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If you are looking to build a more self sufficient lifestyle, having several egg laying chickens is a great way to get a reliable supply of eggs – a great source of protein and nutrients. Well looked after hens lay eggs all year long – with really productive birds laying more than 200 eggs a year. So if you choose your breeds carefully, you will be well supplied with eggs with only a few chickens in your flock.
Let’s take a look at 10 popular and prolific egg layers.
- Black Sexlink – It’s a weird sounding name but Sex-links are cross-bred chickens of which the males and females are different colors, making chick identification easier. This chicken is a cross between a Barred Rock hen and a Rhode Island Red cock. It is a pretty gentle chicken and a prolific egg layer. It lays large brown eggs and typical production is approximately 240 eggs per year per bird.
- Red Sexlink – Created by breeding a Rhode Island Red male and a Rhode Island White female, this chicken is very common in commercial breeding operations. It lays large brown eggs and its typical production is about 240 eggs per year.
- White Leghorn – This chicken is a great egg layer but a bit of a nervous breed. It lays approximately 250 white eggs per year.
- California White – This chicken is an excellent producer of large white eggs. They are known to lay a whopping 300 eggs per year.
- California Gray – Like the white, this chicken will deliver a massive 300 large white eggs per year.
- Barred Rock – This friendly breed lays approximately 200 large brown eggs per year.
- Rhode Island White – This attractive chicken is know to lay approximately 250 brown eggs per year.
- Gold Sexlink – A very popular hybrid chicken and a prolific producer, typically laying 250 large brown eggs per year.
- Rhode Island Red – A great producer of large brown eggs, laying approximately 250 eggs per year.
- Ameraucana (Easter Egg chickens) are know for their very colorful eggs. They are also prolific layers, often laying more than 300 eggs per year.
As you can see from the above list, there are quite a few breeds that are prolific egg layers.
This list represent a a good starting point for your flock. You should further research which ones do best in your climate and which ones have a suitable temperament. (Some are more children friendly than others.)
As for how many chickens make a good flock, that will depend on the land you have available to them for hunting down food (i.e. free range) or how much feed you want to buy each week. But a good guesstimate is to figure out how many eggs you and your family will eat a week and do the math to arrive at the correct number.
Also be aware that chickens do not lay at peak capacity for their entire lives. They will typically lay at their highest rate when young (after point-of-lay of course) and then suffer a drop off in production as they age. This is something you need to be aware of so that you can plan an augmentation/replacement plan as the years fly by. The breeder you purchase your chicks from can help guide you in this.
Lastly, before taking the plunge, remember that raising animals takes a daily commitment to ensure that they have food and water. Be sure you want to take on this responsibility before acquiring your egg layers.
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Remember... back in those days, there was no electricity... no refrigerators... no law enforcement... and certainly no grocery store or supermarkets... Some of these exceptional skills are hundreds of years of old and they were learned the hard way by the early pioneers.
We've lost to history so much survival knowledge that we've become clueless compared to what our great grandfathers did or built on a daily basis to sustain their families.
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