How Often Do Chickens Lay Eggs? Egg Production Explained

Many chicken keepers may wonder how often their chickens lay eggs.

Although they may be looking for a simple answer, the truth is that it varies depending on a few key things.

One common factor that greatly contributes to the frequency of egg laying is the breed – some breeds just lay more than others.

If you are interested in learning more about the egg laying process and how often chicken lay eggs then keep reading…

Two Easter Egger Chickens Roaming

How Often Do Chicken Lays Eggs?

How often a chickens lays an egg depends on a few key things:

  • Breed
  • Feed
  • Environment

Some chicken breeds are just naturally better egg layers. For example the Rhode Island Red can lay 5-6 brown eggs a week.

Whereas other breeds are more commonly kept for other purposes (Shows or Table Birds) and will not be as efficient egg layers.

In addition to the breed, how often a hen lays will depend on which of the three following categories it falls into: production, dual purpose, and heritage.

Production

ISA Brown

Production hens are hens that are able to produce a lot of eggs in a relatively short period of time. They are the true and reliant producers of eggs.

A well known production hen is the ISA Brown and they will generally lay 6 eggs every week.

Dual Purpose

Dual purpose hens are good for both egg laying and as table birds.

While they are not as fast as production hens at producing eggs they will produce more eggs than heritage hens. Dual purpose hens are a great in-between option for those looking for a hen that can lay plenty, but not an excessive amount of eggs.

Wyandottes are well known dual purpose hens and can lay around 4 eggs each week.

Heritage

Heritage hens are relatively slow at laying eggs.

The actual number of eggs produced by heritage hens varies a lot depending on the breed. With some heritage breeds you may still get a couple of eggs a week while other breeds will give you one egg every couple of weeks.

How Often Do The Most Popular Breeds Lay?

Buff Brahma

Breed Egg Laying
Plymouth Rocks 4-5 eggs per week
Rhode Island Reds 5-6 eggs per week
Leghorns 5-6 eggs per week
Australorps 4-5 eggs per week
Buff Orpingtons 3-4 eggs per week
Hybrids 5-6 eggs per week
Silkies 2-3 eggs per week
Cochins 2-3 eggs per week
Wyandotte 3-4 eggs per week
Easter Eggers 4 eggs per week

Plymouth Rock

Plymouth Rock Chicken

Plymouth Rocks are a classic breed and are easily recognized by their black and white barred color.

These hens are excellent egg layers and also good dual purpose hens. You can expect them to lay about four to five eggs per week.

They are sociable, friendly and excellent for families with small children.

Overall the Plymouth Rock is a great option if you are looking for a dual purpose hen.

Rhode Island Red

The Rhode Island Red is one the most loved breeds in the chicken world.

These excellent egg layers will give you 5-6 eggs per week – almost one egg each day.

Rhode Island Reds are the official state bird of Rhode Island. They have a friendly and docile temperament with humans however care should be taken when introducing them to other chicken breeds.

Just remember they are extremely vocal so would be better for the rural areas rather than urban or even suburban areas.

Leghorn

Leghorn Flock

The Leghorn is definitely one of the most popular chickens.

They are probably the first breed that comes to mind when picturing a standard chicken.

She is a popular dual purpose breed with a sturdy body and good laying abilities.

This breed will give you five to six eggs a week – nearly one egg a day.

These chickens are known to be intelligent and do well free ranging. Leghorns are also very vocal so they are best suited to rural households.

Australorp

Australorps are a fairly new breed but have become very popular in a short space of time.

Their full name is the Australian Black Orpington, which was eventually shortened to Australorp.

They are good layers producing about four to five eggs a week.

Australorps have striking black feathers that shine green in the sunlight. However this coloring means that they are prone to overheating and should be kept in the shade.

Whilst they tolerates confinement well they definitely prefer to be outside grazing in the fields.

Buff Orpington

Buff Orpington Close Up

Buff Orpingtons are the quintessential chicken.

They are an excellent dual-purpose breed and will give you about three to four eggs a week. They have a gentle and friendly personality which makes them excellent for families with small children and other pets.

Whilst Buff Orpingtons are known to be calm and docile they still love to get attention from their owners and flock mates.

Hybrid

Hybrid chickens are not an actual single breed of chicken – this is actually a name for a group of chickens.

One popular hybrid example is the Easter Egger.

Hybrids are typically are a cross between three or four different breeds and have been crossed for at least two generations.

They are generally excellent egg layers and can produce five to six eggs a week.

