Eggs are the perfect little food. Theyʻre great for breakfast, work with dinner, and good in desserts. If we were going to raise chickens for our own supply of eggs, how many chickens would it take to get a dozen eggs per week?
It takes 3-4 laying hens to supply a dozen eggs per week. Mature laying hens provide an average of 4 eggs in a week, which means that with three good hens, you could count on a dozen eggs in seven days’ time.
Remember, these are animals, not machines, so while you can estimate the average number of eggs a hen will lay, it’s not guaranteed. For that reason, you might want to go with four chickens, just to be on the safe side. There’s really no downside to an extra chicken, it only means you might get a few additional eggs each week!
Related: Good egg production depends mostly on how much food your hens are able to eat. I let my chickens free range, but to ensure an ample supply of eggs, I supplement their feed with grain. With this kit, you can turn any bucket or trash can into a waterproof chicken feeder. Making your job a whole lot easier.
Best Chicken Breeds for Eggs
Now, not all hens are the same. There are broiler chickens that are good for meat but don’t produce a lot of eggs. If you want to get eggs, you need to make sure you have laying hens.
I have an in depth article about the best chicken breeds for the tropics, here. But, if we’re talking strictly egg production, I would say the best laying hens for a tropical environment are:
- Rhode Island Reds
- Black Australops
- Barred Rocks
Leghorns are great egg producers. You can count on a healthy, mature hen to lay even 5 eggs a week (over 300 eggs a year) for around 4 consecutive years.
They are also pretty good as free-range chickens: when left to their own devices, they scavenge and know how to run away from danger.
- Rhode Island Reds
These are decent all-around chickens for both eggs and meat. Hens produce around 3-4 eggs a week and will lay the most eggs until around 4 years old, when they will start to slow down.
They are great chickens for a chicken run or a mobile coop that can help fertilize your garden, because they like to stay on the ground and forage for insects.
- Black Australops
You can pretty much count on 4 eggs a week from a good Black Australop hen. Originally from Australia, they do great in warm weather and are also good for expanding your brood because they like hatching and watching over their chicks.
This breed should forage, just to keep them from becoming too bulky, but give them a coop to find shelter in at night, because they aren’t the smartest about getting away from predators.
- Barred Rocks
I really like Barred Rock hens, even if they don’t give the highest number of eggs a week (3-4), they produce eggs for many years and are good birds for chicken runs.
They do well with tropical weather, but definitely need the protection of a coop to keep them safe from predators.
When Egg Production Slows Down
There are a few factors that contribute to egg production, including season, diet and age. Some of these, you can control, or at least, manipulate, while others are just nature.
I’m sorry to break the bad news to you, but no chicken will produce eggs forever. Eventually, the
number of eggs per week will slow down and you’ll have to decide if you want to keep on the bird as a garden helper or prepare it for dinner.
You can expect 3-4 years of optimal egg-laying from most of the laying hens mentioned above. After that, you should consider having them hatch new eggs and expand your breed to keep up egg-output.
Winter/cold periods and reduced sunlight
In the tropics, you may think that won’t have to deal with too much change in egg production. But, there is a season for eggs here just as there is in other climates. Chickens in the tropics have egg laying cycle is abundant during the spring, lingers into the summer, kicks up again in the fall and peters out by winter
Chickens need adequate sunlight in order to produce eggs, and winter or long rains result in less sunlight for your brood.
One way to manipulate this issue is to provide your chickens with lights inside of their coop. This can ‘trick’ the chickens into thinking they have enough sunlight and continue producing the same number of eggs.
I prefer to think the natural rhythm is healthy for a chicken and allow them to have their rest. Itʻs a lot of work pushing out those eggs everyday, let them be for a little while!
Lack of proper nutrition also contributes to fewer eggs, or poor quality eggs. Ever notice some eggs have a sturdy shell, while others (often store-bought) have a thin, fragile shell? This is a result of a lack of Vitamin D and calcium in the chicken’s diet.
An eggshell is composed of calcium, and all those great nutrients and proteins contained in the egg yolk and egg white are a result of the chicken’s diet. If a chicken is eating properly, the eggs with be full of nutrients and taste great.
Sometimes, chickens can get all they need from foraging. But if you suspect your eggs are not optimal (pale yolks, thin shells), then consider giving your chickens layers feed. This specialty feed for laying hens provides all the nutrients needed for great, healthy eggs, including phosphorus, Vitamin D and A, proteins and more.
With all of this, is it cheaper to raise chickens than to just buy your own eggs at the store? This post will dive more into that subject and more.
Tips for storing fresh eggs
- Collect eggs daily, especially if you have a rooster.
If you have a rooster, then you should treat every egg as a fertilized egg. If a hen gets the chance to sit on her eggs and hatch them, she will. If you want them to hatch, great!
But the ones you want to eat should be collected daily, otherwise you might get a nasty surprise when you go to make an omlette.
- Don’t wash your fresh eggs unless they are really dirty.
Well, wash them before using them, of course. But unwashed eggs, fresh from the coop will stay longer than washed ones. If you do prefer to wash your eggs, put them in the fridge afterwards.
- Fresh eggs do not need to be refrigerated!
Save that fridge space for some leftovers, but keep your eggs out on the counter for 3-4 weeks without worry. If you’re planning to stock up eggs for longer than 4 weeks, then go ahead and pop them in the fridge.
Or, even better – crack those eggs and freeze the yolks and whites in groups of 2 or 3 eggs to use in baking for months ahead.
You don’t need to have a lot of chickens to get a dozen eggs a week. As few as three Leghorns or four Barred Rocks could provide you with twelve eggs every week.
Homesteadinhawaii.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.