How Often Do Chickens Lay Eggs?

The Simplest Answer

There is no simple answer to this question because all chickens and conditions are different.

But if you’re looking for the simplest of answers, here goes:

It’s only possible for a hen to lay one egg in a day. Yet she won’t lay an egg every single day.

If it’s summer and the hen is young, healthy, relaxed, and is bred for egg laying, she could lay one egg approximately every 26 hours.

Usually, egg laying slows down a lot during the winter seasons or when they get older.

What Time of Day Do Chickens Lay Eggs?

With chickens bred for laying eggs, it will take about 25 to 27 hours for a healthy, young chicken to produce an egg in the warmer seasons.

Another egg starts to develop shortly after she laid her last egg. This means she will lay a bit later each day until her body skips an egg.

The Complete Answer

The more complete answer to this question is that it depends on the breed, age, season (how much light they’re exposed to), health, and living conditions.

Breeds

The chickens’ breed really influences how often a chicken lays eggs. Some breeds of chickens have been created for high egg production.

Some chickens are bred for meat and lay fewer eggs than chickens bred for egg laying.

Some chickens are also bred as dual purpose. This means they’re good for both meat and egg laying, but they’re usually not the most desirable for either.

But no breed is every going to lay more than one egg per day. Chickens need time to produce each egg.

Age

Hens start to lay at 4-5 months of age but don’t produce regularly until about 7 months.

This means that for the first seven months, the hens won’t come anywhere close to an egg a day. Yet, hens in their prime lay an egg almost every day.

How Long Do Chickens Lay Eggs?

They lay best during their first year. Each year after that their production decreases.

Many backyard chickens produce eggs on and off for three to four years. Each year, the level of egg production is lower than the previous year.

Do Chickens Lay Eggs All Year?

A hen needs at least 17 hours of daylight to produce eggs at her peak rate. And she needs at least 12 hours to lay eggs at all.

Because a hen’s reproductive system responds to light exposure, the high laying season is summer.

Drops in the number of daylight hours will reduce the number of eggs your chickens will lay. During the fall and winter months, many backyard chicken owners will add supplemental lights to their chicken coops to keep the egg production going.

You’ll need to maintain a schedule of at least 14 hours of light per day to keep your chickens laying throughout the year (which I personally decided not to do).

Using a light with a timer, you can cause the light to come on early in the morning before sunrise to make sure that the length of light exposure for the hens totals 14 to 16 hours.

Health

Poor nutrition or disease can cause production to drop. The hens may also lay eggs that aren’t properly formed, with soft or deformed shells.

Parasites

Many internal and external parasites can infect chickens and decrease egg laying.

For example, internal parasite infestations can cause severe damage to the digestive tract. Infestations of mites can cause anemia in hens. Both of these kinds of parasites will decrease egg production.

Nutrition

Chickens of any breed and age require a healthy diet and fresh water.

Low-quality feeds can cause nutrient deficiencies to happen. A lack of a proper diet can cause your hens to molt and stop laying eggs.

Also, serving specific feed tailored to the type and age of your chickens is important.

The diet of a laying hen should be high in calcium, which is needed for eggshell production. But this level of calcium is harmful to nonlaying chickens.

Living Conditions

A stressed hen is not going to produce as many eggs as a happy, healthy chicken. A stressed hen that has been handled too much or is scared by predators can also produce fewer eggs.

Hens are also picky and they like things just right to be good egg layers.

Laying hens must have adequate space. The amount of floor space required by a flock depends on the size of the chickens and the type of chicken coop you’re using.

It is recommended to have a minimum of two to three square feet per hen, but some of the larger breeds need more space.

The coop needs a comfortable perch to sleep on at night. And they also need private nest boxes that are kept clean.

If you want to provide your chickens with outdoor space, usually eight to ten square feet per hen is needed. But, of course, the more space the better!

If you’re not an expert woodworker (like me) but you’re still thinking of building your own coop and run (it’s really not that hard!), you might want to check out my favorite do-it-yourself chicken coop eBook called “Building a Chicken Coop“. You’ll save tons of money and your coop will most likely be of higher quality than a store-bought one.

Hiding Their Eggs

Instead of laying their eggs in the coop, some hens may hide their eggs anywhere they can. So, you might need to do some egg hunting.