Top 6 Chicken Breeds That Lay Dark Brown Eggs

The color of an egg is based upon nothing other than a pigment the chicken adds to the shell when it produces the egg. It doesn’t even influence the flavor. Nonetheless, there are still a lot of people that love their chickens to lay dark brown eggs. This is, no doubt, down to the fact that they look aesthetically pleasing.

What Chickens Lay Dark Brown Eggs?

Of all dark brown egg layers, these chicken breeds will lay the darkest brown eggs:

  • Barnevelder
  • Empordanesa
  • Penedesenca
  • Welsumer
  • Marans
  • Serama

Let’s take a look at the top dark brown egg laying chickens a little more in depth, shall we?

Barnevelder

The Barnevelder chicken is capable of producing a whopping 200 eggs per year. It is one of the darkest egg laying chicken breeds.

barnevelder - chickens that lay dark brown eggs
Barnevelder Hen (Photo by Bodlina (CC BY-SA 3.0))

One of the main reasons why people go for this Dutch bird is the fact that the egg-laying doesn’t really stop.

While most other chicken breeds will stop laying eggs throughout the colder months of the year, the Barnevelder chicken doesn’t.

It just keeps on producing and producing. So, if you live in a colder area, then this may be a breed that you want to check out. It is a cold hardy chicken breed.

In the United States, there is a slight variant of this chicken breed available.

This is the Barnevelder barred chicken. It produces the same number of eggs per year.

However, it is much more suited to commercial environments. This is because the Barnevelder barred is an autosexing breed.

Empordanesa

The Empordanesa breed of chicken also lays around 180 dark brown eggs (sometimes speckled) per year.

dark brown egg layers chickens
Image source

Unlike the Barnevelder chicken, the Empordanesa isn’t a good chicken for the winter months.

It does most of its egg production when it is nice and warm outside. This is because this bird was bred in the Mediterranean which, of course, doesn’t get that much in the way of cold winters.

The major downside to the Empordanesa is the fact that it is tough to breed.

This means that it can be a difficult chicken breed to own if you are a homesteader.

If you want to breed them, then you will need to bring in a chicken breed that does get broody in order to raise the eggs that aren’t getting that much attention.

Well, that, or you could get your hands on an incubator too.

While this chicken is mainly used for the production of eggs, you may be pleased to know that it can also make a decent meat chicken breed.

This will tend to come towards the end of the ‘service’ life of the Empordanesa chicken, though.

The roosters do tend to be fairly fast growing, so any of them that are not used for breeding programs will be slaughtered for meat.

In the United States , the white variant is the most common.

Penedesenca

The Penedesenca chicken is also a Spanish chicken. Interestingly, there are some countries that see the Empordanesa and the Pendesenca chicken breeds as the same breed.

dark brown eggs chicken breed

This is because they are closely related, hence why they are chickens that lay dark brown eggs. However, in Spain, and in many parts of Europe, it is regarded as a separate breed.

The Penedesenca is able to lay around 150 dark brown eggs per year. Sometimes speckled brown eggs. If you want serious dark brown eggs, then this is where you need to be.

This is because the Penedesenca chicken lays the darkest dark brown eggs out of every single chicken breed.

Sadly, it is a rare breed. It almost went extinct in the 1980s.

This means that you are probably not going to find it that often in the United States. However, as you read this, there is probably some breeder out there trying to get the Penedesenca chicken into their line of chickens in order to create even darker brown eggs.

We will have to see how that turns out!

As with the previous chicken, the Penedesenca is not a chicken that does well in cold weather. You can thank the area where it was bred for this.

Welsumer

The Welsumer chicken is a breed that is capable of laying around 180 dark brown eggs per year. However, interestingly, this is not really a breed that is used for its egg-laying capabilities.

welsummer - dark brown egg layers chickens
Photo by RedDrgn056

Obviously, breeders are going to love the beautiful dark brown eggs that these chickens lay, but it is an ornamental bird.

It is designed for those that want something that looks pretty. That is not to say that people haven’t tried to raise this as an egg-laying bird. It was the main reason why it was exported to the United States.

We have no idea why it didn’t end up catching on.

There is a bantam breed of this chicken too. The bantam breed will be able to lay between 180 and 200 eggs per year, so a little bit more than the larger version.

However, these eggs can be between 10-15 grams lighter. This means that they are great for those that love their small eggs, but not so brilliant for those that want large dark brown eggs from their chickens.

Marans

The Marans chicken can produce between 160 and 180 dark brown eggs per year. The color of these eggs is exceedingly dark, and many people love them purely for this. Some hens lay speckled brown eggs.

While it is known as a French breed of chicken, and it even has a French-sounding name, this breed of chicken is actually from Asia.

The only reason why it is named after a town in France is that this is where it first entered the country.

Unlike many of the other dark brown egg laying chickens that we have discussed so far, the Marans chicken is actually a dual purpose breed.

It is famed just as much for the eggs that it produces as it is for the meat that you can get from the chicken. It is loved in France and often incorporated into many meals.

If you know the French, then you will know that they understand good food.

There are actually two varieties of this breed. You have one variant of the chicken with feathered legs and one without. The latter is a British variant of the bird.

In the United States, if you are planning to take the Marans chicken to a show, then you will only be allowed to take the feathered leg version of the bird along with you.

This is the only version of the chicken that is officially recognized in the country.

There is also a bantam version of the Marans chicken available too. The bantam version produces a roughly equal number of eggs, albeit they are going to be far smaller.

Serama

Surprisingly, the Serama chicken is able to produce a decent number of eggs each week. You should be able to get at least three-four with a color that can range from white to dark brown.

serama chicken
Serama Bantam – Photo By Deann Barrera (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Although, of course, do bear in mind that the eggs are going to be quite small. This is the smallest chicken breed in the world after all.

It is worth pointing out that the hens are year-round layers of small eggs. They will brood and make excellent mothers, too.

That being said, we know that there are a lot of people who are fans of the smaller eggs that the Serama chicken is able to produce, so we have no issues if you are planning to raise the Serama chicken as an egg layer.

Related articles:
White Eggs Vs. Brown Eggs – Differences

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