Brown Egg Layer Breeds

What are the best brown egg laying hen breeds? These are our experiences with six popular laying hen breeds that we purchased in June of 2015.

We ordered six breeds from Hoover’s Hatchery in Rudd, IA. They shipped and arrived at the post office the next day. We picked up a box of the cutest little peepers!


We picked these six breeds:
1) ISA Brown
2) Rhode Island Red
3) Barred Rock
4) Black Astralorp
5) Silver Laced Wyandotte
6) Buff Orpington

ISA Brown

We ordered four ISA Brown hens (middle bird in above photo) and they lay the nicest, biggest brown eggs of all the breeds we have. If you are looking for egg quality then ISAs are for you! We did have one hen who became an egg eater. She would only eat other hen’s eggs but not her own eggs. Because of the HUGE mess this created, we had to separate her from the group and during the day while I was at a work she was a very happy free range hen. Unfortunately she was killed by a predator after several weeks and now I have quite a bit of anxiety about free-ranging our girls out here on the farm with neighbor dogs, coyotes and hawks. One day I came out to the coop and there was a hawk on the chain link fence of the RUN! Thankfully no birds were injured that day.

Rhode Island Red
No complaints about these four girls. I think they might lay smaller eggs but I am not certain. We still have all four of our Rhode Islands and we don’t have any behavior issues with this breed. They are a nice looking, smaller bird.

Barred Rock

We still have 4/4 of the Barred Rocks that we ordered. We haven’t had any problems with this breed. They used to be toward the top of the pecking order of our group but are now somewhere in the middle. They seem to be very jumpy lately.

Black Astralorp

Our Black Astralorps are the lowest ranking birds of our group. They seem to be picked on the most and we had one who was severely injured last spring. I separated her from the group and named her Noir. She fully recovered and is now one of the better looking of the four black hens we have. The other three girls are missing quite a few feathers from picking and from our rooster over-riding them.

Silver Laced Wyandotte

We ordered four girls and one rooster of this breed. We were shipped four girls and two roosters. When they were a few days old we lost one of the girls right away. We also lost one of the roosters (pictured above, Eagle Eye) after several months (they were fighting at the time but not severely). We also lost a girl in the summer of this year (2016). One note, the Silver Laced Wyandotte’s have a different comb than the others which I feel is less attractive. Our rooster is beautiful but VERY aggressive and now we only have two hens and one rooster of this breed left.

Buff Orpington

We have 2/4 of this breed left. We lost one in the summer and believe it was due to the heat. I’ve heard this breed is prone to over-heating. We lost another one during the night  in early fall. This breed is the BOSS of our our coop. They seem to be the most problematic of our group with being bossy, picking feathers and they also lay the smallest eggs of them all.

What is your favorite brown egg laying breed?


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