Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Year In Eggs

It's official, the year of counting eggs from my 14 layers is finally over! I have completed the chart, at right, so that you can see how things turned out. If you're thinking about getting chickens or are just curious about how many eggs a hen can potentially lay, it will give you an idea of what to expect.

My girls averaged 18 eggs per hen, per month which is a 58% lay rate per month.
I have 5 Buff Orpingtons, 6 Black Australorps, 2 Plymouth Barred Rocks, and 1 Buff Plymouth Rock. Four of my hens went broody in May and June which reduced their production dramatically. I went from about a dozen eggs a day down to about 7 on average! When August rolled around, some of my hens began to molt which also slowed production. Hens normally molt for the first time when they reach 18 months of age.

Recently a young woman asked me how many chickens she should get to start her own backyard flock. I told her to buy almost twice as many chicks as she wanted to produce the number of eggs she wanted each day. In other words, if she wants 3 eggs a day, she should buy about 5 chicks. If she wants a dozen eggs a day, some for herself and some to sell, she should buy about 20 to 22 chicks.

Of course, there are a number of other factors that influence production, such as age, breed, number of daylight hours, but I shant go into that here. All that information can be found online, but until now I had never seen any data about rate of lay during a one-year period.
So there you have it. I hope it is as interesting to you as it was to me. I'm just glad I don't have to count eggs every day anymore!


  1. I found that interesting - and helpful too. I now have 6 hens - an Australorp, Arcana, Americana, Sliver Lace Wyandotte, Black Sex Link, and a Barred Rock. Lots of colors, lots of fun to watch! And the first egg today was small, but one to brag about!!!

  2. I agree, this is very interesting. I can't get my chickens yet and I know nothing about them. So when we get moved out to the farm and I get my chickens, you can be sure that I'll be gleaning all these farm blogs including yours to learn all I can about keeping chickens! Thanks for doing such a thorough experiment!

  3. Amy, I wish I had kept track of my hens' egg production. The fifteen are only laying 8-10 a day right now and I have one Buff Orp who is broody with nothing to hatch. :( I take her off the nest 2 or 3 times a day, but she persists. She would make a good momma, if I had fertile eggs.

  4. Unfortunately, I have not kept any records of my girls egg production. My mother had the "statistical" mind but I didn't get those genes. Your girls seem to have produced real well.

  5. Amy-
    Don't think that chicken are in my future..at least for now, but I like to read about them! and your info on number a day for determining how many chickens to get is very helpful. I'm sure there is a point where a few more is not really any more work, so if you want more eggs you have more chickens. I never saw the beauty in chickens until I started reading blogs!!

  6. That info is helpful - thanks!! I plan on getting chickens in the spring - hopefully we can get the coop and fencing built over the winter.

  7. Very interesting..... You were very faithful to your committment! Now that you are done counting you can just eat and enjoy all your wonderful eggs!
    As a side note, I found that the days when I could turn my hens out even for just a while, they laid eggs with much darker yolks! I will have to do like my daughter does who can't turn her loose either.... provide "room service"!

  8. I'm coming up on 2 years with chickens and I can't imagine my life without them! I am still learning about them. I wish I would have thought to record how they lay. Your eggs are pretty, it's like getting a little gift when you go collect the eggs.

  9. You photograph such a simple thing as eggs but you've got a real eye for a great photo. Lovely.

  10. Fascinating! I'm glad you kept track. I wish I had done that. My chickens are almost 2 years old now. I didn't even know about the molting around 18 months. Well, I knew they would molt but wasn't sure when that would start. They actually started right around 18 months and are still in various stages of molting. I only get about 4-7 eggs a day right now from my 16 chickens. My Silky hen has been broody for about a week and is laying on a bunch of eggs. I kind of hope they hatch. I would like to make sure I have enough chickens to take over in egg laying as my 2 yr old chickens become older. I also bought 3 new chickens (have had them now for almost 2 weeks), two Welsummers and a Cuckoo Marans. :)


  11. I have nine black sex-links and never get less that 8 eggs a day. I think one of them is more on a 36 hour schedule than a 24.

    Your hens are lovely, thank you for sharing.


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