Thank you for your interesting questions.
Basic information can be found at: Raising Chickens
"Hens begin laying at 18 ? 20 weeks of age and a healthy chicken will
lay about one egg a day. A hen does not need a rooster to lay eggs
and eggs are produced in response to day light patterns. The eggs we
buy in the store are not fertilized (they don?t hatch). The size of
the egg is dependant on the age of the hen. Older birds lay larger
DID YOU KNOW???
· There is no nutritional difference between a brown egg and a white egg.
· Different breeds of birds lay a different colour egg. For example,
brown hens lay brown eggs and white hens lay white eggs.
· A hen lays one egg at a time.
· It takes 26 hours for the hen to make an egg.
Q: Please help, we were having a major family "discussion" regarding
whether a chicken needs to be fertilized by the rooster before laying
an egg? It seems we support two schools of thought, the first is a hen
will lay an egg if not fertilized by a rooster, however the egg will
not grow into a chicken. The second theory is the hen needs to be
fertilized by the rooster to even lay an egg. If proper conditions
apply than the egg will grow into a chicken. Which is correct?
[Question submitted by email@example.com]
A: The hens don't need the roosters to lay an egg. In fact, most hens
that lay grocery store eggs have never seen a rooster. An unfertilized
egg will not grow into a chicken.
"You asked if they lay eggs every 24 hrs. Although most hens should
lay once per day, as the days get shorter they will slow down since
they need sunlight to stimulate a gland in their eyes to stimulate
more egg laying. Big corporations use artificial lighting to ensure
continued laying of eggs."
"Our experience is that the breed is the variable that is most
important for winter laying other than good nutrition and water. Also
age is a factor...the older hens are more likely to take a few months
off in winter than are the younger birds. On our farm we have a number
of breeds including three of our own. Our production has already
fallen to about 1/3 of what it was in July."
"There are some things you can do, such as keeping a light on in the
layer house to extend the length of the day. Also, keep the
disturbances to a minimum... it isn't uncommon for hens stop laying
for a couple of weeks if they have had an emotional trauma. But, our
experience is that the tendency to quit laying in the fall is a breed
(and age) characteristic more than anything."
Frequently Asked Questions about Chickens!
Reproduction of chooks
Living with Chickens - Everything You Need to Know to Raise Your Own
Backyard Flock by Jay Rossier
At what temperatures do hens lay eggs the best?
Hens will lay best when the temperature is between 45-80 degrees
How long does it take for a hen to lay eggs?
Most hens will start laying between 5-7 months of age. They will lay
best at 1 to 2 years of age. All pullets (female chicken under 1 year
of age) lay small eggs at first and after a while will lay larger
eggs. Younger hens will lay 1 egg every 3-4 days. A hen 30 weeks old
can lay 2 eggs every 3 days. Some have been known to lay an egg a day.
All breeds have different laying abilities.
Domestic chickens lay one egg every 26 to 28 hours (about one egg a
day) for a period of 4 to 6 days. In between periods of egg laying,
the hen rests. Wild birds may rest for months before laying more eggs,
but domestic hens, specially bred for abundant egg production, may
rest for as little as 1 day between egg-laying periods. Note that hens
will lay eggs even without mating with a rooster.
Commercially, if the goal is to produce eggs, then hens are kept away
from roosters, and eggs are collected as they are laid. If the goal is
to produce poultry meat, then hens are mated with roosters, and the
eggs are incubated to give rise to chicks. Of course, even a farm that
produces only eggs will need to have some matings to replace the hens
that grow too old to lay eggs.
How to Care for Chickens
Chickens make a good 4-H project for people with limited space and
younger children. The birds can also provide your family with meat,
eggs and entertainment.
1. Provide a house or shelter that will protect against wind, rain,
and extreme temperatures. Include a secure, fenced-in outside run for
2. Make perches for hens, as well as laying nests - one nest for
every four hens.
