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The Best Out West? Brown-Egg-Laying Chickens for Your Backyard

The Best Out West? Brown-Egg-Laying Chickens for Your Backyard

Raising a backyard flock isn’t always easy, but the rewards are undeniable. Aside from the obvious benefits – like a steady supply of eggs and meat free of antibiotics, hormones and other additives – raising your own chickens can be, well…entertaining, to say the least.

With the popularity of brown eggs at an all-time high, you might be looking to mix up your flock with a few brown-egg-laying chickens. Find out what breeds fare best in Intermountain West conditions, and some insider info on the brown vs. white egg debate.

15 Brown-Egg Laying Chicken Breeds Built for the Intermountain West

Eggs come in many colors and sizes, and so do chickens! Check out some of the best brown egg-laying chicken breeds for Intermountain West conditions and backyard broods.


Rhode Island Red

Production: 250-300 medium to large, brown eggs/year
Personality: Calm, submissive, active; can be more dominant than other breeds.
Constitution: best in 70-75 degrees; thick plumage helps them tolerate cold.


Barred Rock

Production: 200-250 large, light brown eggs/year
Personality: Gentle & curious
Constitution: Hardy in both heat and cold; dark feathers mean they require access to shade


Black Australorp

Production: 200-250 large, light brown eggs/year
Personality: Gentle, curious, kid-friendly
Constitution: Require shade access in summer; hardy in both heat and cold


Golden Sex Link

Production: 250-300 extra-large, brown eggs/year
Personality: Friendly, calm, easily tamed, dominant but agreeable with other breeds
Constitution: Hardy in heat and cold


Black Sex Link

Production: 250-300 large to extra-large, brown eggs/year
Personality: Easygoing, docile and friendly
Constitution: Very hard to both heat and cold


Red Sex Link

Production: 250-300 extra-large, brown eggs/year
Personality: Friendly, love to be held, easy to handle
Constitution: Tolerate heat and reasonable cold well

chicken-breed-600px-buff-orpingtonBuff Orpington

Production: 150-230 large to extra-large, brown eggs/year
Personality: Calm, tame and friendly
Constitution: Require shade access in summer; hardy in heat and cold




Production: 200+ large, brown eggs/year
Personality: Intelligent and very kid-friendly
Constitution: Hardy in heat and cold; ensure indoor coop access to prevent frostbite on larger combs


Speckled Sussex

Production: 200-250 medium to large, light brown eggs/year
Personality: Curious, calm, docile, kid-friendly
Constitution: Handle heat and cold well; dense feathering requires adequate water and shade in summer


Silver Laced Wyandotte

Production: 200 medium to large, brown eggs/year
Personality: Motherly, noisy
Constitution: Very tolerant of heat and cold



Production: 200 large to extra large, dark brown eggs/year
Personality: Friendly and active
Constitution: Access to shade in summer; tolerate cold weather well



Production: 200 medium to large, chocolate-colored eggs
Personality: Docile, curious, kid-friendly
Constitution: Tolerate heat moderately well; hardy in cold but larger combs can get frostbite


Black Copper Maran

Production: 150-200 large, dark-brown eggs/year
Personality: Quiet, gentle, easy-going
Constitution: Weather-hardy year-round, require shade and adequate water during summer months


Cuckoo Maran

Production: 150+ large, chocolate-brown eggs/year
Personality: Friendly, docile, prefers free-range
Constitution: Excellent cold tolerance, require shade access for their dark feathering in summer


Production Red

Production: Up to 300 large, medium-brown eggs/year
Personality: Each individual tends to have its own personality
Constitution: Tolerates both heat and cold temperatures well

Discover more popular chicken breeds in the intermountain west


Shell Game: White Eggs vs Brown Eggs 

Those store-bought brown eggs may have a higher price point, but does that mean they’re better? Not according to the USDA. In fact, the color of the egg makes no difference in nutritional value, and is really an indicator of the breed of the hen more than anything else. While today’s consumer often perceives brown eggs as superior, it’s mostly due to marketing, much like in the early 1900s when producers marketed eggs from Utah’s White Leghorn chickens – white eggs – as higher quality.

In reality, the real difference in egg quality is in how they’re raised, especially the food they consume. Eggs produced by backyard flocks are often healthier and more natural than store-bought eggs, no matter what color the shell. In fact, the color doesn’t even indicate a difference in taste or the color of the yolk, which are determined more by the environment and the nutrition intake of the hen. Free-range chickens often have access to a more complete variety of vitamins and minerals. If your chickens are kept in a coop, they may need extra vitamins and minerals to reach their full potential.

Got chicken feed? Learn what to feed your chickens from chicks to egg-laying hens

Quality Eggs Start with Healthy Chickens

IFA premium poult feed for egg-laying chicken breeds is enhanced with vitamins and minerals to provide optimal balanced nutrition for your flock. IFA Premium High Protein Layer Pellet provides hens with complete nutrition, plus additional protein hens need to regrow feathers and maintain optimum health during cold winter months. IFA Premium All Natural+ Layer Crumble with 18% protein delivers complete nutrition plus additional amino acids to support day-to-day health. And IFA Premium Classic Layer Mash helps your laying hens thrive and produce nutritious, delicious eggs with a texture they love, plus pre- and probiotics for digestive health.

Mix It Up!

Raise one breed, or raise ‘em all! With a mix of egg-laying chickens, you can collect a variety of egg sizes and colors, from white to tan, to brown, even pastels, creams and speckles. Whatever your style, proper nutrition and care is the foundation of quality eggs in any color. 

Want more eggs? Discover chicken breeds that make egg-cellent layers


Information for this article was provided by Maureen Goodrich, Office Manager, Logan IFA Country Store; Sandie Shupe, Poultry, Rabbit & Animal Health Manager, Ogden IFA Country Store; Whittney Young, Poultry Dept. Manager, Riverton IFA Country Store; and Terry Boren, Poultry and Tack Category Manager.