We get asked this question from time to time, so we thought that with the chick and laying season imminent now, this would be a good time to talk about it.
This means that most birds you get from the feed store or by catalog will give a steady supply of eggs for 1-2 years. After this time they are considered spent and industrial concerns will send them to slaughter.
Chickens egg laying capabilities can be largely divided into heritage and production whats the difference? Production As the name implies, these birds are raised to produce large quantities of eggs over a short period of time. They tend to lay around the same amount of eggs overall, but over a more extended period of time: 3-5 years.
The amount of time it takes for an egg to travel down the reproductive tract and be laid is a fairly consistent 25-27 hour period. Leghorns Instantly recognizable by the floppy comb, this breed comes in several colors, the most common being white. Initially they were raised as dual purpose, but the meat is no longer considered to be worthwhile eating.
Rhode Island Reds The powerhouse layer born and bred in the US! Sussex This ancient fowl was reputed to have been around even in the time of the Roman invasion of Britain! The Sussex became the quintessential English table bird for many years and the flavor of its meat was said to be unsurpassed.
As a dual purpose hen the Sussex can lay between 3-6 large, light brown eggs per week depending on the particular strain of bird. They are a calm, docile and curious bird they love to forage and really dont mind being handled. They have heavy, soft feathering and come in several varieties speckled, Coronation, light, buff etc.
Tolerant of a large range of weather, this hen is winter hardy but they dont thrive in the heat. They are good foragers who like to roam in pasture, but they do tolerate confinement fairly well. The original stock was certainly a large table bird with the roosters weighing around 10lb and the hens at 7-8lb.
A low maintenance hen that can tend towards obesity if fed too many treats ! The hens will weigh in around the 7-8lb mark so do make a good sized table bird. The Rock is tolerant of a wide variety of temperatures from cold to moderately hot.
Backyard keepers, such as us, became interested in this breed and the bird has consequently moved to the lesser watch status. The breed is slow growing, so does not fit well with the modern poultry industry. It was originally raised as a dual purpose breed, its fine white meat being a delicacy.
Do chickens lay eggs every day without a rooster?
Hens will lay eggs with or without a rooster. Without a rooster, your hens’ eggs are infertile, so won’t develop into chicks. If you do have a rooster, eggs need to be collected daily and kept in a cool place before being used so that they won’t develop into chicks.
Do chickens lay eggs all year round?
But, as long as birds are fed properly and allowed to molt every 12 to 18 months, hens can safely lay throughout winter. … But each hen is born with the ability to lay many thousands of eggs, which would take her years of egg production to complete. Hens really stop laying from old age, not because they run out of eggs.
Is it worth it to raise chickens for eggs?
If you spend $7 weekly for a dozen farmers market eggs, then yes, raising chickens probably will save you money, says Sarah Cook, founder of Sustainable Cooks. … Cook estimates that it costs her $3.50 per dozen eggs to feed and care for her admittedly “spoiled” chickens.
How often do chickens have babies?
Egg Production. Hens do not need to mate with a rooster to produce an egg. Your hens will produce infertile eggs roughly every 24 hours even if you don’t own a rooster. The benefit of owning a rooster is that, if your fertilized eggs are incubated properly, you will have chicks roughly 21 days after your eggs are laid.
In addition to the breed, how often a hen lays will depend on which of the three following categories it falls into: production, dual purpose, and heritage.
For example the Rhode Island Red can lay 5-6 brown eggs a week. Whereas other breeds are more commonly kept for other purposes (Shows or Table Birds) and will not be as efficient egg layers.
A well known production hen is the ISA Brown and they will generally lay 6 eggs every week. Dual purpose hens are good for both egg laying and as table birds. Wyandottes are well known dual purpose hens and can lay around 4 eggs each week.
The actual number of eggs produced by heritage hens varies a lot depending on the breed. Plymouth Rocks are a classic breed and are easily recognized by their black and white barred color. Overall the Plymouth Rock is a great option if you are looking for a dual purpose hen.
