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9 Best Egg Laying Chickens for Northern California

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When choosing the best egg laying chickens for Northern California, it’s essential to consider several factors. 

The ideal breed should be able to tolerate the region’s climate, ranging from hot summers to mild winters. Additionally, the breed should be able to produce a high quantity of eggs without compromising their quality.

After extensive research and customer feedback, we have compiled a list of Northern California’s nine best egg laying chicken breeds. These breeds include:

  • Delaware
  • White Leghorn
  • Rhode Island Red
  • Plymouth Rock
  • Black Jersey Giant
  • Black Australorp
  • Sussex
  • Lavender Orpington
  • Wyandotte

In this article, we’ll discuss the best egg laying chickens for Northern California, considering the weather patterns.

Our list covers the breeds most adaptable to the climate, their egg-laying capabilities, and their overall temperament and behavior. So, let’s dive in!

Woman raising a bunch of chicken in a farm

Northern California Climate

Northern California has a diverse climate, with varying temperatures and weather patterns throughout the year. Summers can bring scorching hot temperatures, especially in inland areas, while winters can be chilly with occasional snowfall in higher elevations. 

The state also experiences a rainy season, typically from November through April, which can bring heavy rainfall and even flooding in some areas.

When raising chickens in Northern California, it’s important to consider the weather and choose breeds that withstand highs and lows. 

Table Summary of Best Egg Laying Chickens for Northern California

BreedEgg Production/ YearEgg Color
White Leghorn300-320White
Rhode Island RedProduction: 200-300 Heritage: 150-200Brown
Black Jersey Giant150-260Brown
Black Australorp250Light Brown
Sussex200-250Light Brown
Wyandotte200-240Light to Dark Brown
Plymouth Rock200Brown
Lavender Orpington170-200Light Brown
White leghorn chicken standing on the grass

White Leghorn 

Due to its high production capacity, the White Leghorn is a popular choice for commercial egg producers.

Leghorn pullets start laying eggs earlier than other chicken breeds, usually between 24 and 30 weeks of age. They lay consistently throughout the year, producing up to 300 to 320 large white eggs annually

The breed also has a longer laying period of approximately 10-12 weeks than other chicken breeds.

White Leghorns are also strong and resilient. They can adapt well to various climates and are particularly well-suited to Northern California’s warm, dry weather. 

rhode island red chicken on green grass

Rhode Island Red

The Rhode Island Red is among the hardy and adaptable classic American red chicken breeds with a beautiful deep mahogany color and exceptional egg-laying abilities.

The Rhode Island Red breed consistently lays 200 to 300 extra-large brown eggs per year. This equals an average of 5 to 6 eggs weekly. 

On the other hand, the heritage strain produces a yearly yield of approximately 150-200 eggs or a weekly rate of 3-4 eggs.

Rhode Island Reds are also an excellent choice for those living in Northern California because they can handle colder temperatures. Their ideal temperature range is between 45 and 65°F.

However, their comb and wattles are susceptible to frostbite in temperatures below freezing.

Thus, consider running a flat panel heater in extreme cases where temperatures can drop to -40°F to ensure your birds stay healthy and comfortable.

White Delaware chicken standing in a yard


The Delaware chicken breed is an excellent choice for backyard chicken enthusiasts in Northern California. They’re very hardy and can tolerate various temperatures, making them well-suited for the Northern California climate.

The Delaware chicken breed is a reliable layer for egg production, producing an average of four large brown eggs per week or 280 eggs annually.

However, it’s important to note that egg production can vary depending on diet, age, and environmental conditions. 

black chicken jersey giant relaxing on wooden deck

Black Jersey Giant

The Black Jersey Giant is a popular large black chicken breed with an average egg-laying capability.

The Black Jersy Giant is particularly well-suited for Northern California, as it can handle cooler temperatures and shorter daylight hours during winter. The Black Jersey Giant will lay about 150 to 260 extra-large eggs annually.

While this may not be as many as some other breeds, the eggs they lay are exceptional. The eggshells are thick and strong, and the yolks are rich and flavorful.

Black Australorp chicken standing in a yellow flower field

Black Australorp

Black Australorp birds are famous for their impressive egg production, with some individuals laying up to 250 light-brown eggs in a year. 

While it’s unlikely that your Australorps will reach this level of productivity in a backyard setting, you can still expect them to lay 4-5 eggs per week. 

Australorp eggs have a beautiful light brown color and are medium-sized, making them versatile for various recipes.

Therefore, Australorp chickens are suitable for individuals residing in Northern California because of their adaptability to varying temperatures. 

With their heavyweight, thick feathers, they can stay warm during the colder winter months while also remaining able to handle the hot summer temperatures.

White Sussex chicken inside a wooden box


The Sussex breed is another great choice among Northern California’s black and white chicken breed keepers. This is due to their ability to lay many quality eggs annually, even in extreme temperatures.

The Sussex breed produces a yearly yield of approximately 200-250 light-brown eggs, an average of 4 eggs per week per hen.

These birds have a remarkable ability to continue laying eggs even in the coldest of winter months. While their egg production may slower during the winter, it will pick back up again in springtime when the weather warms up.

Wyandotte chicken free range in a green grass


The Wyandotte is a reliable layer, producing around 200-240 eggs annually. Their eggs are medium to large and range from light to dark brown.

Wyandottes are hardy birds and can lay eggs even in colder temperatures. Their weather tolerance makes them a good choice for chicken keepers in Northern California during the winter months.

Plymouth Rock chicken standing in a farm

Plymouth Rock

Plymouth Rocks exhibit good consistency in their egg-laying patterns. They produce approximately 200 brown eggs annually, or four eggs per week.

This quality makes them an ideal choice for people seeking a dependable supply of fresh eggs. 

Moreover, the birds are cold hardy and well-suited to Northern California’s cooler temperatures and frost.

Lavender Orpington standing in the woods

Lavender Orpington

The Lavender Orpington chickens are popular for backyard chicken keepers in Northern California due to their docile nature and high egg production.

The Lavender Orpington birds lay light-brown eggs, ranging from 170 to 200 per year, making them a good source of fresh eggs.

Orpingtons can thrive in Northern California due to their hardiness and cold tolerance. They adapt well to more frigid temperatures due to their dense feathers and large size. 

However, they are susceptible to heat stress in warmer temperatures. Therefore, provide shade and ventilation to prevent heat stress in Orpington chickens during warmer months. 

Final Thoughts

Choosing the best egg-laying chickens for Northern California can be a challenging task. The nine breeds we’ve listed in this article are some of the region’s best options available for backyard chicken keepers. 

When selecting these breeds, we considered their egg production and climate adaptability. Other crucial factors you may consider include temperament, proper nutrition, housing, and health. 

Ultimately, the best egg-laying chicken for Northern California will depend on your specific needs and goals. 


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