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View Full Version : How Many Eggs Can A Chicken Lay Per Day?


Lissa
03-03-2003, 05:03 PM
I know this seems like a stupid question, but I wasn't able to find anything pertinent with a search.

My grandmother has a friend who only has one hen, who swears that it lays, on average, four eggs per day. Balderdash! I say. I've had chickens myself, and only got one egg per hen each day, if that. Yet, this woman vows that it is true. The woman is new to the "country" life and has this lone hen as a pet, and sees nothing strange about her claim.

I've heard that large egg producing corporate farms have discovered ways to "trick" hens into producing more eggs, but I've never heard of four. My grandmother insisted I check this out for her.

Davebear
03-03-2003, 05:40 PM
According to this (http://vfr.net/~tbruce/facts.html) website (and several others), the record is seven in one day. But, according to several other sites, the record number of eggs laid by a single chicken in one year is somewhere between 364 and 371, or about one per day, on average. The number given as the record varied, from one site to another.

Perhaps the most interesting claim I ran across, while looking for this answer, is that the chicken is the closest living relative of the Tyrannosaurus Rex. :D

I make absolutely no claims as to the veracity of any of this information. :)

Cessandra
03-03-2003, 05:46 PM
I was at the Houston Livestock Show on Friday, and we visited a bunch of chicken exhibits. One of the signs said that (on average) it takes 24 hours to lay one egg.

I'm sure there can be variations, but it seems to me it would be a chicken laid more egs on one day, not every single day.

(I've never owned chickens or known anyone who did, but I trust the Livestock Show!)

mnemosyne
03-03-2003, 06:02 PM
As for the "tricks" to get them to lay more eggs, such as adjusting the light/dark levels of artificial "day" and "night" (chicken reproduction systems are largely influenced by light), even these methods usually do no better than acheiving a one egg/day routine from a hen. I imagine your grandmother's friend is not quite telling the truth, or perhaps observed 4 eggs on a single day, but that is not an average.

Lissa
03-03-2003, 06:35 PM
Well, mnemosyne, it is entirely possible that she is lying, but I can't imagine why. She was merely pleased by her hen's fertility, and mentioned that she was sharing the eggs with her neighbor. She seemed honestly puzzled when grandma snorted and said, "Bullshit!"

"What? This isn't normal?" she asked. She also said that the hen produced three or four eggs each day, not just a once-or-twice large cluster.

Are some breeds more fertile than others? Perhaps the hen is a freak of nature, and we should contact the Guiness Book of World Records.

DreadCthulhu
03-03-2003, 08:51 PM
If it actually does produce 3-4 eggs a day, you do have a freakish chicken, but I don't think it is quite upto Guiness material.

Billdo
03-03-2003, 08:57 PM
Yes, but if a hen and a half can lay an egg and a half in a day and a half . . .

::: Splat! :::

OK, who threw the egg at me.

DaToad
03-03-2003, 10:07 PM
When I was in high school I worked on a "egg ranch". We had 160,000 chickens and monitored the output of each hen daily. The chickens were fed a "laying mash" which induced them to produce high quality eggs at the fastest rate possible. We also used lighting as an inducement, as mnemosyne pointed out earlier. The desired results were to have every hen lay one egg a day, every day. Having a hen lay two in a day wasn't too uncommon though, but three was rare. I don't recall any hen laying multiple eggs per day consistantly.

Duckster
03-03-2003, 11:36 PM
It depends upon whether she has to cross the road on any given day ...





:D

Enderw24
03-04-2003, 01:21 AM
I was wondering the same question as Lissa, but for a different reason. I'd like to know how anyone makes a profit on eggs. At .50 per dozen eggs at the grocery store, that's 4 cents an egg.
Factor in a profit for the store, the distributor and the farmer of a penny an egg each and you're talking about spending, on average, 1 penny per day per chicken. I don't care how big your chicken farm is, you cannot reduce your costs down to a penny a day per chicken.

