Anyone new to chicken keeping has a lot of enthusiasm for the eggs and their hens laying potential. Besides, it can be a primary reason for keeping them all together. But what is actually possible here? Is a chicken capable of laying more than one egg in a day? I spent some time researching to find out!
So, can chickens lay 2 eggs per day? While it is possible and been known to happen, it is extremely rare for chickens to lay 2 eggs in a day. Instead, it takes roughly 26 hours for a hen to produce and lay one egg. Thus, keepers can typically expect one egg per chicken per day.
While a healthy and good laying hen may be able to lay up to seven eggs per week, not all chickens will.
There are just so many factors that influence production.
The time of year (and exposure to light), the breed of the hen, the age of the hen, the diet of the hen and how they are generally cared for.
Let us now take a closer look at the egg-laying potential of your average hen, what breeds are known to lay the most, and how to promote healthy and more regular egg laying in your flock.
Can A Chicken Lay More Than One Egg A Day?
Chickens can lay more than one egg per day, but it is very unlikely and not regularly seen from keepers.
In the rare instances where it may have occurred, it is probable that the second egg will not have formed as well, lacking in sufficient shell and therefore strength.
This is due to the reproductive cycle of chickens, and their natural ability to only produce enough shell to coat and cover one egg, per day.
The truth is, it takes time for a hen to prepare to lay an egg.
The egg starts in the ovary and must go through the reproductive organs to be formed. First in the oviduct (for the yolk) and the magnum (for the albumen/ egg white), before moving onto the uterus to be wrapped in the colored shell. Then it needs to be laid.
The egg production process takes anywhere between 24-26 hours.
And then there is something else to consider too. A hen will not always start a new cycle immediately once an egg has been laid.
It is for this reason that in your average breed of chicken, they will lay between 180-320 eggs per year in the first year of laying.
From the second year and beyond, this production actually comes down. Eggs may only even be produced during certain seasons (spring and the summer) depending on access to light.
Consider here that hens need at least 14 hours of light to to lay eggs consistently. Unless artificial lighting is provided in the winter, in some locations egg laying will therefore naturally cease.
So, one egg per hen per day, is actually considered to be very good production.
If a hen is suspected of laying more, consider it could be down to these two things:
- It could be that hens are hiding the eggs so that when it comes to the collection, there is more than you are expecting.
- Some birds lay very early, and then lay much later the next day, so it can appear that two eggs have been laid in a 24 hour period, but much more time has passed.
And, there is also one other possibility to consider here.
Chickens can sometimes release two yolks at the same time. It’s most common with young hens who are still maturing, or in older birds that are being overfed.
What Breed Of Chicken Lays The Most Eggs?
White leghorns are considered to be the chicken breed that lays the most eggs, with a production of up to 300 eggs, per year. This equates to just under an egg per day.
From there, the other breeds known for laying include Australorps, Buff Orpingtons, Easter Eggers, Rhode Island Reds, and Plymouth Rocks.
These breeds of chicken have been known to average between 200-250 eggs per year.
At the other end of the extreme, Silkies are not known for laying many eggs, only producing around 100 eggs per year on average.
Hybrid hens are also not particularly good layers, especially after the first year.
In reality, if you have a breed of hen not known for laying, they will not produce many eggs. Even despite a keeper’s best efforts to increase production.
How To Get Your Chickens To Lay More Eggs
Getting chickens to lay more eggs is all about creating an environment conducive to egg-laying. They will need their basic needs met at an absolute minimum. But they also need an optimized environment too.
We’ve already touched on the importance of the breed; some will just naturally produce more than others and there is little a keeper can do to increase production in those less efficient.
The second factor that is somewhat out of your control, unless you are purchasing birds for the first time is their age.
Hens that are either too young (under 6 months) or too old (around 6 or 7 years of age, on average) will not lay.
But assuming you have a good laying breed, and they are of sufficient age, what can you do to promote egg production?
The following recommendations are a good place to start:
Hens need between 14-16 hours of light to lay regularly. In the summer months, this should be achieved naturally – especially if you are letting them out to roam during the day.
