If you are planning on raising chickens, you may find yourself wondering how often do chickens lay eggs. If you are wondering how many eggs your chicken will lay per day, this post outlines that information for you.
There is nothing more delicious than fresh eggs from your own homestead. You may find yourself wondering when you’ll get your first egg and how many eggs a chicken will lay per day.
This blog post outlines everything poultry owners need to know about production of eggs.
How often do chickens lay eggs?
The average chicken will lay one egg per day. There are a lot of factors that weigh into this, so don’t be alarmed if you are receiving fewer eggs than one per day. Some of those factors are:
- Age: The average age that a young female chicken starts to lay an egg is around 6 months of age (or around 24 weeks of age).
- Breed: Some chicken breeds start laying around 18 weeks of age, but the average hen doesn’t start start laying until around the 24 week mark.
- Time of year: Chickens need longer hours of light to lay eggs. During the winter months you will see egg production slow down or stop altogether.
- Diet: If your chickens are not getting enough to eat or drink, their egg production might drop. Poor nutrition is one of the first things you’ll want to look into if you see a low egg production.
Every chicken and breed is different (just like humans!). Some may begin to lay eggs at an earlier age than others. You can’t rush the laying, but I do walk you through a few tips on how to start encouraging it in this post.
Do you need a rooster for your chicken to lay an egg?
No. A common misconception is that you need a rooster for your hens to lay eggs.
A hen will lay eggs without a rooster being around. You will just receive unfertilized eggs
If a rooster is present, then you will have fertilized eggs. Fertilized eggs mean you will be able to have chicks.
What are some of the best egg laying chickens?
Not all chickens are known for their egg production (Japanese Bantam being one of these). Some chickens are better laying hens then others. Some great laying breeds to look into are White leghorn, Rhode Island Reds, Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Barred Rock, Buff Orpingtons and Wyandotte.
Taking the time to find the right breed of chicken for egg production will also give you an idea of the number of chickens you need. If you are wanting quite a few eggs per week, then you will want to focus on the breeds that are better layers.
You can also look into dual-purpose breeds that are great for egg production as well as meat production.
How many hours of daylight do you need for maximum egg production?
A hen needs at least 12 hours of daylight per day to consistently lay eggs. If they are getting 14 to 16 hours of sunlight per day, they should then be performing at their fullest potential.
Can you use artificial light to get eggs all year long?
You could. But I would suggest against it.
One of the most common misconceptions about chicken eggs is that a chicken will lay year round. If we can find them in the stores year round, wouldn’t that mean we can have them on our homesteads all year round?
When you purchase an egg at the grocery store, those chickens are “forced” into laying all year round from artificial lighting. A true pasture or homestead chicken takes the winter months off from laying.
Their bodies know best and this is a wonderful time for them to have a natural break from laying. Their bodies use their nutrients and energy during winter months to stay warm.
As the daylight hours begin to increase, you will start to see an increase in your egg production due to the long days. If you find that your chickens have stopped laying in the winter, this is why!
How long does it take for an egg to form?
It takes a hen around 25 hours to form an egg start to finish. An egg is created in a hen’s reproductive system. Healthy female chickens will create on average one egg per day.
How old should chickens be when they start laying eggs?
The average age that a young female chicken starts to lay an egg is around 6 months of age (or around 24 weeks of age). Some chicken breeds start laying around 18 weeks of age, but the average hen doesn’t start start laying until around the 24 week mark.
Every chicken and breed is different (just like humans!). Some may begin to lay eggs at an earlier age than others. You can’t rush the laying, but I do have a post with tips on how to encourage it here.
Does a chicken need calcium to lay eggs?
Calcium is an essential nutrient when it comes to healthy egg production. An egg shell is made up of 90% calcium. If a chicken has low calcium, they will produce an egg that has a soft shell. Soft shells are dangerous to a chicken because the egg can break inside of them before they can lay it.
You can feed your chickens extra calcium through crushed eggshells (you can read how to do that here) and also dark leafy greens. Spinach and kale are great options.
The dark leafy greens will also provide you with beautiful dark egg yolk once they start laying.
You will also want to make sure they have a good complete layer feed which also provides calcium.
You can also feed the chickens a crushed oyster shell for additional calcium.
Does a chicken need protein to lay eggs?
Feeding chickens a high protein diet in the form of extra feed, meal worms and sunflower seeds is an excellent way to encourage egg production. Their bodies have just came out of using up extra nutrients from winter months. Paying close attention to a hens nutritional needs is key in creating healthy egg-layers.
Do chickens ever stop laying eggs?
Over time a chicken’s egg production will begin to slow down. On average, old hens will stop laying eggs around 6 to 7 years of age.
What kind of chickens lay blue eggs?
If you are wanting to have blue eggs, you will want to add Easter Eggers to your flock. They lay a variety of blue and green eggs. Different breeds lay different color of eggs. Some chickens lay white eggs, brown eggs and tan eggs. Do your research before you purchase!
Nesting Box Tips
Nesting boxes are the cozy area where your chickens will be able to go to lay their eggs.
A nesting box is important to have, otherwise your chickens will end up finding other random place to lay their eggs.
If you are purchasing a chicken coop or building one from plans, they will typically all come with nesting boxes factored in.
If you are turning an area into a chicken coop, there are several options that you can do to create nesting boxes.
- Make a nesting box out of pieces of wood. A simple box works well nailed to the wall.
- Purchase them pre-made from your local feed store (or somewhere like Tractor Supply).
- Find old metal ones at a flea market. This is the route that we chose when our chickens were living down at the barn for awhile. We nailed antique nesting boxes to the stall walls and it worked great.
How to store farm fresh eggs
When storing your farm fresh eggs, it’s not necessary that you wash them. If they’re relatively clean (not covered in poop), then you can store them on your kitchen counter for several weeks (2-3 weeks).
If you wash off your farm fresh eggs, they must be stored in the refrigerator. Unwashed fresh eggs can be
During the process of laying an egg, a hen’s body covers each egg shell in a protective coating called a “bloom”. It’s a layer of protein that covers the porous egg and keeps bacteria from entering into the egg itself.
When you wash the egg, you’re washing off that protective covering.
In general, we store our farm fresh eggs on the counter in this little spiral egg rack (it keeps the freshest eggs on the bottom). When I am ready to use them, I’ll give them a quick rinse before cracking them.
Being able to store them directly on your counter without washing them is exactly why we want to make sure our chicken coop stays clean and fresh. It’s also important to check for eggs daily so the chickens don’t have time to make a mess of them.
Testing your farm eggs for freshness
The easiest way to tell if an egg is still fresh enough to eat is by performing a float test.
- Fill a cup with water.
- Carefully place your egg into the water.
- If it floats, then your egg is rotten and needs to go.
- If the egg sinks, then it’s still fresh enough to eat.
How big of a coop do I need?
When it comes to the size of a chicken coop, you first need to take Into account whether or not your chickens will be able to free-range.
If your chickens are able to free range during the day, you’ll be able to give them a smaller coop to sleep in at night.
Our free range chickens use their chicken coop as a secure place to rest at night from predators and also give them a spot to lay their eggs (in the nesting boxes).
We typically let our chickens out to free range around 10 in the morning and they’ll go back up each night when the sun sets.
If you are planning on keeping your chickens up all the time, then you’ll want to consider adding an outdoor chicken run which will allow your chickens to get fresh air and sunshine.
A typical rule of thumb is to give each chicken a 3 square foot of interior space if they’re going to be in the coop 24/7.
When you’re purchasing coop plans or buying a coop, they’ll typically specify how many chickens it was built for.