neutron
03-04-2003, 01:29 AM
Originally posted by Enderw24
I was wondering the same question as Lissa, but for a different reason. I'd like to know how anyone makes a profit on eggs. At .50 per dozen eggs at the grocery store, that's 4 cents an egg.
Factor in a profit for the store, the distributor and the farmer of a penny an egg each and you're talking about spending, on average, 1 penny per day per chicken. I don't care how big your chicken farm is, you cannot reduce your costs down to a penny a day per chicken.


maybe you're getting substandard eggs. Our eggs are at least $1.50 for a dozen. (US, Idaho)

InternetLegend
03-04-2003, 02:00 AM
Originally posted by neutron
Our eggs are at least $1.50 for a dozen. (US, Idaho) That sounds right for eggs around here, too (US, New Mexico). Eggs from free-range, vegetarian-fed hens are about a dollar a dozen more.

Chronos
03-04-2003, 02:21 PM
They're about a dollar a dozen here in Montana. But 25% profit is very high for groceries. As I understand it, the margin is typically more like 5%. So the farmer would end up having to pay about 85 cents per dozen chickens, or 7 cents per chicken.

bayonet1976
03-04-2003, 02:52 PM
My family raised chickens for food and eggs. Our egg laying chickens produced one egg per day, although it wasn't unusual for some chickens to skip a day or two on occasion.

But we had one chicken that would lay two eggs per day, regular as clockwork, one sometime during the night, it was always there no matter how early we checked, and one in the late afternoon. However the second egg always had a softer shell, not quite leathery but not hard either. We tried breeding her a few times but none of her offspring carried this trait.

By the way, possible TMI, you can check the egg laying status of any chicken by, well, by inserting your finger, I always used my pinky, in their butt. You can feel the egg if it's there, and the state of the shell, a soft shell means the egg will come down next day, a hard shell means an egg today.

So I'd say, an egg a day, sure, two maybe. More than that? I'd be skeptical.

brachyrhynchos
03-04-2003, 04:50 PM
I'd just like to point out that most birds (passerines, gulls, raptors, ostriches, hummingbirds, trogons...etc. etc.) lay one egg per day. Some birds will lay a determinant amount of eggs (take the eggs away each day and eventually they will abandon the nest) and others, like chickens, pop them out like a pez candy dispenser.

Birds generally don't lay more than one egg per day because they are limited by the amout of calcium they can give to the egg. Like bayonet1976's example shows, the second egg got the short-end of the calcium stick. From my understanding, abundant producers are prone to egg-binding problems relating to calcium depletion.

So, could a bird shoot out 4 eggs in a day? I suppose it's possible in a freak-of-nature-once-in-10-million clutches, but every single day?

I doubt it, even with the highest quality mash and Tums ad lib.

Perhaps there's some rogue hen nearby depositing eggs in the nest.
Or maybe they're not chicken eggs.:eek:

Lissa
03-04-2003, 07:03 PM
The woman who made the claim did not note that there was any difference in the hardness of the shells of the "extra" eggs, nor is she feeding the hen a special high-calcium feed.

After telling grandma all of the information you guys have provided, she queried the lady a little more closely, and the woman staunchly insisted that her story was true.

I dunno. The idea of a rogue hen, or hens, sneaking into the barn to lay eggs is smile-inducing, especially when paired mentally with music from "Mission: Impossible."

JohnClay
03-04-2003, 10:12 PM
Lissa:
To be an average of four eggs a day, that means that the hen is laying four eggs every day... if it ever lays 3 or 2 eggs a day, it means that it must lay 5 or 6 eggs on some days to make up for that. And if there is a day that it doesn't lay any eggs, it means that there would need to be 4 extra eggs laid in other days (e.g. 8 eggs the next day, or 6 eggs per day for the next two days).
I wonder if that woman has ever been seen buying eggs at a supermarket - there should be no reason to since 4 eggs a day (a dozen every 3 days) should be enough.

JohnClay
03-04-2003, 10:13 PM
....unless that woman makes her own bread, etc.

Lissa
03-05-2003, 12:08 AM
She did not mention any instances where the hen laid more than four eggs, so my choice of the word "average" was a poor one. She also did not mention any days in which no eggs were laid, but grandma did not specifically ask her that question.

No, she's not buying any eggs. She said that four eggs she gets daily are way too many for her use, (she lives alone) so she shares the eggs with her neighbor who has children.

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