How Many Eggs Does a Chicken Lay in a Year?
A typical egg laying hen can lay as many as 276 eggs a year. A laying hen’s lifetime productivity depends on many factors, including breed, feed, environment and life span.
Egg laying hens, called pullets, begin laying eggs when they are about five months old. On a small farm, a chicken might lay eight to ten eggs in a nest and spend three weeks hatching them.
But on a large commercial egg farm, the eggs are taken away as soon as they are laid, and the chicken just keeps laying.
Chickens produce the most eggs during their first laying year. After a year or so, they are usually sold as stewing chickens, and the egg farmer buys a new flock of pullets.
Backyard chickens are another matter. In 2013, a cosseted British hen, Victoria, squeezed out two last eggs at the remarkable age of 17. Two American “long-distance layers,” as they were called, became celebrities in poultry circles in the early years of the 20th century for continuing to lay eggs in old age.
Cornell Endurance died at age 12, having laid 1,232 eggs. Cecilia, who was merely 10, was closing in on her record, The Farm Journal reported in 1922. At the time, the normal maximum was believed to be 600 eggs, but selective breeding has since raised the limit. All the eggs a hen will ever lay are present in undeveloped form in the body from the start.