Come the winter, or the darker months however, getting sufficient light can become a problem.
Some keepers let their chickens rest during this time, although others provide artificial light to keep up production.
It does not have to be too complicated either.
A halogen or regular incandescent bulb is all that is required for your average coop. It simply needs to be plugged into a timer and scheduled to come on in the morning.
This will give your birds up to 15 hours of daylight and improve egg production in the shorter and darker days of winter.
Keep Stress Down
Chickens will stop producing eggs if they are overly stressed.
The main two causes of stress are pests and predators.
These will be hard to completely prevent altogether, but there are certainly things you can do to keep them at bay.
For one, its important that you have a secure coop without any weak or entry points. Better yet would be installing some form of fencing around your property to prevent predators from getting anywhere near the coop.
Remember it needs to be at least 6 foot + and dug into the ground too.
For pests, it’s generally about using the right bedding materials and cleaning the coop sufficiently and regularly.
Diet and nutrition is paramount to healthy egg production. In fact, this is precisley why you purchase ‘layers feed’.
It’s important that you do not rely on insufficient feed for your birds. Or, feed them inappropriate foods altogether. Certain and safe treats should be fed in moderation.
Consider that your hens will need 20 grams of protein per day at the very least, anything under this will result in fewer eggs.
Layers pellets are designed to provide all the nutrition your chickens need for healthy egg production. This includes protein along with vitamins and minerals.
Chickens need around 500ml of fresh, clean drinking water per day. And it needs to be accessible at all times.
Dehydration can prevent laying, so it is important that you provide enough waterers for all of your birds to access.
A good idea is to put one waterer inside the coop, another in the run or outside.
Certain supplements, such as Oyster Shell, should definitely be considered for all egg-laying hens. But especially in those that are struggling to form strong and healthy shells.
Oyster shell provides access to a clean and digestible source of calcium, which is the primary material used for the formation of the shells.
This is the best selling brand on Amazon to consider.
Coop Design and Layout
A big component in keeping a flock happy and healthy is providing sufficient space. You should allow 2-3 square feet per laying hen.
So, it may be that you either need to increase the size of your coop or extend it out (if possible) to meet this target.
Otherwise you will need to consider how many birds you keep, or risk a lower egg supply and other issues that can result from overcrowding (such as repository diseases).
From there, each hen requires at least 8 inches of roosting space to acquire the sleep that they need.
So, you may need to consider adding another roosting bar if you cannot provide this space per hen.
Nest boxes should also be provided if not already; as these offer a comfortable and safe area for your birds to lay their eggs.
1 box for every 3 hens is advised, and they should be raised off the floor by a couple of inches.
Regularly changing the bedding and ensuring they are of sufficient size will help to ensure your birds use them.
Its important that your birds spend some time outside and are given the ability to roam.
Getting this light exercise can help to prevent weight gain, which in excess, can impact the production of eggs.
Equally, it helps with your birds physiological and mental health – keeping them happy and reducing anxiety and stress.
Letting your birds free-range and forage for food also helps them to acquire more nutrition, with bugs, grubs, and insects being high in protein and other essential vitamins.
Chickens can lay 2 eggs per day, but do not expect it. Its increasingly unlikely.
In reality, a chicken that lays one egg per day is a good and efficient layer!
It’s also important to consider that there are multiple factors that influence egg production. Several are completely outside of the keeper’s control. The breed of the hen and the age are the two to be most aware of.
In fact, in certain breeds, there is little you can do to increase egg production, despite your best efforts.
That being said, in healthy laying breeds, there are some steps you may be able to take to increase or at least promote healthy egg production.
Food, water, space and the reduction of any sources of stress are the main ones to look at.
Lighting is another option, especially in the winter, although this is a topic of much debate.
You can certainly try to keep your hens laying throughout the darker months, but do consider that this is a time that chickens naturally rest and recuperate.
Hens that are forced into maximum egg production through artificial lighting will burn out at a younger age than those who take this yearly break.
And all is not lost.
Chickens will still produce eggs in the winter without said lighting, just at a lower rate.