November 6, 2012 @ 12:15 PM

Once my hen starts laying, how many eggs will she lay?

This question was especially important to me back in 2004, because I had started a tiny online business selling blown eggs to egg artists and people wanting blown eggshells for crafts. And I had NO idea how many eggs one hen could produce.

So I kept a record, which I called an egg tally, and it dates from 2005 and 2006  - when I was knee-deep in my first flock. My flock adventures are described in my book, "Just A Couple of Chickens," and because I was learning by doing, it's pretty funny. There's more information about my book at my other website, www.TheWestchesterPress.com, plus lots of chicken-related posts.

Not every egg made it to my egg collection basket. Sometimes, the hens laid on rocks or while strutting over micro cliffs in the pen, so those eggs broke. Sometimes - which gradually became many times - the hens would eat their own eggs, and sometimes, I tripped on my own big plans and fell flat on the egg basket... so,

The hens actually laid about 10% more eggs than reflected in the count number below.

I also had not only chicken hens, but also duck, geese, pheasant, and chukar partridge. It was a very interesting adventure, which is why I wrote the book.

I had a flock of over 100 birds, about 80 hens of the various species.

In 2005, my hens laid enough eggs for me to blow 1,527. The following year the total was almost half that, 847 blown eggs.

In the chicken hen's first year, they laid twice as many eggs as they did in their second year. After the molt, the lay count dropped by half.

The second year for the duck hens was an even more dramatic drop. They laid 1/4 the number of eggs in their second year, but overall, the ducks laid more regularly than the chickens, who knew?

The geese lay only seasonally in the first place. About four months of the year only, and the rest of the year, they are loud, aggressive, messy, and utterly captivating. In their second year, they laid fewer eggs but the eggs were much larger. Geese are known for larger eggs as they get older, and the big beautiful goose eggs are worth a lot of money.

The pheasant hens were mad egg-eating fiends. Nuff said.

The Chukar Partridge hens laid a tremendous number of eggs but were very very fierce in protecting them. I almost lost a hand. They kept producing well in their second year but died of old age in their third  or fourth years.

Imprecise as it was, it was a big success, and I look forward to doing it again. These are the eggs for sale at this site.

It was an amazing time, and I miss my flock. I look forward to writing the sequel book... titled "Just a Couple More"... and I'll keep a more scientific record this time.