Egg Laying Capacity: True, False or Chanced?

Eelantha

Songster
Mar 11, 2018
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Quebec (Qc)
While browsing about chickens on another site, I came across an interesting comment. It said that hens hatched from pullets' eggs did not lay for as long in their lives as the hens hatched from 2 years old hens and older. Has anybody else observed this difference in egg-laying capacity within their own breeding stocks?
 

Eelantha

Songster
Mar 11, 2018
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Quebec (Qc)
Interesting!!
All my hens were three years old before I let them hatch some chicks.
I had a hen close to 8 years old whom I hatched chicks from twice a few years ago. Alas my coop was full so I had to re-home both cockerels and pullets. Now I can't help but wonder though, how much those pullets would have laid.
 

Acre4Me

Free Ranging
Nov 12, 2017
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I’ve heard that when breeding for longer laying life, to only hatch from eggs laid by older hens (some will only hatch from hens 5+ years old). However, I think the advice to use hen eggs (1 year or older hens) is partially due to the fact that eggs are larger and kinks worked out if the egg laying process. A larger egg (Single yolk) is better for chick development, for example.
 

Eelantha

Songster
Mar 11, 2018
255
328
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Quebec (Qc)
I’ve heard that when breeding for longer laying life, to only hatch from eggs laid by older hens (some will only hatch from hens 5+ years old). However, I think the advice to use hen eggs (1 year or older hens) is partially due to the fact that eggs are larger and kinks worked out if the egg laying process. A larger egg (Single yolk) is better for chick development, for example.
I've read similarly on my side. Apparently a hen only reaches full maturity at 2 years old. Also, the chicks have an easier time hatching from hen eggs than from pullet eggs, as hen eggshells are thinner. But it doesn't explain how a girl hatched from a hen egg would have a longer laying lifespan than a girl hatched from a pullet egg, especially if both are living in the exact same conditions. Hens are all born with a certain number of ovaries, their laying rates are usually similar so long as no artificial lightening is brought into play to keep those eggs coming year-round. Or is there a vital keypoint we've missed somewhere, for the difference in egg-laying capacity to be noticed so?
 

mcChicken39

Chirping
Oct 23, 2020
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australia
After reading this post i have to say Ive noticed something myself. I have bread a fair few chickens over the years not in incubation but just letting the hens do what they do best.
I have to say i have never noticed until now. so i brought baby chicks a few months ago and as they have been laying for a few months now i thought id incubate some fertilized eggs. 21 days later not one hatched, these chickens are first time layers and they are under a year old as well :( . when i mentioned this to a friend he has also said that pullets younger then 2 years will not work out there is a low chance as the chicken its self is not mature enough. and well after eggs-perimenting i have to say i think hes onto something!
 

Silkielee

Songster
Aug 18, 2019
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Australia
Does the egg laying capacity take into account broodiness? So if a hen hatches with a certain number of ovaries then is broody 5 times a year (obviously won't lay for weeks) then she will have a longer laying lifespan? -whether hatched from pullet or hen egg wouldn't matter?
 

Acre4Me

Free Ranging
Nov 12, 2017
5,268
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Western Ohio
Hens are all born with a certain number of ovaries, their laying rates are usually similar so long as no artificial lightening is brought into play to keep those eggs coming year-round.
artificial lighting added to a backyard flock isn’t going to alter their egg laying lifespan. Nor does artificial lighting keep them laying year round. A chicken will still molt and not lay during a molt. Just like humans, a hen has more eggs available in their ovary/egg system than they can really ever lay in their lifespan, even with laying at a high rate. I’ve looked this up before and if a chicken were to lay at peak rate for a full 10 years, assuming no break for a molt, they would not run out of eggs. Of course, that is not real life as birds molt, and it is uncommon for a chicken to have high rates of lay year after year To age 10 or more.

I add artificial lighting in a timer beginning late summer. My flock is all heritage breeds, so only 4-6 eggs per week per bird at peak summer/high light time. as a flock I get much fewer eggs right now as they are molting, light and temps are decreasing. Light is only added in The morning hours bc they naturally go to roost as the sun sets . One year I added light for an hour after dark, but the birds would go to roost as the sun set, so now it is only added in the morning. This added light allows me to get eggs through the winter, but not a lot of eggs like in spring and summer when we have to give eggs away bc we have no room. Some of the birds just take a break anyway. I’m using one lightbulb in the coop, so it’s not like they are in an egg laying factory that is very brightly Lit.
 

Hidrainja4

Songster
Oct 22, 2019
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Depending on the breed. Standard breed fertilized hatching eggs should be sixty grams. It just might have to do with the size as most birds are not laying that before a year old. Just a thought. How long do you want your chickens to live?
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
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While browsing about chickens on another site, I came across an interesting comment. It said that hens hatched from pullets' eggs did not lay for as long in their lives as the hens hatched from 2 years old hens and older. Has anybody else observed this difference in egg-laying capacity within their own breeding stocks?
Would be hard to actually quantify this, wonder if what you read came from a study or is just anecdotal supposition. Has someone actually hatched a bunch of pullet and hen eggs from the same parentage then tracked them living in the exact same environment thru their whole lives to see?

Hatching from pullet eggs may result in lower hatch rates with smaller/weaker chicks with more overall health issues.
 

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