Egg Production In Hens – Is This Normal?

Free Ranging and Training Chickens...

“I have 7 Ameraucana girls. They are very healthy and, I think very happy. However, they are only giving me an average of 5 eggs per day. I live in Pawleys Island, SC, and the weather is wonderful. This is the 2nd season of laying for them, but the production was the same last year. Is this just the norm for Ameraucanas or are they just being bad girls? Thanks.” ~ Lindy


I’m glad you wrote.

The rate of lay your are receiving is normal for Ameraucanas.

There are very few breeds in which you can expect an egg every day.

However, there are many factors that contribute to how prolific a particular hen is;

Breed is indeed a significant factor, but within the same variety, some lines are bred for egg laying, some to meet the standard. The back yard farmer may also breed for temperament, which would be unlikely in a commercial setting.

Unless you are involved in selective breeding, you have no way of knowing, for sure, the history of the line you have purchased.

Another factor in egg production is the age of the hen.

With most breeds, that first season your hens come into lay, they will lay more often then they will for the rest of their lives.

After their first molt, you will see a decrease in egg laying but the eggs will be larger and of better quality. Another benefit to an older hen is that she is less susceptible to disease after she has molted, she is stronger and hardier.

Lindy, I have not raised Aemraucanas so I do not have any personal experience with variations in rate of lay between the first and second season.

With most breeds, each season thereafter, you will see a decrease in laying.

This is the reason many farmers, and especially commercial operations, keep their hens for only a few seasons.

With that said, a hen can continue to lay for many years.

A decrease in daylight hours will also decrease egg production. You can supplement with artificial light if you so choose. We’ve discussed this in detail in previous issues so check the website if this is new information for you.

Health is another determining factor in how many eggs a hen lays.

A decrease in egg production is an important indicator that your hen may be ill. If one of your hens experiences a drop in egg production, not due to a molt or decreased daylight hours, you might want to check her feet, eyes, undercarriage, crop and back-side to ensure everything is normal.

Sanitation, or lack thereof can also effect egg production. Keep those coops clean!

Extreme temperatures cause stress, which in turn will reduce egg production.

Keep your flock cool in the summer by making sure they always have fresh, cool water and available shade. If possible, position your coop so as to take advantage or breezes and be sure to construct with good ventilation to allow cross-breezes.

In the winter, provide a heat source in the coop if necessary. If water could potentially freeze, use a heated water station as a lack of drinkable water is extremely detrimental.

A chicken’s feed requirement are also increased during cold weather just to maintain health.

In 99% of hens you can expect to see a decrease in egg production during the winter but we don’t need to exasperate the problem by poor care and nutrition.

Crowding will also create stress and cause a drop in egg production. Ensure that your coop and run (if you use one) have ample space for the size of your flock.

Did you know that happy chickens lay more eggs?

However, since chickens don’t have tails to wag like a dog does, it’s not quite as obvious whether chickens are happy or not.

The point is that an environment as free from stress as possible is conducive to egg production. A barking dog running up and down the outside of the run will not make for happy chickens.

The final factor in how many eggs a hen will lay have nothing to do with external factors but have everything to do with the individual hen. In a pair of sisters, you may find that one lays 6 out of 7 days each week while the other only produces 3 eggs per week.

There are great variances from hen to hen as well as breed to breed.

Lindy, based upon the number of eggs you are getting daily, I believe you are doing everything right, keep up the good work and thanks again for the question.

Whether you're a complete beginner and don't know where to start, or you're a seasoned chicken keeping professional and just want practical "how to" advice on tap our guide to keeping chickens has got you covered...

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