3. Keep dry bedding in nests - about 3 to 4 inches deep.
4. Provide 14 to 16 hours of light for hens to lay regularly. A
100-watt bulb for every 400 square feet of floor space is adequate.
5. Feed laying hens a laying mash when they start to lay eggs. Feed
at a regular time each day, and provide clean water daily.
6. Provide oyster shell in a small pan at all times to help hens
produce strong eggshells.
7. Gather eggs daily, and store them in a cool place with the small
end of the egg pointing down. Discard any cracked eggs.
8. Watch for disease (get appropriate information from your
veterinarian for clues), and treat or remove sick birds.
9. Check birds for lice or mites, and dust with a powder if necessary.
The egg is called nature's perfect package, but if it is soiled or
broken, the package is of little value. A clean nest, ample nesting
material, adequate space and twice-a-day gathering (more often in hot
weather) are the most important factors in producing sound, clean
eggs. After gathering, eggs should be refrigerated.
http://www.cds-sf.org/cproject/phase1.htm (3 pages)
Eggs age more in one day at room temperature than in one week in the refrigerator.
Mother Earth News - Newby chicken questions.
Scroll to photos of coops
Chicken pens - 2 pages
Maintaining Body Temperature in Poultry - Poultry Fact Sheet
The EGG Cam view automatically refreshes every 10 seconds - Keep Watching!
Poultry Industry and Production Questions
"What do I feed my chickens? I feed my hens egg-ration. You can get it
from your local feed store. Egg-ration has everything a hen needs to
lay eggs, lot of nutrients. Also you can feed chickens in general,
crushed corn, a basic food. Baby chicks need chicken mesh (aka: mash).
It's a blend of several feeds into a smaller size, so the chicks can
eat it. If you have any questions you can e-mail me. Your local feed
store should be able to answer all your questions also. When we first
got chickens we just went to our feed store and they told us all we
needed to know. Tindle Feeds is a popular one, but we like locally
owned places better. Our feed store is called D&D Feeds and has been
around for a long time.
As a snack, chickens LOVE bread. We also feed our chicken left over
lettuce, carrots, any type of vegtables.
Another need for chickens is grit. Grit is small rocks or pebbles that
chickens eat. The grit goes into their "grit pouch" and actually helps
digest the food the chicken eats. The grit acts as a kind of "teeth"
for chickens to digest with. The grit pouch acts like our stomach
does, it breaks down the food. You can get grit at your local feed
More on nutrition:
Chickens Becoming Popular - Urban Pets In US
Is it legal to keep chickens in my backyard?
"In many cases, the answer is yes. It's important to check the city
ordinances and homeowner's associations where you live. They vary from
state to state and from city to city. Check your zoning, and check
what the definition of "pet" is in your area. For example...can a
chicken be legally considered to be a pet?
Check restrictions. For example...Can you have hens but not a rooster?
If so...how many hens? Then plan your flock accordingly."
2. how can I store the eggs from my hens and how long can they be kept
"You can actually store fresh eggs at room temperature for about a
week. If you store them in the refrigerator, you can keep them there
for as long as 6-8 weeks before they become "old".
Interestingly enough, the fresher they are, the worse they boil. The
white of a fresh egg will stick to the shell when boiled, and can be
difficult to peel due to the high moisture content. The eggs boil best
if aged for about two weeks. At this point there is less moisture in
the egg, and they can be peeled much more easily!"
Scroll to Chick Hatching Series (Click on Photos for a Larger View):
Movie Clip - 6 Days
When the movie starts - here is what you'll see: This embryo is six
(6) days old. Eggs are candled to see how the growing embryos are
doing. We candle by holding the egg up to a very bright light in a
dark room. The light doesn't hurt the embryo. When you watch the
movie, see if you notice:
see links on left side of Page
Movie Clip - 11 Days
Movie Clip - 17 Days
Movie Clip - Hatching