They have a friendly and docile temperament with humans however care should be taken when introducing them to other chicken breeds. She is a popular dual purpose breed with a sturdy body and good laying abilities. Australorps have striking black feathers that shine green in the sunlight.
Whilst they tolerates confinement well they definitely prefer to be outside grazing in the fields. They have a gentle and friendly personality which makes them excellent for families with small children and other pets. Whilst Buff Orpingtons are known to be calm and docile they still love to get attention from their owners and flock mates.
Unlike many purebred breeds, hybrids are widely available and are more affordable. Although they love free ranging they are best kept in a pen because they cannot run from predators due to their feathers. Wyandotte chickens are easy to care for and great for first time keepers.
This is also a low maintenance breed that are best left to freely roam the fields. Well the egg laying process begins earlier than you think . Throughout her life she will not produce any more eggs and will only lay what she already has developed at birth.
If the hen is known to lay a specifically colored egg, the pigment is added here. Lastly a thin anti-microbial layer on the egg is formed on top of the shell. Finally the egg is positioned in the vent and laid by the hen into the nest box.
This process of egg laying takes roughly 24-26 hours. Many chicken breeds will naturally lay one egg a day. If you decide to expose your hen to extended periods of light it can cause her to lay more eggs throughout the winter months.
Wild chickens will not lay as many eggs as their tamed counterparts. Given their poor diet and skittish nature you can expect wild chickens to lay an egg or two each week. A hens egg laying pattern is heavily regulated by daylight.
Due to the shorter daylight hours during winter, hens will lay fewer eggs than usual. Although there is no true one correct answer to how often your chickens lay eggs, hopefully this article has helped you better understand. There are many factors that come together to create a set of conditions where a hen will lay eggs.
As you now know not all popular chicken breeds are good egg layers. For example the Cochin is more suited to be a backyard pet and cuddle bug than an egg layer.
Consistent egg production is a sign of happy, healthy hens. Most hens will lay their first egg around 18 weeks of age and then lay an egg almost daily thereafter. In their first year, you can expect up to 250 eggs from high-producing, well-fed backyard chickens. Then, egg counts will naturally decrease each following year with hens entering egg retirement around years six or seven.
Dual-purposed breeds like Plymouth Barred Rock, Sussex or Buff Orpingtons will typically also achieve top performance. Overall, 80 to 90 percent is considered excellent egg production (100 percent = 1 egg per hen per day), but breed, housing, weather, management, parasite load and nutrition can all affect the rate of lay of your hens.
Within their first year of life, most laying hens will be at their peak production at about 30 weeks of age. See the accompanying graph from the University of Florida to help estimate the number of eggs you can expect from your flock each year. Remember, hens can live for several years after they stop laying eggs.
The worlds oldest chicken on record is was an Old English Game hen named Matilda who lived to 16 years of age.
Chicken Breeds and Egg Laying
The large majority of breeds that you can buy today are geared towards being productive of eggs and meat.
4 Star Egg Layers
Without further delay, let us introduce you to our selected breeds – we have given them ‘star ratings’, but perhaps a Michelin rating would be more appropriate!
How often a chickens lays an egg depends on a few key things:Whereas other breeds are more commonly kept for other purposes (Shows or Table Birds) and will not be as efficient egg layers.In addition to the breed, how often a hen lays will depend on which of the three following categories it falls into: production, dual purpose, and heritage.
Dual purpose hens are good for both egg laying and as table birds.While they are not as fast as production hens at producing eggs they will produce more eggs than heritage hens. Dual purpose hens are a great in-between option for those looking for a hen that can lay plenty, but not an excessive amount of eggs.Wyandottes are well known dual purpose hens and can
Heritage hens are relatively slow at laying eggs.The actual number of eggs produced by heritage hens varies a lot depending on the breed. With some heritage breeds you may still get a couple of eggs a week while other breeds will give you
Plymouth Rocks are a classic breed and are easily recognized by their black and white barred color.These hens are excellent egg layers and also good dual purpose hens. You can expect them to lay about four to five eggs per week.They are sociable, friendly and excellent for families with small children.Overall the Plymouth Rock is a great option if you are looking for a dual purpose hen.
