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You might already have some ideas about your new backyard chickens and their egg laying. Perhaps you know what the signs your chicken will start to lay eggs soon are. You might have asked do roosters lay eggs? They don’t and this is an easy way to tell a hen from a rooster, by the way.
Or you may have looked at how to help increase egg production. You might still want to know how many eggs does a chicken lay a day?
How Often Do Chickens Lay Eggs?
Generally speaking, you can expect your chickens to lay once a day or every other day. However, the fact is that it is not simply cut and dry. If you want to about how often your chickens will lay eggs you should first look at their breed and age. The type of chicken or chicken breed and how long they’ve been laying eggs has a HUGE impact on how often a chicken will continue to lays eggs.
There are breeds that are specifically for egg laying and those breeds will lay much more often than chickens that are meat birds, dual purpose chickens or unique/rare chickens used as pets. For example, a production bird like a sex link, leghorn or RIR may lay up to an egg a day during peak production.
Do keep in mind, when thinking about how many eggs does a chicken lay a day, there is one answer that applies to ALL chickens – no breed will every lay more than one egg per day. Chickens need a certain amount of time, sunlight etc to go through the process of egg production.
Ok, so we know that the chicken breed plays an important role, what other factors need to be taken into consideration?
Here’s a great starter coop for your chickens!
Seasons and How They Affect Egg Laying?
You might be wondering what in the heck seasons have to do with how often a chicken will lay an egg. If so, you will be surprised to find out that seasons can and do actually play a large role!
Our first year with chickens (we got them as 2 year olds), we were slammed with eggs through the spring. We even had to figure out if you can freeze eggs so they didn’t go bad.
You should probably go ahead and stock up on egg cartons now.
You too could have your fridge over run with eggs!
In the summer we had a decent amount. Then Fall hit and suddenly the yard looked like someone had had a massive pillow fight! Along with that, our eggs went from about a dozen a day to maybe one or two.
What in the world is going on?? Well, in the Fall, chickens molt (lose their feathers and then grow in new ones). And molting is a big cause of decreased egg production.
Not knowing any better, we thought that their production would pick right back up. So we waited impatiently and got excited as their feathers grew back in.
However, Fall leads into Winter. Winter is known for much shorter days which equals several hours less of sunlight. As mentioned above, a major factor in the egg production cycle is a need for a certain amount of hours of light.
So, as you can see, seasons can play a really large role in the answer to how often your laying hens will be laying eggs.
A chicken’s age, general health, and environment are also big factors in laying eggs. You see, chickens are born with a set number of eggs.
Depending on the breed, they will start egg production anywhere from 16 weeks to 9 months of age. The first 2 years of laying are usually the most productive.
After the age of 2, chickens will start to lay less frequently and layer fewer eggs overall. This is due to a depleted egg store.
Health is also an important factor. Laying eggs is a taxing process. The chicken has to use a lot of energy to create the egg and lay it.
Therefore, chickens who have any health strain such as mites, a simple cold or even stress (a move to a new flock or other issues) can really shut down their production to the point that they stop laying eggs completely..
So, How Often Do Chickens Lay Eggs?
Although there is no one single answer that will hold true for all chickens in all situations, we do know that in terms of how many eggs does a chicken lay a day the answer is no more than one. So, the most you will get from one chicken in one week would be 7 eggs.
You will only have a chicken laying as often as once per day if they are in prime laying age (2 or under), prime health, Spring time and are a production type breed.
If you are looking at the average chicken – so not a breed that doesn’t lay well at all and not a breed that is a mass production bird – that is average age and average health, you can probably guess at about 3 – 4 eggs a week.