Good egg-laying chickens for beginner breeders include the Rhode Island Red and the Plymouth Rock. Both of these egg-layers are dual-purpose birds that also produce a substantial amount of meat.
For chicken owners that only want to keep a small flock, Rhode Island Reds are a good choice. They are a relatively hardy breed that can handle poor housing conditions or marginal diets better than other breeds, while still producing between 150 and 200 brown eggs per year.
The Plymouth Rock originates from the U.S. and is another popular breed with beginners. They produce upwards of 200 medium size, brown eggs a year and they continue to lay through the winter months. Ideally, these birds should be kept free-range in a backyard. They are typically docile and can be trained to eat from human hands.