The Cottage Smallholder

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How many eggs does a chicken lay an hour, a day, a year?

first egg of the yearIf only there was a standard answer.

We often are asked this question. Danny reckons that it’s school children researching a project. I suspect that it’s grown up chicken owners that are gradually being driven crazy by the fact that their point of lay chickens, bought six months ago, have never ever laid an egg.

I’ve been there. We bought six hens, expected six eggs a day, promised eggs to our nieghburs. Five months later we collected our first egg.

Apart from our nifty little plastic hen that sits on the table at Easter and obligingly crouches to lay a small chocolate egg each time you press her back, real hens lay on a cycle of roughly a day at best. These are the hens that are bred to be layers. Our Pekin bantams are not great layers but, like Mrs Boss they go broody easily and can be great mothers if you want to breed. If you don’t want to breed and just want your hen to lay eggs this can be a nightmare. You can find out how to get over the problem of a broody hen here.

Perhaps it’s because we grew up on fairy stories that we expect all our hens to lay at least an egg a day. A golden egg would be good too, every now and then. Our hens tend to go off lay from October to January. It’s a very long break. This year it began to seem like an extended famine. Both my patience and the arm that lifts the lid of the nesting box were easing towards repetitive strain injury. This morning I nearly didn’t bother to look – the empty nests are so disheartening.

But, ever the optimist, I took a peek. Carol had laid a long brown speckled egg. I plucked it gently from the nest and rushed back to the house to announce the good news.

The first egg of the year is always a delight, almost as good as a golden egg and far more tasty.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Kev

    It sounds like a respiratory problem to me. It might be worth investigating further – by going onto some of the chicken forums. Follow this link for advice as I can’t advise you what to do in this case

    Aso might be worth searhing for an avian vet who gives advice on line.

  2. Hi
    i have a hen that making gurgling noises in its throat almost sounds like flem built up inside, also the hen seems to be very lifeless, is this a curable problem or does it need to be seperated from the rest, would be grateful for advice off anyone in the no.
    Many thanks Kevin.

  3. Oooo ok ty, I’ll let you know if it happens again…

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Vicky

    Some people claim that this is possible. See here

    I have not experienced it myself.

  5. Is it possible my hens could lay twice in 1 day, as i thought it took 24 hours for another egg to develope so to speak..
    I have 3 hens & only 1 of them lays a bluey green egg the other 2 are a light brown & dark brown i think as i only had them last year & they have not long started laying again this year…
    Today iv found 2 bluey green eggs but 1 was smaller & abit different than the other bigger one..

  6. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Erum

    Great that I’m a good luck charm for you!

    Your hens will start laying and reach a peak around Easter time (if you are living in the UK) and then they should be laying well for the summer.

    We have just one hen laying an egg a day ATM – she’s five years old and a dinger. Hopefully the others will get the hint soon! Most of them are elderly maidens so this year we will be hatching more stock.

  7. hi
    feona u always prove to b a good luck charm for me and my chickens .its just yesterday i wrote to u and today one of my hens laid an egg but bad luck she sat on a awkward place and the egg rolled down and broke but i am happy at least she has started to lay.

  8. hi feona
    how are u and how are ur beautiful birds well my problem is that one of my hen went off laying in October other in the end of November but now its the end of February and still they are in no mood to lay any eggs even there combs have become deep red from last 15or 16 days and in between the combs also get slightly pinkish then again in a day or two they are deep red ,whats going on am i not taking care of them properly please advice me thank u ,God bless u .erum

  9. Fiona Nevile

    Most people I know check them just once a day. We check ours late afternoon.

  10. i wanna know...

    how many times a day should the nests be checked?

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