How many eggs do chickens lay naturally? People message and ask this question more often than you would think! Some of them want to know how many eggs per year, and some want to know how many eggs are laid in a day. It’s perfectly normal to ask these questions when you don’t have much or any experience keeping chickens.
The second question is easier to answer than the first. Chickens can only lay up to one egg each day, no more than that. Unless we’re talking about a double egg of course! Sometimes you might find 2 eggs in one eggshell. That’s always fun!
However, the first question can’t simply be answered in one sentence, since laying eggs can depend on multiple factors.
These factors include breed, diet, and environmental factors such as the season, predators, overcrowding, and more.
How Many Eggs Do Chickens Lay Naturally?
We are going to look at all the different factors carefully. So if you haven’t gotten chickens yet or are experiencing a low egg count, you’ll be able to make wise decisions to move ahead towards your goals of having healthy laying chickens.
#1 Breed Matters!
Are you asking yourself how could breed matter when it comes to egg-laying?
Surely you already know that chickens lay different kinds of eggs. They come in all different colors and sizes. Not all chicken eggs are equal.
Chickens can lay around 120-300 eggs each per year. Leghorns, Golden Comets (also known as Cinnamon Queen and a bunch of other names) both lay around 300 eggs per year. You can learn more about breeds and how many eggs they lay on the Best Eggs Layers Post. You’ll also learn about what egg color they lay, their temperament, and more.
The truth is that some chickens will actually lay more eggs every year than others. Some of them will even have stronger eggshells than others. So yes, breed absolutely matters!
I’ve had people come to me with all kinds of problems, not laying is one of them. One of the first questions I ask is about their diet. What are they eating?
Chickens need a delicate diet, that’s high in protein. Laying hens also need extra calcium to make eggs. Not having enough of these can result in poor egg production and weird eggs!
It’s also a good idea to remember to keep snacks at a minimum. Kitchen scraps can ruin a chicken’s ability to get in the necessary nutrients that their body needs to live, and create eggs!
During the fall and winter months, I give more protein-rich treats. In the fall time, my free-range chickens are molting and benefit from getting more protein to help regrow their feathers. I give them my Homemade Molting Chicken Treats.
In the winter, there are fewer bugs to eat, some protein-rich treats are a good idea. Again you can make Homemade Suet Cakes perfect for the wintertime.
# 3 Environment
Chickens can be impacted by their environment in many ways.
#3a Seasonal Issues
In the summer the days are long. Typically, we see about 14-16 hours of daylight. However, in the wintertime the days are short, we only have about 9-10 hours of daylight.
With less light during the day in wintertime, it disrupts the chicken’s ability to lay an egg. Kansas State University says that light begins the hormone process, which signals the egg making process.
They basically say that if they don’t see light for long enough, that it slows down egg production so much that you might not see an egg for several days. It’s important to understand it takes 24+ hours to complete this process of making an egg.
Yes, molting does, in fact, affect egg production. According to Mississippi State University, most hens don’t produce eggs until the molt is over! They also say that some chicken’s ability to lay eggs isn’t affected hardly at all, but molting typically takes longer for these girls.
Give your girls some extra protein while they molt. I like to make these Homemade Peanut Butter Dog And Chicken Treats for my girls while they are molting. The dog always gets one of these treats too, you know because she’s a chicken. Lol!
#3c Predators, Moving & Other Stressors!
Oh yeah, we will talk about these pests! I don’t know if you’ve ever dealt with a predator before, but I have. Many, many times!
Hawks, raccoons, opossums, and bears oh my!
Anytime chickens are stressed you will most likely get fewer eggs from them. If a chicken survives a predator attack, yeah she’s going to act a little weird for a while. You can’t really blame her can you?
Another example of stress, is moving to a new home, a new coop. We all know moving can be stressful. But heck, you did all the work! Why are the girls getting stressed?
Think about it from the bird’s point of view. They don’t know this new place, they were comfortable in their old home and they were used to it. They knew what to expect. The new place they aren’t sure of. Is it safe, is it warm?
The only suggestion I can really give you on this is to try to remove stressors as much as possible. If you have to move the girls, do it during wintertime when their egg production is already low, and that way you won’t miss out on too many eggs.
Being too overcrowded is a real issue. Not just for egg-laying, but having healthy hens too. Overcrowding can cause birds to be stressed, and thus harming egg production once again.
It can also induce an environment of heavy pecking, which can lead to feather loss and even worse cannibalism.
Make sure you have enough nesting boxes for them, and just as important, make sure they are clean.
What Time Of Day Do Chicken Lay Eggs Naturally?
Chickens can lay early in the morning, to late in the evening. This is because it takes about 24+ hours from start to finish to complete the process.
Remember that study about how light begins the hormone process, which signals the egg making process? So, if the light is a little different each day, especially in our shorter seasons, one chicken can lay early one morning and late in the evening another day.
Do I Need A Rooster For My Chickens To Lay Eggs Naturally?
Roosters aren’t necessary for the production of eggs. Hens can lay eggs without a rooster being anywhere near them. The only thing a rooster does for an egg, much like human males is add their sperm to them.
On a side note, fertilized eggs are fine to eat!
Does It Hurt A Chicken To Lay Eggs Naturally?
Most sources say they don’t believe this process is typically painful. If something goes wrong, like they pass a very big egg, or sometimes a prolapsed vent can occur and that would definitely be painful.
Thank you for joining us for another informational post! Feel free to share or leave a comment below. I try to respond to everyone!
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