It's time for eggs

Let’s Just Say The Egg Came First

Chicken eggs are nutritious and tasty, and a bunny delivers them as gifts each Easter. What else is there to know about the chicken egg?

First, let’s settle the age-old question of which came first, the chicken or the egg? It is speculated that long ago a very chicken-like bird mated and laid an egg that hatched a mutated version of its parents. In the case of that new species, the one we affectionately call the chicken, the egg came first. And we’re going with it!

With that out of the way, here are a few things we managed to crack about the chicken egg. Not that notable egg, but the chicken egg, in general.

How many eggs do chickens lay each day?

Usually one egg per day. However, chickens can lay as many as two eggs a day. It takes a single egg 24-26 hours to form, which is generally all a hen can handle physically. Two eggs happen when a young hen releases two yolks into the oviduct, or tube leading from the ovary through the uterus.

How many eggs do chickens lay each week?

The number of eggs a hen lays each week varies by species. Some breeds, like Bantam chickens, lay only 3 or 4 times a week. Others, such as the Black Sex Link, lay 5 to 6 times a week. In general, chickens lay an egg 4 or 5 times a week.

How many eggs are produced in the United States each year?

According to the United Egg Producers (UEP), 99.1 billion eggs were produced in the United States in 2019. The UEP U.S. Laying Chart shows increased production nearly every year since 1983, indicating that by now the annual production should be close to 100 billion eggs. That’s a lot of omelets!

Do hens need a rooster around to lay eggs?

No, a hen will lay eggs without a rooster. The rooster is necessary only to fertilize eggs.

Can you eat fertile eggs?

Yes, a fertile egg is edible. Some people prefer to eat fertile eggs, thinking they are more nutritious. However, science indicates that a fertile egg is no more nutritious than an infertile egg.

When do hens start laying eggs?

The typical age is 20 weeks for a hen to start laying eggs. It all depends on the breed.

How long will a chicken lay eggs?

Most hens will lay eggs for two years before slowing production. However, some continue to lay eggs for several years.

At what time of day do hens lay eggs?

The time varies by chicken, but in general, a hen will not lay during night-time hours. Also, because it takes about 25 hours to lay an egg, the hen will lay a bit later each day.

Did somebody say “fart egg”?

A “fart egg”, “fairy egg”, or “oops egg”, called many things across the country, is a tiny egg that passes through a chicken without developing to full size. It typically does not have a yolk. These eggs, the size of a ping pong ball or smaller, are nothing to worry about. They happen. Most common in young hens, a fart egg develops when a hen begins to develop an egg before the yolk is released from her oviduct. These eggs are safe to eat, although without the yolk the meal will lack the nutrition of a typical egg.

Do hens need privacy to lay an egg?

Some hens prefer privacy, while others will crowd into a nesting box with other hens even when other nesting boxes are available.