When you are first considering chickens you might wonder what kind of output to expect from your hens when they are full grown. Knowing this number can help you decide how many chickens you need to keep your family fed.
So how many eggs can a chicken lay each day?
Most chickens will lay at most 1 egg per day. Some days they will not lay any eggs. This is due to the reproductive system of the hen which takes approximately 24 – 26 hours to form each egg.
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule as well. Let’s talk about egg production in hens for just a moment.
How An Egg Grows Inside a Chicken
Just like humans, chickens have ovaries and develop follicles that eventually release an egg. From there, the process starts to deviate.
You see a chickens follicle becomes the egg yolk which will go on to provide nutrients for the growing chick if the egg becomes fertilized.
Just as with humans, even if there is no male, the “egg” is still released and will exit the body. In this case, becoming yummy breakfast. But, what happens after the egg is released?
Obviously the process is a bit more intensive for chickens because they need to form a shell around the yolk, and then the whole thing needs to pass through their body.
After the follicle is formed, the process of releasing that egg into the oviduct is called ovulation. Most chickens will ovulate only one egg at a time. Rarely, two eggs are released, more about that later.
Travel Through The Oviduct
As the egg travels through the oviduct, it will start to be covered in layers. here, the albumen starts to be formed around the egg.
The final step in this process is the shell. Calcite id deposited around the egg before the egg passes. Depending on breed, this is also the step where teh color of the eggshell can be changed.
Egg color is genetic and, even in purebreds, the actual shade can vary from individual to individual. While the most common egg colors are white and brown, they can be a rainbow of colors including green, blue, deep chocolate brown and even appear green or lavender.
From start to finish, the process for an egg to develop completely and be laid by the hen takes approximately 24 – 26 hours.
Double Yolk Eggs
Remember when we talked about the rare possibility that a hen ovulates two eggs at once? Like twins in humans, this is not very common.
When a hen ovulates two eggs at once, the result is often a double yolk egg. While rare, just as humans with twins, some hens seem to be predisposed to routinely producing double yolk eggs.
If fertilized, double yolk eggs have a reduced chance of resulting in healthy, live offspring. Because an egg can’t expand to accommodate the growing embryos, the space they have to develop is finite. Combine that with the technical requirements of hatching and twin chicks are more likely to not survive than to hatch successfully.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest chicken egg laid was an egg with a double yolk and a double shell. The egg was laid by a white leghorn in 1956 and weighed in at 454 grams!
Chickens Laying Two Eggs in One Day
Even though we know most eggs take 24 – 26 hours to develop, that interval is variable. Nature isn’t an exact science. If a hen’s hormones are right, she could ovulate 12 hours apart, 15 hours apart or even more.
If a hen ovulates more than once in a single day, it is possible for her to lay more than one egg that day. In most cases, it’s perfectly ok for a hen to occasionally lay two eggs in a single day.
Not common, but it shouldn’t cause her any undue stress.
You shouldn’t base your farming model off of that happening, but it is plausible and not typically something to be concerned about. Commercial egg producing breeds, like leghorns, are more likely to have this occur and bantam breeds less likely. Though, it could happen in any breed.
Can A Chicken Lay Three Eggs in One Day?
Theoretically it is possible for a chicken to lay three eggs in one day but it isn’t probable. In fact, there are several articles on the internet claiming that the world record for eggs laid in a single day is 7.
7 eggs laid by a single hen in one 24 hour period seems like a lot. In spite of scouring the internet, I wasn’t able to find a credible source for that information, so I’ll chalk it up to internet lore for now.
While a chicken could possibly lay three eggs in a day, it is so highly unlikely that you should consider alternate answers. Perhaps the bird you thought is a rooster? Maybe one of your younger hens started laying? Maybe you missed an egg when you collected.
Which Chickens Lay the Most Eggs
There are many breeds of chicken that are excellent egg layers. The leghorn is the most productive breed of chicken when it comes to quantity of eggs layed.
The leghorn has been breed for many generations to lay eggs in a commercial setting where every egg counts, literally.
Here is a list of the top 10 chicken breeds for laying eggs:
- White Leghorn
- Rhode Island Red
- Plymouth Rock
- Golden Comet
- New Hampshire Red
- Speckled Sussex
- Easter Eggers
When it comes to raising chickens, egg production is important but shouldn’t be the number one factor in deciding on a breed. In general, you should expect, at most, to get one egg a day out of your hens.
When you have multiple chickens, the only way to know 100% for sure that a hen has laid two (or three) eggs is if she has been 100% isolated in a cage.