In an earlier post, several commonly asked questions about hens’ egg production were discussed. In this article, we will go over a few more.
How often will a hen lay eggs? Even in conditions that are ideal and constant, egg production will depend on various factors, including breed and, most notably, age of the hen. At prime age, in prime condition, you will get an egg almost every day. When a hen first begins laying eggs, it may take a bit for egg production to get to that point. Once there, the pace should maintain until the chicken begins to get old. If it suddenly stops or slows down drastically there may be something wrong with the hen’s diet or environment. This also may be caused by seasonal factors.
When a hen gets old, will it just stop laying eggs? No, but production will slow down. The age this happens will vary by chickens. Some start to slow down at about a year old, others will go steadily until three years or older. At this point, production will decrease for five or more years until, eventually, the hen lays eggs seldom, if ever. Even a somewhat old hen should lay eggs, if less frequently than a hen in it’s prime.
Make sure your hens are healthy and in a good environment.
What if my hens stop laying eggs suddenly? Check their conditions. Remember, egg laying is a reproductive trait, not a survival one. In nature, survival ranks above reproduction. If hens stop laying eggs, it is usually because their health or environmental conditions are not good. For more information on ideal conditions see the preceding post.
When should I collect the eggs? Make sure to collect eggs every day, as soon after they are laid as possible. An egg that sits around may be eaten by another hen or become broken, which may then result in it being eaten by the hens. When a hen has eaten an egg, it can become a habit that not only sticks with that hen but can spread quite rapidly through the flock, jeopardizing all eggs laid by the flock. Great care should be taken to avoid this, even though it is somewhat uncommon. Try to get a feel for when your particular hens will have laid all their eggs, and collect their eggs at that time. Usually it will be mid- to late morning, between about eight and eleven o' clock a.m.
Do I have to collect all their eggs at once? It is best to. Because of the private and stress free environment that is ideal for hens to lay eggs, one should try to disturb the nesting area as infrequently as possible.