Unlike many purebred breeds, hybrids are widely available and are more affordable.

Silkie

Flock Of Silkies

You cannot forget about the Silkie when thinking about the most popular chickens.

Their feathers give them the appearance and feel of something fluffy and fuzzy.

Whilst they may not be the best layers they will make up for it with their personality. They love to be held and are very friendly.

You can expect them to lay two to three eggs a week.

Interestingly they can not fly so need to be watched carefully when free ranging.

Cochin

Cochins are another extremely popular chicken.

Their popularity is because they love to be held and cuddled.

Although they love free ranging they are best kept in a pen because they cannot run from predators due to their feathers.

Unfortunately they are not the best egg layers and only lay two to three eggs per week.

Wyandotte

The Wyandotte is a popular dual-purpose bird.

They are best known for their large size and egg laying abilities.

Wyandotte chickens are easy to care for and great for first time keepers. They are not as sociable as other breeds and are not the cuddliest, but will still enjoy your company.

They will provide you with about three to four eggs a week.

Silver Wyandotte

Easter Egger

Easter Eggers are very popular and most well known for their colored eggs.

They will give you about four eggs a week.

Generally they are very friendly and great for families.

This is also a low maintenance breed that are best left to freely roam the fields.

How Do Chickens Lay Eggs Every Day?

Egg Anatomy

You may wonder how does the egg laying process work?

Well the egg laying process begins earlier than you think. A hen is born with all her eggs already inside her body. Throughout her life she will not produce any more eggs and will only lay what she already has developed at birth.

The hen is ready to lay an egg when the eggs in the body have developed into an egg yolk. The egg yolk is then released from the follicle and into the ovary.

Then the yolk is released from the ovary and into the oviduct – the oviduct is a tube that allows the yolk to travel throughout the reproductive system.

From here it makes its way to the magnum and the isthmus (two other sections of the oviduct). In these sections, the egg white is formed.

Then the egg reaches the uterus and it is here where the shell is formed.

It spends over 20 hours here while the shell is developed. If the hen is known to lay a specifically colored egg, the pigment is added here. Lastly a thin anti-microbial layer on the egg is formed on top of the shell.

Finally the egg is positioned in the vent and laid by the hen into the nest box.

This process of egg laying takes roughly 24-26 hours.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often do chickens lay eggs naturally?

Many chicken breeds will naturally lay one egg a day.

If you decide to expose your hen to extended periods of light it can cause her to lay more eggs throughout the winter months.

How often do chickens lay eggs in the wild?

Wild chickens will not lay as many eggs as their tamed counterparts. Given their poor diet and skittish nature you can expect wild chickens to lay an egg or two each week.

Red Jungle Fowl

How often do chickens lay eggs in the winter?

A hen’s egg laying pattern is heavily regulated by daylight.

Due to the shorter daylight hours during winter, hens will lay fewer eggs than usual.

Some breeds might even stop laying.

If you are concerned about the reduced egg laying there are some breeds that will lay throughout the winter.

How often do chickens lay eggs when they first start?

Chickens generally lay relatively fewer eggs than expected when they first lay eggs.

The eggs will be smaller too.

They will gradually increase in size and frequency as the weeks go on.

How many eggs does a chicken lay in a lifetime?

It is hard to say with any certainty.

However the average hen will lay around 200 eggs a year as a pullet.

Over a lifetime a hen could easily lay in the high hundreds if the breed is known to live and lay for an extended period of time.

Summary

Although there is no true one correct answer to how often your chickens lay eggs, hopefully this article has helped you better understand.

There are many factors that come together to create a set of conditions where a hen will lay eggs.

As you now know not all popular chicken breeds are good egg layers. For example the Cochin is more suited to be a backyard pet and cuddle bug than an egg layer.

It is important you understand the purpose of the breed before adding them to your flock.

Let us know any of your questions in the comments section below…

Chris Lesley Bio Picture
Chris Lesley has been Raising Chickens for over 20 years and is a fourth generation chicken keeper. She can remember being a young child when her grandad first taught her how to hold and care for chickens. She also holds a certificate in Animal Behavior and Welfare and are interested in backyard chicken health and care. Her work has been shared on HuffPost, Mother Nature Network, Community Chickens, Mother Earth News and many more outlets. Today Chris keeps 11 chickens including 4 Buff Orpingtons, 4 Rhode Island Reds and 3 Silkies. She is our backyard chicken expert at Chickens And More, and shares her knowledge on raising healthy, happy chickens with our readers. You can contact Chris at chris@chickensandmore.com

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