If you’re new to rearing chickens, you’ll most likely wonder how many eggs a chicken lays in a day. Do all hens lay one egg daily, or can they sometimes lay two? Or will your hens produce far less than this?
Once you delve into how many eggs a chicken lays per day, you’ll stumble across a fascinating new insight into the world of chickens! So, without any further ado, let’s go.
Then let’s begin!
- How Many Eggs Does a Chicken Lay a Day?
- How Many Times Can a Chicken Lay Eggs In a Week?
- What Factors Affect the Number of Eggs a Chicken Will Lay?
- Our Favorite Egg-Laying Chickens and More Egg Data
How Many Eggs Does a Chicken Lay a Day?
A young and healthy hen can produce nearly one egg per day. But there’s a catch. It would be so rewarding to tell you that a chicken lays one egg per day. After all, that would be a lovely, tidy answer to this question. And while you might encounter many homesteaders saying that a hen will lay one egg per day, the answer is a little bit more complex.
It takes a female chicken just over a day to produce an egg from start to finish – usually between 24 to 26 hours. During this fascinating biological process, she will start to form a new egg shortly after the previous one has gotten laid, and it will be ready to deposit into a clean nesting box the following day.
But remember – the egg can take 26 hours to form.
Therefore, a hen will lay her eggs slightly later every day. And, as most backyard chicken enthusiasts will tell you, most eggs get laid at (around) the same time of day, in the morning. So, hens laying later will be less likely to lay an egg the following day.
This egg timing nuance is due to the relationship between daylight hours and egg production. Quite simply, ovulation occurs in the daylight hours. (And they need roughly 14 hours to get it done.) So, a hen can run out of time! In other words – the hen will sometimes skip a day. But then, she will often lay her egg early the following day.
We experienced this exact situation just last week when our entire flock skipped a day, and we got zero eggs. It was a coincidence that they all took the same day off, but we were panicking that we might have an egg thief! But then, the first thing the following day, we witnessed a mad rush to the nesting boxes, and every hen had finished laying by mid-morning.
(Egg timing is everything. Bacon and eggs for everybody!)
How Many Times Can a Chicken Lay Eggs In a Week?
As chickens are not quite in sync with the planet, it is unusual for a hen to lay an egg daily consistently and reliably. So, if you are trying to calculate average egg production levels, it is more accurate to figure it out every week.
At peak production, hybrid hens in a commercial chicken farm can produce around 300 eggs yearly – nearly one per day or just under six per week. These hens get specially bred to lay as many eggs as possible, but this comes at the expense of their health and lifespan. As soon as these hens reach 18 months of age, their productivity slows dramatically, and they are no longer considered viable as part of a commercial egg-producing business.
Luckily, most homesteaders prefer our hens to have longer, healthier lives – we value quality over quantity! So we tend to opt for more traditional breeds with slightly lower egg production. But are less prone to disease and live for longer.
Realistically, most domestic hens will lay an average of four eggs per week, but this figure can be tremendously variable. Some may lay six or seven eggs weekly, while others might be lucky to produce just one. In our flock, we cannot accurately identify the good or bad layers, so all our girls get treated equally. No matter whether they produce eggs or not!
Chicken and Egg - a Memoir of Suburban Homesteading With 125 Recipes by Janice Cole is an excellent resource for anyone raising laying hens. The book has loads of entertaining chicken anecdotes and stories from the author. And loads of delightful chicken egg recipes! The recipes get organized by season and include hidden gems like Cheddar and Bacon Puffed Eggs, Fudge Pound Cake, Hong Kong Sweet Egg Tarts, Fluffy Omelettes With Spring Herbs, Salsa Verde Chicken Salad, Bangkok-Style Chicken Sate, and more.
What Factors Affect the Number of Eggs a Chicken Will Lay?
Egg production in hens can be hugely variable, and several factors can influence it. Some of these are completely beyond our control, while others are something we can do something about if egg production is painfully low. After all, nothing is more disheartening than shoveling expensive feed into a flock of hungry hens only to get zero eggs in return!
Let’s examine some of the most common factors influencing the number of eggs a chicken will lay.
Different chicken breeds have hugely varying levels of egg-laying capabilities. Some chicken breeds, like Leghorns and Australorps, are fantastic egg layers. That is why they are famous for commercial egg production. Ornamental or heritage chicken breeds tend to be less prolific layers – when I was a child, we had some beautiful Araucana chickens that barely laid two or three eggs per week!
Most backyard chicken keepers and poultry owners opt for moderate egg layers that are docile and easy to keep, such as Plymouth Rocks or Rhode Island Reds. These tend to lay an average of four eggs per week but produce higher numbers during peak laying times.
Pullets (young hens) start laying eggs between four and six months of age. Egg production peaks rapidly, just a few weeks after they start laying, and remains high for the first twelve months or so. Following this, egg productivity will gradually decline, but the speed at which this happens will depend on the breed and average lifespan of the hen. Some older hens can stop laying altogether, while others will continue to produce the occasional egg well into old age.
When a chicken lays an egg, this is part of her reproductive cycle, which gets controlled significantly by light exposure. Fourteen hours of daylight can trigger egg production adequate for a pullet to start laying. 14-16 hours of daylight will maintain consistent egg production. So during shorter winter days, it is normal for your hens to lay fewer eggs. Artificial lights work to boost egg production.
