Planning on picking up some backyard chickens for their egg-laying abilities? You probably have a few burning questions about how it all works. For example how often do chickens lay eggs or how many eggs do chickens lay a day….
On this page, we are going to talk to you about chickens laying eggs. This page has been laid out clearly, so you can easily jump to the answer of a question that you may have.
How Do Chickens Lay Eggs?
This is quite a complicated process. We are going to try and break it down into simple terms as much as we can. Bear in mind that everything that we detail here will start to take place within thirty minutes of the previous egg being laid by the hen. There isn’t really any ‘pause’ between the two. The chicken will always be making new eggs. This whole process will take at least 26-hours but can take up to 35.
To start with, the ovum is released. You may know this as the yolk of the egg. This is something that takes about fifteen minutes to happen.
Over the next four hours, the egg white will start to form around this yolk. This happens when the yolk travels through the chicken. It is at this stage that the egg will be fertilized by rooster sperm if any is present. If it isn’t, the egg will continue the journey ‘unfertilized’. The egg white will be added to the egg in the oviduct. It will look like an egg at this point, but the shell will not have formed around it.
The next stage is where the eggshell is added. This is going to take at least 20-hours. The purpose of the eggshell is to hold all of the nutrients inside the egg and, of course, protect the growing chick if the egg has become fertilized.
When the hen is ready to lay the egg, she will head to the nesting box. It will then come out of her cloaca. The egg will ‘clean’ itself as it comes out (this is due to the way the cloaca works)
The process will then start again.
How Often Do Chickens Lay Eggs?
How often do chickens lay eggs depends on a lot of factors. Generally speaking, a mature chicken will lay eggs once per day, with once every 1.5-days being about the max. However, this is an average. Some chickens may lay less-frequently than this.
The weather and diet will have a major impact on how often the eggs are being laid. In some cases, you are not going to have any control over anything that hen does.
Younger chickens may lay an egg every few days. These eggs will be fairly small. However, as they mature, you will probably notice that their egg-laying becomes a lot more frequent.
How Many Eggs Do Chickens Lay a Day?
If you are wondering how many eggs a hen will lay per day, then it is physically impossible for the hen to lay more than a single egg. The hen’s body only has the ability to hold a single egg at a time.
It will not start to ‘form’ the next egg until the first has left the hen. Each egg will take a minimum of 26-hours to form. There is no way to speed up this process at all. Obviously, this means that you will need to tailor the number of hens that you own to the number of eggs that you want to eat each day.
Generally speaking, 6 mature hens should give you at least 4 eggs per day, with a maximum of 6.
If you are wondering how many eggs do chicks lay in a day, then chicks will not lay any eggs. So, the answer to that question is ‘zero’.
When Do Chickens Start Laying Eggs?
When do chickens start laying eggs is going to be completely dependent on the breed of the chicken. Most chickens will start laying eggs when they are between 6-8 months old. However, there are some smaller breeds of chicken which may pump out eggs from about 4-months old.
Although, do bear in mind that if you opt to own those chickens in your backyard, the eggs may start to come out sooner, but they are going to be a whole lot smaller.
When Do Chickens Stop Laying Eggs?
Chickens will never stop laying eggs. What happens is that once they get old, their egg production will slow down. They will be churning out eggs for you, though. However, do bear in mind that they may not pack the same delicious ‘punch’ that the eggs did in the past.
In major egg production lines, chickens will often be culled at the age of 2. This isn’t because they have stopped producing eggs, it is because they have stopped producing as many. At this point, they may be producing one fewer egg a week, which is barely anything.
If you are a backyard chicken owner, then you will find that a good-sized flock of chickens will be producing enough eggs for you each week, even if they are over the age of 5. It isn’t until about 7-years-old that you will start to notice a major difference in their egg-laying.
Many chicken breeds will stop laying eggs during the winter months. But, don’t panic, read these 5 easy steps on how to make chickens lay eggs in winter.
Can Chickens Lay Eggs Without a Rooster?
Absolutely. Chickens can lay eggs without a rooster. Laying eggs is just part of the reproductive cycle. It isn’t triggered by having a male present. The only difference is that there is no chance of those eggs being fertilized.
The only reason you should be having roosters close to your hens is if you are planning to breed chicks.
How Many Years Do Chickens Lay Eggs For?
As we said before; chickens will constantly lay eggs. Once they have hit maturity, they will lay eggs until the day that they die. So, if you really want to know exactly how many years do chickens lay eggs, it is going to be somewhere between 7-10 years.
However, as we also said, near the end of the chicken’s life, they will not be producing eggs at anywhere near the rate they did in the past. At that point, a lot of people will cull the chicken and use them as a meat source. However, what you do is completely up to you. Not everybody wants to kill some ‘pets’ that they have had for many years!
We do hope this answered any of the more burning questions that you have about chickens laying eggs. We promise you; as long as you feed your chickens a nice and healthy balanced chicken feed, then they will be laying a lot of delicious eggs for you over the years.