Chicken lay eggs and how many they can produce every week will vary. If you raise chickens, you would have plenty of enthusiasm when it comes to their potential to lay eggs. Good and healthy egg-layers live up to their nature of laying up to 7 eggs each week. But not all hens will and there are several factors that will influence their production. These include the time of year, light exposure, breed, diet, age, and how you care for them.
The reproductive cycle of chickens
The reproductive cycle of a hen is heavily influenced by the length of the day, which lasts for 24 hours during summer. As the days grow shorter and the winter season approaches, chickens will produce fewer eggs and might even skip some days. Many of them might even stop laying eggs altogether, then start again when the spring season comes. Winter isn’t the best time to raise chicks since cold weather reduces their chances of survival. This is also why their laying mechanisms come to a halt.
Hens can lay eggs even without fertilization or contact with roosters. The oviduct of hens, which is the passage for egg-laying, opens into their cloaca. This is the organ through which hens expel their urine and droppings. When the egg-laying process starts, a flap of skin stretches down for the purpose of separating these body parts. That way, the eggs don’t get contaminated by the excretions. This is the reason why newly laid eggs are clean, even though they can sometimes pick up dirt from the feet of the hen or from the soil.
After laying an egg, the hen will leave its nest to allow the egg to cool and prevent it from hatching. The embryo in the egg remains viable for up to 2 weeks given normal conditions. Then the hen will keep laying eggs every day until it has several in the nest.
At this point, the hen gets “broody” and starts sitting on the nest all night and all day. The hen will spread its wings slightly to keep the eggs warm. The embryos of the earlier eggs take a pause while the hen lays the other eggs, so they all develop simultaneously.
How do eggs form inside chickens?
Physiologically, it takes time for a hen to lay an egg. Like in most vertebrates, eggs begin in the ovary. During the ovulation process, a yolk gets released into the oviduct. The yolk then makes its way through the oviduct where it gets fertilized and the albumen of egg white gets deposited. As the eggs travel further into the uterus, the yolk will get encapsulated in a shell. Then the shell gets colored as the bloom adheres. The egg keeps going through the uterus until it’s ready for laying. This process takes about 24 to 26 hours.
How many eggs does a chicken lay a day?
On average, hens lay 1 egg every day, although there are some cases where they can lay more. This is very rare and isn’t regularly seen. If it does occur, it’s highly likely that the next egg won’t form as well because it doesn’t have a tough-enough shell strength. A hen’s reproductive cycle only produces shell material to coat one egg each day. It takes time for hens to prepare when laying an egg.
There are also some cases where hens lay 2 yolks in one egg. This is more common with younger hens who are still maturing or with overfed hens. In most cases, these 2 yolks will get encapsulated into one egg. Still, some hens may lay 2 eggs in a day, but no more than that. After 2 years of laying eggs, egg production will begin to decrease. Hens could even lay eggs during specific seasons but this depends on their light exposure.
Why do some chickens lay 2 eggs?
The most common reason why hens lay 2 eggs in a day is overfeeding. This causes excess follicles, which then increase the probability of a hen laying more than one egg. But the second egg often has a softer shell or some type of discoloration.
Another situation where hens may lay 2 eggs is in the case of younger hens whose egg production cycles aren’t regulated yet. They can lay 2 eggs if their bodies release another egg that isn’t fully formed. This is why the egg is usually misshapen, soft, and unusable.
Double-yolked eggs are more common. These occur when young hens release a single yolk quickly, then another one follows from the ovary.
The eggshell then encapsulates both yolks and this usually results in a bigger-than-average egg. If you think you can hatch double-yolked eggs, you might get disappointed as these eggs don’t normally hatch.
Essentially, these eggs are 2 chicks inside a single egg. But the egg doesn’t have enough nutrients to support both chicks. But if you raise hens to eat or you plan to sell their eggs, double-yolked eggs are highly in demand.
The best egg-laying breed
Many poultry raisers agree that the best chickens to breed for laying eggs are White Leghorns. On average, they can produce up to 300 eggs each year. Other good breeds include Buff Orpingtons, Australorps, Rhode Island Reds, Plymouth Rocks, and Easter Eggers.
These breeds can produce an average of 200 to 250 eggs each year. On the other end of the scale are the Silkies which can only produce an average of 100 eggs each year.
Hybrid hens aren’t dependable either when it comes to egg production, especially after their first year. Remember that if you have a breed that isn’t known for egg-laying, they won’t produce lots of eggs. You can’t force them to even with your best efforts or strategies.
While chickens could potentially lay 2 eggs each day, don’t expect this number to increase. Laying 2 eggs in a day is very rare. This means that profitability is out of the question.
Also, it takes around 26 hours for hens to produce an egg. As such, you can expect only 1 egg per chicken each day. It’s also important to consider the different factors that can have an influence on egg production.