A good breed to start out with is the red or brown shaver, which is a hybrid hen used for egg production. They are easy to tame, are good egg producers and are even-tempered. However they will only lay for about two years before easing off. Older breeds like Wyandottes and Plymouth Rocks will lay longer, up to four years.
HOW MANY EGGS?
Some hens lay more than others but most will lay between 200 – 250 eggs a year (check your breed before buying). Other factors can affect egg laying such as winter, moulting, being a bit off colour, worms, getting a fright or not having enough protein in their diet. I have three hens and most days I get three eggs, when all are laying.
You can get your hens as chicks if you want to, but it will be a long time before they lay eggs. Most hens start laying at about 20 to 24 weeks, although some can wait as long as 30 weeks so many people get pullets which are teenage hens aged about 16 weeks.