One of the joys of keeping your own chickens is the supply of fresh, tasty eggs. And if you’re like us, you’ll know there’s something egg-stra special about an egg with a white shell!
We’re going to check out some of the chicken breeds that lay white eggs. We’ll find out about their characteristics and temperaments. And we’ll learn how many eggs they’ll typically lay.
So if you’re ready for a snowy-white egg on your breakfast table, step this way!
Chicken Breeds That Lay White Eggs
The Leghorn is a great choice if you’re looking for a chook that lays plenty of eggs. It’s one of the foremost breeds for this purpose in many parts of the world. And while White Leghorns are the most common variety, Leghorns of all colors produce beautiful white eggs.
You may sometimes hear these chickens referred to by the alternative names of Livorno or Livornese. This reflects their origins in Tuscany, Italy. The birds were first exported to the rest of the world from the Italian port of Livorno.
They’re smart and inquisitive birds, and they’ll do best when allowed to roam free. They’re excellent at foraging, and will supplement their diet with all manner of grubs and greens. They can be quite nervous, though, and are fairly loud! And they’re not particularly cold-hardy.
So just how many eggs do the hens lay? Well, you can expect an average of 280 per hen, per year. And some prolific chooks can manage as many as 320. That makes this breed one of the most productive out there.
The eggs are a good size too, with each one weighing about 2 ounces.
The Ancona takes its name from the region of Italy where it originated. But the present variety owes much of its appearance to British breeders who developed it further in the nineteenth century.
Those breeders focused on the birds’ plumage. Anconas have black feathers mottled with white, and today, the white mottling is consistent in size and evenly distributed over the chickens’ bodies.
Fortunately, all the attention being paid to these chooks’ appearance didn’t interfere with their egg-laying capabilities.
Ancona hens begin laying at around 5 months of age. They produce around 220 white eggs a year, each one weighing at least 1.8 ounces. And they rarely go broody.
They’re active birds who love to roam and forage, so they need plenty of space. They usually get on well with other breeds, and are very cold-hardy. But like many good layers, they can be rather flighty.
The ancestors of the Andalusian chicken came from Spain. Blue Andalusians are confined to south-west Spain. But an international variety was developed in Britain in the nineteenth century by cross-breeding imported birds.
There are both standard and bantam varieties. The former range in weight from between 7 and 8 pounds for males, and between 5 and 6 pounds for females. Male bantams are between 24 and 28 ounces, while females are between 20 and 24 ounces.
Both varieties produce white eggs. And they start laying earlier than many other breeds, at between 5 and 6 months old. Standard Andalusians produce medium to large eggs. Those of bantams are about half the size, but have proportionately larger yolks.
These chooks have long, slender bodies, clean, slate-blue legs, a single comb, and a horn-colored beak. The combs of hens are large and tend to flop to the side, while those of roosters stand upright and have five distinct points.
Their large combs and Mediterranean heritage means these birds don’t handle cold temperatures well. They’ll need good shelter and plenty of care in the colder months. But with that help, the hens can continue laying throughout the winter.
They’re friendly, curious and active birds who like to roam. And while they’re interested in people, they don’t enjoy being handled.
The Campine is named after the region of the same name straddling Belgium and the Netherlands. It was here that the breed first emerged towards the end of the nineteenth century.
There are two color varieties, silver and gold, as well as both standard birds and bantams. Standard males weigh around 6 pounds, with hens weighing about a pound less. Male bantams are about 24 ounces, while females are around 20 ounces.
Today, the breed is rare, and most Campines are used as show birds. But they were originally kept for their eggs, and the hens are still reliable layers. They’ll produce between 140 and 200 white eggs per year. And for a relatively small bird, the eggs are a good size.
Campines are independent spirits and tend not to seek out human interaction. And they’re active, curious and intelligent birds. They don’t like being confined. But if you let them roam free, they’ll forage away happily.
5. Sicilian Buttercup
As you’d expect from its name, the Sicilian Buttercup hails from the Italian island of Sicily. It’s believed to have resulted from breeding between local chooks and those from north Africa. It was exported to the US in the nineteenth century, and later to the UK and Australia.
There are two color varieties as well, golden and silver. And both colors have earlobes that are two-thirds red. But it’s their combs that are particularly interesting. Each bird has two single combs that join at the front and back to form a cup shape.
Today, the Sicilian Buttercup is a rare breed. And while the hens do lay white eggs, they’re not the best option to keep you in omelets! They’ll typically lay between 50 and 80 small eggs a year. Some strains can be more productive, however, with reports of up to 180 eggs per year.
The hens rarely go broody, so you shouldn’t have difficulties collecting the eggs. But their lack of maternal instinct can be a challenge if you want to breed the next generation.
The Sicilian Buttercup’s Mediterranean origins mean this isn’t a particularly hardy breed. It’s also rather flighty, and needs plenty of space to roam and forage. So this isn’t the best choice for those who are new to keeping chickens, or for families with children and pets.
