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!