Rhode Island Red
The Rhode Island Red is one the most loved breeds in the chicken world.These excellent egg layers will give you 5-6 eggs per week – almost one egg each day.Rhode Island Reds are the official state bird of Rhode Island. They have a friendly and docile temperament with humans however care should be taken when introducing them to other chicken breeds.Just remember they are extremely vocal so would be better for the rural areas rather than urban or even suburban areas.
The Leghorn is definitely one of the most popular chickens.They are probably the first breed that comes to mind when picturing a standard chicken.She is a popular dual purpose breed with a sturdy body and good laying abilities.This breed will give you five to six eggs a week – nearly one egg a day.These chickens are known to be intelligent and do well free ranging. Leghorns are also very vocal so they are best suited to rural households.
Australorps are a fairly new breed but have become very popular in a short space of time.Their full name is the Australian Black Orpington, which was eventually shortened to Australorp.They are good layers producing about four to five eggs a week.Australorps have striking black feathers that shine green in the sunlight. However this coloring means that they are prone to overheating and should be kept in the shade.Whilst they tolerates confinement well they definitely prefer to be outside grazing in the fields.
Buff Orpingtons are the quintessential chicken.They are an excellent dual-purpose breed and will give you about three to four eggs a week. They have a gentle and friendly personality which makes them excellent for families with small children and other pets.Whilst Buff Orpingtons are known to be calm and docile they still love to get attention from their owners and flock mates.
Hybrid chickens are not an actual single breed of chicken – this is actually a name for a group of chickens.One popular hybrid example is the Easter Egger.Hybrids are typically are a cross between three or four different breeds and have been crossed for at least two generations.They are generally excellent egg layers and can produce five to six eggs a week.Unlike many purebred breeds, hybrids are widely available and are more affordable.
You cannot forget about the Silkie when thinking about the most popular chickens.Their feathers give them the appearance and feel of something fluffy and fuzzy.Whilst they may not be the best layers they will make up for it with their personality. They love to be held and are very friendly.You can expect them to lay two to three eggs a week.Interestingly they can not fly so need to be watched carefully when free ranging.
Cochins are another extremely popular chicken.Their popularity is because they love to be held and cuddled.Although they love free ranging they are best kept in a pen because they cannot run from predators due to their feathers.Unfortunately they are not the best egg layers and only lay two to three eggs per week.
The Wyandotte is a popular dual-purpose bird.They are best known for their large size and egg laying abilities.Wyandotte chickens are easy to care for and great for first time keepers. They are not as sociable as other breeds and are not the cuddliest, but will still enjoy your company.They will provide you with about three to four eggs a week.
Easter Eggers are very popular and most well known for their colored eggs.They will give you about four eggs a week.Generally they are very friendly and great for families.This is also a low maintenance breed that are best left to freely roam the fields.
How Do Chickens Lay Eggs Every Day?
You may wonder how does the egg laying process work?Well the egg laying process begins earlier than you think. A hen is born with all her eggs already inside her body. Throughout her life she will not produce any more eggs and will only lay what she already has developed at birth.The hen is ready to lay an egg when the eggs in the body have developed into an egg yolk. The egg yolk is then released from the follicle and into the ovary.Then the yolk is released from the ovary and into the oviduct – the oviduct is a tube that allows the yolk to travel throughout the reproductive system.From here it makes its way to the magnum and the isthmus (two other sections of the oviduct). In these sections, the egg white is formed.Then the egg reaches the uterus and it is here where the shell is formed.ItFinally the egg is positioned in the vent and laid by the hen into the nest box.This process of egg laying takes roughly 24-26 hours.
How often do chickens lay eggs naturally?
Many chicken breeds will naturally lay one egg a day.If you decide to expose your hen to extended periods of light it can cause her to lay more eggs throughout the winter months.