Questions about egg production over the life of a pullet

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ske1806, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. ske1806

    ske1806 In the Brooder

    Apr 18, 2010
    Patterson, New York
    I have read that a hen will lay about 20 dozen (240) eggs in the first year and probably no more than 1000 in her lifetime. I have read that chicken's average life span is 8 years. I am wondering: can you stretch out egg production in a hen by not adding extra light in winter and letting her go broody every once in a while? Or does adding light in winter only ADD more eggs produced in a chicken's lifetime?

    After the first two years, what can I expect from my pullets? Outside of eating them and pets, is there a use for them? Also, when is the best time to let them brood out chicks? Is the quality of the chicks lower if the hen is past two years old? Or if the hen is less than a year old?
    Finally: will a pullet go broody if she is no longer producing eggs?
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I can't answer all your questions but maybe this will help some. A hen does have a set number of eggs she can possibly lay when she is hatched. I don't know what that number is. I suspect it can vary quite a bit by the individual hen and maybe by breed. An average hen will lay about 15% less eggs after every adult molt. An individual hen can vary a lot from this but over a decent sized flock, the average will drop about 15% after an adult molt. The eggs will be bigger though. The most productive season for a hen is after her first molt, but you can still get decent egg production for a season or two after that. Depends on how efficient you want to be. Some breeds will lay a lot more eggs the first year than others. And it can vary a lot by the individual.

    The only thing I am aware of about the age of the hen and the quality of the chicks is that you should not tryn to hatch the small pullet eggs. It's not that they won't develop. They will. Some will hatch good chicks. But some chicks are too big for the eggs. They don't have enough room to position themselves for the hatch and have trouble pipping and zipping. Some of those that make it have deformities due to being crowded inside that small egg. Some make it fine, but you have more success if you wait until the eggs get larger.

    They are living animals and anything can happen. I am sure it is possible that a hen that is not laying will go broody, but the normal progression is that she lays real well just before she goes broody. It is nature's way for her to have a lot of fairly fresh eggs to hatch.

    Hope this helps some.

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