How many eggs will I get from a hen?

How Many Eggs

How many eggs will I get from a hen? Is a question many prospective poultry keepers ask. It’s a good simple question but unfortunately the answer isn’t simple or clear-cut. It will depend on a number of factors.

Different breeds of hen will tend to give you different numbers of eggs. The wild ancestor of our highly domesticated chicken would produce a clutch of perhaps six eggs a year.

Our breeding for egg production over hundreds of years means the birds available today can lay between 100 and 350 eggs a year depending on the breed. Pure breeds tend to produce less than the modern commercial hybrids (a bird whose parents are of different breeds).

Breeds & Egg Production

You may well read that a particular breed produces so many eggs a year but again it’s not that simple. Even within the same breed different strains will exist. Some birds will have been bred to win at shows, meeting the ideal criteria for the judge at the expense of their ability to lay. A reputable breeder will be honest about how many eggs you can expect from their hens.

Different Strains & Individual Hen’s Egg Laying

Even within the same strain there will be variation. One hen may be very productive but her sister not so much. There’s no way to predict, it’s the luck of the draw. You can predict a flock’s production fairly accurately but not an individual hen with certainty.

Feeding and Housing Conditions

To produce all the eggs she is capable of a hen needs sufficient nutrition. Not just food but the right type of food. Commercial layer’s feeds will ensure they have a good basic diet to produce those eggs and maintain themselves in good condition.

Temperature also has an effect. In cold weather the hen needs to burn more calories to keep warm, reducing the amount available to produce those eggs.

Age and Condition

Egg production also depends on how healthy and well fed the birds are and on their age. Older birds lay less than younger hens. If you take on ex-battery or even ex free-range birds they will not be as productive as they were the year before.

Seasonal Variation

Finally, don’t forget that hens are not machines. They may lay 200 eggs a year on average but that doesn’t mean one egg every 1.8 days. Hens naturally lay less in winter and when they are moulting.

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