We keep chickens for different reasons, but the two most important one is egg-laying and meat production. This explains why we have layers and broilers as well as dual-purpose breeds. Now let’s focus on layers and find out how many eggs do chickens lay in a day. Chickens can lay at least one egg per day. But it does not mean that every hen can lay an egg daily. It can take between 24 and 26 hours for an egg to develop, no matter how many weeks of age within the hen before it’s ready to be laid.
Chickens are stimulated to start laying fresh eggs by the number of hours they are exposed to the light. The more hours the more they will produce their eggs. So, during the summer and spring when the days are longer than the nights, the hens are signaled by light to start laying eggs. The opposite is true in winter and fall when the days start to get shorter while nights become longer, consequently cutting down the hours of light the chickens are exposed to in a day.
Variables Affecting Egg Production
As a chicken owner, it is advisable to be fully knowledgeable about your flock’s egg production capabilities. This is important, especially when raising chickens for eggs. You need to understand all the techniques you can apply to gauge the production of eggs among your flock of birds as well as becoming fully aware of the variables affecting the production of eggs.
Also, you need to identify the breeds of layers and determine how often they lay eggs. Once you have all these factors at the back of your mind, you will be able to work your way up and improve the productivity of your layers regardless of how many you are raising in your backyard.
As stated earlier, a hen is capable of laying a single egg per day although it will skip some days for various reasons. Some of the reasons as to why your hen cannot produce eggs daily include the hen’s reproductive system. What does this mean?
Normally, your hen’s body starts to form an egg immediately after laying the previous one. Since 26 hours means a whole day and additional two hours, your hen will accumulate these extra hours in its laying cycle to make it look like it had skipped a day or two in a matter of weeks.
Given that your hen’s reproductive system is influenced mainly by the number of hours it is exposed to light, it will likely start producing eggs late in the day. This way, it will have enough time for the formation of another egg within its body. The cycle continues this way during the egg production period for your hen in many years to come.
Most importantly, chickens in a particular flock don’t all start to lay eggs on the same day. Also, they don’t continue laying eggs at the same duration as you would think. Different chicken breeds have different laying patterns, leading to these huge variations in their egg production trend. The flock comes into egg production quickly, their egg-laying reaches the peak period and then gradually comes down to the lowest levels after a given period.
In addition to this interesting observation, you will discover that the duration a flock takes to lay eggs varies considerably as time passes. This simply means that the production of eggs that chickens lay a day fluctuates after a certain period and it becomes an on and off affair for about three or four years in a row.
Every year the egg production level goes down compared to what was recorded in the previous years. But as the production fluctuates, the egg size increases while the shell quality goes down from time to time.
To make it clear for you, have a look at the following variables that are more likely to affect the egg production in your flock at any given time of the day across the year.
One perfect example of these breeds is White Leghorn. White Leghorns always have bee been used in a number of large-scale egg production complexes. But when these birds are kept for egg production with other home flocks, their performance is not as good as when they are raised for commercial egg production.
Most of those people who buy eggs from small-scale egg producers prefer taking brown-shelled eggs instead of white-shelled eggs. The reason for doing so is based on the appearance of the eggs and not the nutritional value of each type of eggs.
Other breeds of layers that you might want to consider adding to your flock include Rhode Island Reds and Plymouth Rock (which are dual-purpose breeds), Maran hens, Araucana, and Easter Eggers.
When choosing your flock of layers from different breeds found in commercial hatcheries, ensure that you fully understand how many eggs they lay per day, weekly, monthly or annually. Commercial-type breeds are known to produce more eggs at their initial stages of laying eggs but this reduces as they age.
Other breeds tend to lay throughout the year regardless of their age. So when making your decision on the breed you want to raise, take these two points seriously before you add one or two breeds to your existing flock of birds at home.
If you want to get good results among your layers, you should take pullet management seriously. This management encompasses areas such as light and nutrition, the two most important factors influencing egg production in chickens. Good pullet management will definitely have a positive impact on the quality and level of egg production among different breeds of layers.
Light management plays a crucial role as mentioned at the beginning of this discussion. This factor is not only important during the egg-laying period, but also determines the growth and development of chicks to when they become mature layers. Once you have this information at your fingertips, it will be easier for you to adjust the subsequent management of your new flock accordingly as you prepare them for their first egg production.
Layers need adequate space for effective egg production. But the amount of space needed by each layer depends solely on the individual breed and the space available. A minimum of 1 ½ square feet though the most common space recommended is 2 square feet per chicken.
You may include a few perches to your chicken coop design to help facilitate the available space. In this regard, your chickens will sleep on those perches during the night, as a way of keeping them off the floor.
Perches make the cleaning of their coop easier and effortless. Naturally, chickens prefer perching throughout. Equipping their living space with these structures will help make their lives exciting and quite fulfilling.
When providing the outdoor space for the layers, this should be determined by the quality of the area around the coop. If you aim to have a pasture for your birds, then you should consider acquiring more area.
For that reason, an allowance of 2 square feet for each hen will be enough to give your birds that much-needed outdoor access. But ensure that there is maximum security lest you subject your entire flock of birds to predators both from the air and the ground.
How Do You Identify Layers?
It is easy to single out layers among your flock of chickens. This exercise is so simple yet tricky to an unsuspecting person. You can tell layers from the rest by observing the physical attributes for each breed.
For layers, you will notice large, bright-colored (red) wattles and combs. For other breeds, their combs and wattles have a normal color at the peak of their egg production. This will eventually fade once their laying period is over.
Other older hens such as Plymouth Rock and Rhode Island Red have some yellowish pigmentation in their skin. Their level of pigmentation is a clear indication of the hens’ positions in their respective egg production cycle.
As time goes by, this pigmentation fades away gradually in a specific order. The fading starts from the vent then goes to the face and finally to the feet.
Another way of identifying layers involves evaluating the amount of fat found in their abdomen. Also, their abdominal capacity, measured from the pubic bones to the tip of their keel bone. A good layer will have a larger abdominal capacity and lower fat levels.
What can make your hen lay or stop laying eggs? Some of these factors can make your layer to stop laying eggs throughout. They include health deterioration, poor diet, dirty water, less light, and parasites among others.
How many eggs can a chicken lay in a year? On average a typical layer, under favorable conditions, will produce almost 300 eggs in one year. This depends on how many eggs a chicken can lay each day.
An individual chicken is capable of laying one egg per day. However, this does not mean that the layer can produce an egg in consecutive days. This is due to the fact that hens develop eggs in a period of 24 or 26 days. It is extremely difficult for each hen to lay eggs every day throughout its life.
***Click on the image below to post to your Pinterest Board***
Backyard Chickens FAQ