Some breeds, particularly hybrids intended for commercial egg production, seem less influenced by daylight hours. Our first batch of hens (before we knew much about chicken keeping!) were hybrids, and the poor girls laid all year round, regardless of any external factors. Unfortunately, this is not a healthy life for a hen, and after two years, they got pretty much burnt out.
Health and Nutrition
For a chicken to produce the optimum number of eggs, it needs access to a high-quality food source. Just imagine how much nutrition exists in one chicken egg. Well, they need to recoup that energy loss! Your hen must eat an equivalent amount daily to produce that egg. She needs a source of protein, vitamins, and additional calcium, which she can get from a good-quality hen layer feed.
Stress and Environment
Chickens are hugely susceptible to stressors such as overcrowding, extreme temperatures, predator threats, or disturbances, and even the slightest level of stress in chickens can cause a drop in egg production. Keep your chicken coop crew happy and ensure plenty of space per bird. And they’ll reward you with yummy and delicious eggs!
Not only does egg production drop during winter, but you may also notice other seasonal variations. The first period of disruption usually occurs when your pullets go through their first proper molt, and they will often stop laying during this time. Following this, expect to find fewer eggs in your nesting boxes during the annual molting period in the fall.
Our Favorite Egg-Laying Chickens and More Egg Data
Here are some of our favorite hen breeds for yummy and delicious eggs. Not all of the following egg layers are the most prolific. But some have better temperaments than others – making them perfect for small homesteads.
|Chicken Breed Name||Eggs Per Year||Egg Color||Description|
|Ancona||200 – 230||White||Flighty, alert.|
|Ameraucana||175 – 200||Blue||Famously beautiful eggs.|
|Aseel||40 – 70||Brown||Calm, docile.|
|Black Australorp||200+||Brown||Easily handled, docile.|
|Golden Comet||300+||Brown||Commercial layers.|
|ISA Brown||300+||Light brown||Super friendly.|
|Leghorn||300+||White||Spirited, noisy, flighty.|
|Orpington||230 – 280||Brown||Gentle giants.|
|New Hampshire Red||220||Light brown||Curious, mostly docile.|
|Plymouth Rock||Up to 300||Brown||Calm, docile.|
|Rhode Island Red||Up to 300||Brown||Active, yet calm.|
|Silver Laced Wyandotte||220||Brown||Calm. Likes coops.|
|Welsummer||160||Dark brown||Active, but docile.|
What Chickens Lay Multiple Eggs a Day?
Rarely, a chicken may lay two eggs in a day. But this is not common. These cases are usually due to irregularities in the hen’s reproductive system and are not sustainable or typical for most chickens. One egg per day is the maximum output for a healthy, well-functioning chicken. It would be greedy of us to expect any more!
What Chicken Lays 350 Eggs a Year?
If you’re looking for high productivity, remember that your egg chickens must be well-nourished, healthy, and live stress-free lives! But can a chicken lay 350 eggs per year under the right conditions?
While some breeds are known for their prolific egg-laying capacity, getting this many eggs per year from even the most mollycoddled hen is a bit of a long shot.
But while 350 eggs annually might be overambitious, some breeds are renowned for their impressive egg-laying abilities.
The top chicken for egg production is the Leghorn, which produces 280 to 320 eggs per year at peak productivity. However, they are not popular with backyard chicken owners, as they are flighty and difficult to catch. This breed is most prominent in large-scale commercial egg farms.
Another popular breed in commercial operations is the Australorp, which consistently lays 250 to 300 eggs per year. This breed broke many egg-laying records in the early 1900s when the race was on to develop new breeds of chickens that would lay as many eggs as possible.
In a homestead setting, the most popular breeds of chickens for backyard flocks are the Sussex, Plymouth Rock, and Rhode Island Red. These chicken breeds will produce 250 eggs per year under the right conditions. And they will generally continue to lay adequately for several years.
Based on the average chicken laying four eggs weekly, let’s figure out how many hens you need to meet your family’s requirements.
How Many Eggs Do Five Chickens Lay a Day?
If you have a flock of five healthy egg layers, you could expect to collect 20 eggs per week – at minimum. If your five-chicken flock is particularly productive layers, you might even find yourself gathering 30 or more eggs in a week.
How Many Eggs Will 10 Chickens Lay a Week?
With ten healthy chickens in your flock, you could anticipate gathering at least 40 eggs per week. If your hens are highly prolific layers, you might be delighted to collect 60 eggs or more every week.
How Many Eggs Can 12 Chickens Lay In a Day?
A flock of 12 to 14 chickens could effortlessly produce around seven eggs daily. If your hens are in their prime and laying exceptionally well, you might gather 70 or more eggs in a week.
How Many Chickens Do I Need for 10 Eggs a Day?
If you aim to collect ten eggs daily, the ideal flock size would be around 17 hens. To maximize your chances of collecting a dozen eggs daily, consider increasing your flock size to 20.
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So, there we have it – the mysteries of chicken egg production all wrapped up!
So, next time you collect a clutch of eggs from your lovely ladies, take a moment to marvel at their fantastic ability to produce delicious eggs for your family day after day. They are eggcellent things!
What about you?
How many eggs per day does your flock produce? What about each week? And what type of chicken breed do you raise?
We would love to hear about your chicken-raising experience.
And we thank you for reading.
Have a great day!