As we begin our 2023 hatching season, the team here at McMurray is excited to share a new “Building Your Flock” blog series, designed to help you pick your perfect breeds as you peruse our catalog and website. In our first article of this series, we are focusing on keeping your egg baskets full with McMurray’s best layers! Whether you are farming on acreage or keeping a small urban flock for eggs, we have several breeds that will fit right in your coop. 

Pearl White Leghorns

The Pearl White Leghorn is, by far, the best white egg layer we carry. Decades of research and selective breeding have gone into the development of our Pearl White Leghorn lines. These birds lay an astonishingly high number of high-grade white eggs that are uniform in both size and shape. They are known for both shell and interior quality and are a favorite among egg producers across the country.

Pearl White Leghorn pullets will weigh about 4 pound at maturity and will start laying at just 4.5 to 5 months of age. They will also continue laying 10 to 12 weeks longer than other high-production breeds. Along with high livability rates and excellent disease resistance, these birds have an excellent feed-to-egg conversion ratio as well. They thrive on pasture and are a fantastic choice for those wishing to sell eggs or keep a well-stocked kitchen.

Sex Links

The term “sex link” refers to hybrid chicks that are sexable at hatch, but this handy trait does not pass down to subsequent generations. Our sex link breeds are the Red Star, Black Star, and Amber Star. These are production breeds come from different hybrid crosses, but all of them are extremely reliable layers. These hens are some of our best layers, known to provide a large brown egg almost daily, often straight through both hot and cold temperatures. As an added bonus, our Star lines have fantastic, friendly personalities. These wonderful birds will fit in well almost anywhere…from full-sized homestead operations to backyard flocks and families with small children, our Star hens are sure to keep your egg basket full!

McMurray Hatchery Blog | Our Favorite Duck Breeds | Cayuga

Photo of a Red Star (top left) courtesy of Cassandra Haring.

Whiting True Greens

The Whiting True Green is a McMurray Hatchery exclusive breed. These birds were developed by Dr. Tom Whiting, renowned poultry geneticist. These friendly hens are egg laying machines, and some swear they outrank even our Pearl White Leghorns in both frequency and quality! Their beautiful green eggs are uniform in shape with a gorgeous tint and strong shell. Whiting True Greens are excellent foragers, and have an outstanding feed conversion ratio as well. These hens are some of our very best layers, and will not only enhance your rainbow basket, but will ensure your cartons are overflowing, too! 

McMurray Hatchery Blog | Our Favorite Duck Breeds | Jumbo Pekin

Black Australorps

This Heritage breed is a favorite here at the Hatchery! These hens are some of the best layers of all of the heavy breeds we offer. In fact, an Australorp hen once set a record for laying 364 eggs in 365 days!

Black Australorps are very large, beautiful birds. Males weigh 6 to 8 pounds at maturity while females weigh 5 to 7 pounds, making them an excellent dual-purpose breed, too. Pullets mature early, and will often start to lay their light brown eggs between 5 and 6 months of age. These quiet, gentle birds bear confinement well and are a great choice for backyard keepers and families with small children.


Rhode Island Reds 

The Rhode Island Red is one of the most famous and popular breeds we carry.  Hens are known to be fantastic layers of large brown eggs, making them one of our best-selling breeds of day-old baby chicks. 

Originally developed in the state of Rhode Island as a dual-purpose breed, these all-American hens top the charts for brown egg layers. They the best layers among the heavy breeds we offer, and their eggs are of exceptional quality as well. These birds are well-suited to a variety of environments, and we consistently recommend them for both seasoned and new chicken keepers alike!

McMurray Hatchery Blog | Favorite Duck Breeds | Khaki Campbell

Plymouth Rocks 

We offer several different types of Plymouth Rocks here at McMurray Hatchery, all of which are fantastic layers with friendly personalities. If you are looking to up your egg production, we suggest checking out any of the Plymouth Rock varieties that we carry.

Our Barred Rocks are one of our most popular breeds, and are among our best egg layers. This Heritage breed was developed right here in the U.S. Hens are reliable layers of large brown eggs, and their friendly personalities make them a good fit for families with small children.

Our Buff, Partridge, and Silver Penciled Rocks are all APA Certified breeds. This means that they are all fantastic options for foundational breeding and showing stock in addition to being wonderful layers. 

White Rocks are a truly sustainable dual-purpose breed. These beautiful birds thrive on pasture and hens are known for their outstanding egg production. They will often lay straight through the heat of summer and cold of winter. 


Coffee with the Chicken Ladies Breed Spotlight: Cochins

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Murray McMurray Hatchery® is dedicated to preserving rare and endangered Heritage poultry breeds. Today, several of our flocks stand as the only viable established lines left in the United States for a number of rare and critically endangered breeds. It is our honor...

Gail Damerow Discusses Her Top Three Favorite Chicken Breeds

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This month’s breed is a chicken lady’s (or gent’s) dream come true! They’re ridiculously adorable, friendly and chatty, gentle with other breeds, super cold hardy, and an all around excellent companion. They make great show birds, and they’re pretty decent layers,...

Raising American Bresse with Erik Gordon

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Building Your Flock: Dark Brown Layers for Valentine’s Day

Our "Building Your Flock" blog series is designed to help you pick your perfect breeds as you peruse our catalog and scroll the website. We're getting festive for the second article of this series by focusing on our dark brown layers for Valentine's Day! If you have a...

Coffee with the Chicken Ladies Breed Spotlight: Orpington

The Orpington is one of the best known breeds amongst chicken keepers both old and new. They’re a Heritage breed success story, and a very good option for brand new chicken ladies and men. The Orpington spent some time on the Livestock Conservancy’s Conservation...

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The Andalusian is a bird for the true chicken connoisseur. They are stunningly beautiful, outgoing and intelligent, curious and energetic, and zesty enough to keep you on your toes. This hardy Heritage breed is very good at several different jobs. They’re excellent...

Coffee with the Chicken Ladies Breed Spotlight: Delaware

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