Anyone else feel like they never have enough eggs?

JayJo

Songster
6 Years
Jun 19, 2015
123
30
136
Bay Area, California
My Coop
My Coop
I've had chickens for a year now and no matter what I do, it never seems like there are enough eggs. We are a family of 4 and we never have extras. I'm sure it's because they're so delicious and we eat a lot more eggs now, but still... I buy eggs on a regular basis; almost all my baking is done with store-bought eggs and we only use our home-produced eggs for eating as-is. I share some with neighbors and friends but would love to be able to share more.

At peak production I've gotten an average of 3-4 eggs a day from 6 hens, although with all the intervening factors it's usually more like 2-3. Like, right now, I have 5 hens of laying age. I do have one hen - an Easter Egger, who reliably lays almost every day. But everyone else has issues - a broody Easter Egger who is not laying while she raises babies (okay, that's a good excuse), a Barred Rock and Lavender Orpington that are getting older and lay every other day at most (this is their last season before the soup pot), and one Maran who lays beautiful eggs when she feels like it. It's been hot so that's not helping them get into the mood to lay.

I'm thinking about increasing my flock size to 8 chickens, since that's the max my coop can handle. Technically I'm only allowed 6 but I don't think anyone would know, and the girls have a large enclosed run outside the coop where they spend their days so there is more than enough space.

Anyone else have any suggestions for getting more eggs other than just maxing the number of chickens in my flock?
 
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ambergds

In the Brooder
May 18, 2016
179
20
43
Utah
I would love to know how to get more eggs too. Right now I have 8 hens over 20 weeks, ones raising chicks, 4 haven't started laying yet, and 11 young pullets. I'm getting 0-1 egg a day. I'm assuming it's from the summer heat? In the spring I was getting 2-4 a day.
 

donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
31,453
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If you're wanting to maximize egg production, go for production bred birds.

Easter eggers are hit or miss, seems like. Most of my hatchery EE are dependable layers, and I love the color variety in both the birds and the eggs. But seems like a good number of folks on here report late onset of lay, and sporadic laying.

Orpingtons, especially the non-hatchery Buffs, aren't production bred.

Marans aren't production bred.

This is kind of where you need to decide what you want from your flock. Some folks want the prettier, more unusual birds, and they're more pets. The balance to that is fewer eggs. If you're wanting eggs, go with the classic egg breeds. Leghorns, Rocks, Reds, Sex links, Australorps. Keep a rolling flock. If your max is 8 birds, have four each year. Age them out when they hit 18 months, or use lights over the winter to keep production going. You can also just let them take a break and keep them for the second laying season, production is usally pretty good from second year birds.Just up to you if you want to feed the slackers over the winter or not. This way you have new chicks coming up while your older birds are in peak production, then the littles start laying when the older birds start to molt and take the winter off.

Personally, I'd keep a good broody hen. I hate brooding chicks myself and if I can get a momma hen to do the heavy lifting for me, I'm thrilled and treat her like a Queen. I've got broody bantams that are probably 4 years old and hardly lay, but they raise babies for me like clockwork, so they're keepers in my book.
 

ambergds

In the Brooder
May 18, 2016
179
20
43
Utah
If you're wanting to maximize egg production, go for production bred birds. 

Easter eggers are hit or miss, seems like. Most of my hatchery EE are dependable layers, and I love the color variety in both the birds and the eggs. But seems like a good number of folks on here report late onset of lay, and sporadic laying. 

Orpingtons, especially the non-hatchery Buffs, aren't production bred. 

Marans aren't production bred. 

This is kind of where you need to decide what you want from your flock. Some folks want the prettier, more unusual birds, and they're more pets. The balance to that is fewer eggs. If you're wanting eggs, go with the classic egg breeds. Leghorns, Rocks, Reds, Sex links, Australorps. Keep a rolling flock. If your max is 8 birds, have four each year. Age them out when they hit 18 months, or use lights over the winter to keep production going. You can also just let them take a break and keep them for the second laying season, production is usally pretty good from second year birds.Just up to you if you want to feed the slackers over the winter or not.  This way you have new chicks coming up while your older birds are in peak production, then the littles start laying when the older birds start to molt and take the winter off. 

Personally, I'd keep a good broody hen. I hate brooding chicks myself and if I can get a momma hen to do the heavy lifting for me, I'm thrilled and treat her like a Queen. I've got broody bantams that are probably 4 years old and hardly lay, but they raise babies for me like clockwork, so they're keepers in my book. 


This does make sense to me. I have learned I need to get new chicks every year and get rid of the older birds. I have some production breeds and some fun breeds. Hopefully I can keep a good balance. This years pullets are all fun breeds. Next spring I'll make sure I get a few production breeds as well.
My broody has done great with her first hatch! I hope she goes broody every spring and I'll keep her around to raise chicks for me. I'm curious what happens when a broody hen ages and stops laying eggs, does her broody tendencies then go as well? At what age would that typically happen with a black austrolorp?
 
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oldhenlikesdogs

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Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Jul 16, 2015
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I agree with donrae, you have a lot of ornamental and dual purpose breeds, most are inconsistent layers. Get some sex links, leghorns or Ancona to get better production.
 

JayJo

Songster
6 Years
Jun 19, 2015
123
30
136
Bay Area, California
My Coop
My Coop
Thanks for the advice, I knew about production breeds theoretically but for some reason had never put two and two together. I'll make sure that the next time I add to my flock I add production birds. I do like the pretty eggs but clearly some balance is needed here. I think you've solved my dilemma.

I totally agree, my broody is wonderful and has a place in my flock for as long as she wants it.
 

donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
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Southern Oregon
I've never had a hen totally quit laying eggs, and I've had some hatchery birds until 7 years old. Those weren't broodies, just plain old layers.

As long as a broody lays, she should continue to go broody. My bantams are I think 4 years old and still raising chicks for me. I don't see why a hen couldn't be 5+ and still a good broody, if she's otherwise healthy.

I've been more interested in various breeding projects the last few years, so I'm not keeping my birds as long (short attention span, anyone?) but I do hold over anyone who wants to brood.
 

dandan111

In the Brooder
6 Years
Aug 25, 2013
80
3
41
If your going to have a broody I think the bantam is so cool. Bought 6 leghorn fron ideal. Pretty birds/ egg layers big time. They are
Producing small white eggs like crazy now. All seem to be on a different schedule and lay all over the coop. We will get them figured out
soon, I think.. We had white rocks/ they were good layers but not as regular as the leghorns seem. We get 6 new chicks a year, show at the
fair then they go to the butcher the second year fair.
I find the production and heritage birds attractive and serve our purpose great.
 

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