But this breed does come with its own charms.
Polish chickens come in many different colors and most have a large crest of feathers on top of their heads. Those same feathers can cover their eyes and limit their ability to see well.
Since they don’t have a full range of vision, they tend to be picked on by other flock members. This often causes them to be some of the lowest chickens in the pecking order.
Polish hens are rarely broody so they don’t make the best mama hens. But they are great for showing at fairs or arenas as many people consider them an ornamental breed because of their “pom-pom” hairdos.
So while the Polish chickens won’t give you as many eggs as other white layers, they are still probably the friendliest white egg-laying breed you’ll find.
How to Identify Chickens That Lay White Eggs
If you are wondering if there is a way to identify chickens that lay white eggs, I’m happy to tell you that there is!
Most white egg-laying breeds have a white skin patch near their ear. This patch is usually referred to as an earlobe. White chicken eggs are usually laid by chickens with white earlobes.
Why Raise White Egg Laying Chickens?
While the most common white egg layer is the White Leghorn, you can see that there are other breeds to choose from.
And adding some white egg layers to your flock will add variety to your egg basket. While the color of the shell has no bearing on the nutritional value of the egg or the egg quality, having colorful eggs is sure to make you smile every time you open your egg carton.
If you want to add more egg colors such as olive eggs, blue eggs, or even pink eggs, check out the following posts.
- Chicken Breeds that lay blue eggs.
- Backyard Poultry has a great article on the top 15 breeds that lay brown eggs.
- The Happy Chicken Coop’s post Colored Eggs: Why, How, and Who explains why you may get eggs that look pink.
- Chicken Breeds by Egg Color – This chart and printable can help you when you go to the feed store to pick out new chicks.