The Minorca chicken hails from the Spanish island of the same name. Today, it’s rare in its homeland, but an “international” variety has become widespread elsewhere in the world.
The original Spanish Minorcas have glossy greenish-black feathers, sloping backs, smooth combs, and tails that are almost horizontal. The international version has blue and white color varieties in addition to the original black. And some have rose combs.
These chickens’ striking looks mean they’re often kept for exhibition. But the hens are decent egg layers too, and start laying from as early as 26 weeks of age.
They’ll typically produce around 120 eggs a year, with egg size increasing as the hen matures. By 57 weeks old, hens will generally be producing eggs weighing more than 2.3 ounces apiece.
They’re also friendly birds who enjoy interacting with humans. But this is another breed that needs extra protection in cold weather.
7. Appenzeller Spitzhauben
The Appenzeller Spitzhauben is a Swiss breed. It gets its name from its striking V-shaped comb and large crest. Those resemble a traditional Swiss form of headgear, a pointed bonnet known as a Spitzhauben.
In the US, the most common color for this breed is silver spangled. Other varieties are the golden spangled, chamois spangled, blue, and black.
The hens lay a good number of white eggs – between 150 and 180 a year. And although they weigh only about 3.5 pounds themselves, their eggs are medium to large in size. They’ll go broody from time to time, and make great moms to their chicks.
Coming from Switzerland, it’s not surprising that this is a very cold-hardy breed. The hens will often continue laying right through the winter. And they’ll generally want to be outside, even if there’s snow on the ground.
Unusually for such a cold-hardy breed, though, they can also tolerate warmer weather too. They’re active and flighty, and need plenty of room to roam. And they’re good fliers, who’ll roost in trees given the chance.
The Crèvecoeur is a historic French breed which originated in Normandy. It’s one of the oldest of all French breeds, and today it’s very rare.
There are both standard and bantam varieties. Standard males weigh between 6.6 and 7.7 pounds, while bantams are 2.4 pounds. Standard females are between 5.5 and 6.6 pounds, while female bantams are around 2 pounds.
They have V-shaped combs, elegant crests and four toes on each foot. Most Crèvecoeurs are black, and this is the only color that’s recognized by US breeders. In France, though, blue, white and cuckoo varieties are recognized too.
The hens lay white or tinted eggs, each of which weigh about 2 ounces. They’ll produce anything from 120 to 150 a year, and can continue laying for many years.
Both sexes are generally gentle birds, and they don’t need large amounts of space. In fact, they tend to be happier in smaller areas.
They do, though, need good shelter to protect their crests – wet or dirty crests can lead to parasites or eye infections. And they can be bullied by feistier breeds, so are best kept with others of their kind.
Lakenvelder chickens hail from Germany and the Netherlands.
They’re all the same color, with black hackles, tails, heads and necks. Their bellies are a pale blue-gray, and the rest of their bodies are white. That’s not surprising when you know that their name is Dutch for “white over a black field”!
They have red or chestnut eyes, dark horn beaks, white earlobes, and red combs and wattles.
The Lakenvelder was once a hugely popular breed, with the hens’ egg-laying capabilities highly prized. Nowadays, they’ve been overtaken by others – but they’ll still lay a very decent 160 medium-sized white or tinted eggs a year. And they rarely go broody.
Lakenvelders are energetic and flighty birds, and their wariness around people means they don’t make the best pets. They like roaming and foraging, so need plenty of room to do that. And they can be quite dominant, so shouldn’t be kept in flocks with less assertive breeds.
Despite its Dutch-sounding name, the Holland is an American breed of chicken, first developed in New Jersey. It looks similar to both Dominiques and Plymouth Rocks. But unlike both those breeds, the hens lay white eggs instead of brown.
There are two different varieties, White and Barred. Both are descended from birds imported from Holland – hence the name. There are a large number of other breeds in the mix, and both varieties include White Leghorns amongst their ancestors.
It’s perhaps for that reason that the hens are very decent egg layers. They start laying at 16 weeks old, and continue year-round, even in colder weather. Their white eggs are medium to large, and you can expect between 200 and 240 a year from each hen.
They’re natural foragers, who like plenty of space to explore. And while they’re fairly cold-tolerant, roosters have large combs which may need protection when the temperature falls. Smearing them with coconut oil or petroleum jelly will help prevent frostbite.
White eggs for breakfast
White eggs might not taste any different to brown – and there’s no nutritional difference either. But they do look great! And if you’re looking for an egg for decorating, they provide a beautiful blank canvas.
Not all white egg layers are the same, though. The eggs can be very different sizes. And some chooks are considerably more productive than others.
Before you make your choice, take some time to research the needs and preferences of different breeds. Pick a chook that will be happy in the environment you can provide, and you’ll have healthy, contented birds. And that means plenty of eggs too!