Owning a flock of hens can be challenging, as you probably want to provide your hens with the needed accommodation, so if you need help acquiring a comfy coop, be sure to check out our recent post.
Moreover, if you are in search of a high-quality chicken egg incubator, the buying guide that we have prepared for you might also come in handy.
In this article, we have decided to talk to you about the egg laying process. More exactly, we plan on explaining how can a chicken lay eggs without a rooster. So, if the topic is of interest to you, keep reading!
Can a chicken lay eggs without a rooster?
This is one of the most common questions people have when speaking about hens. Although some farmers fear that they won’t get eggs from their flock if they do not own a cockerel, this fear is unfounded.
Naturally, each hen can produce an egg every 24 to 27 hours, regardless of whether or not the egg is fertilized. Eggs are formed inside the chicken every time its ovary releases a yolk into its oviduct. As the egg travels through the reproductive system of the hen, it will also develop an egg white and an eggshell.
The eggs that are not fertilized are edible. The only reason why you need to get a rooster is if you plan on expanding your flock.
When do hens start laying eggs?
Hens start laying eggs when they are around 20 weeks of age. In the first two weeks, you should not expect them to lay eggs regularly. Even more so, at first, chickens might lay eggs that are misshapen or that have blood covering the shell. This is completely normal and it should not scare you. Once the bird’s organism fully develops, the number of eggs produced should regulate.
Once your lovey flock starts laying eggs, it is time that you provide it with the proper kind of nutrition, to be sure that the chickens are supplied with a balanced diet. The specialists argue that you should invest in special layer feed. It can also help to give them crushed oyster shells and other similar treats, as they are rich in calcium.
How often and how long do hens lay eggs for?
The answer to these questions depends on the breed and the organism of each hen in particular. While some chickens can lay an egg daily, some do so every two days. Young hens that have not matured yet will normally lay eggs that are smaller in size, and at larger intervals.
Backyard chickens that were not specially bred for egg laying are at their peak laying time in the first three to four years of their lives. As the hen starts to age, it will start laying eggs less frequently.
What are the advantages of having a rooster?
The main advantage of having a rooster is for security purposes. Because they are quite protective, cockerels can keep the flock safe from predators. In case of danger, they normally alert the chickens so that they can get to a safe place.
Owning a rooster is also beneficial because you allow the hens to live a normal life. By nature, chickens live in flocks that are made of both females and males. Some farmers have also noted that cockerels can ensure that the flock is well-behaved by breaking off fights between the hens.
Apart from this, roosters can also encourage egg-laying and they also monitor and protect the nest boxes. What is more, cockerels have quite the personality and they are very entertaining. It is expected to own a male chicken, especially if you want to hatch baby chicks in a natural way.
Are there disadvantages that you should be aware of?
In short, yes. Fellow farmers have observed a handful of reasons why owning a rooster can be challenging. For one, there are zoning laws that do not allow poultry farmers to have roosters. They are considered a nuisance because they can get pretty loud and, thus, they can disturb the quietness of a neighborhood.
If the area that you live in has a law of this type, it is highly recommendable that you do not break it. After all, your hens can provide you with plenty of eggs without the presence of a male.
Furthermore, depending on their personality, cockerels can get territorial and, consequently, seriously aggressive. This is a serious problem if you have small children or if you have a farm that welcomes plenty of visitors.
Maybe one of the biggest problems that roosters might cause is the fact that they can wear out the hens. Because chicken sex is not typically consensual, if you own too many cockerels and only a couple of hens, your flock will soon start to show signs of wear such as backs cleaned of feathers or a general feeling of tiredness.
Given the situation, it is highly advisable that you keep a healthy rooster to hen ratio. By this, we mean that you should only have a cockerel for ten to twelve hens.
How long does it take for an egg to hatch?
If you are interested in keeping chickens, you are probably curious about the hatching cycle. A fertilized egg will normally hatch 21 days after the incubation begins. If you do not have a broody hen, it is advisable that you purchase an electric incubator.
If you have a broody hen, but you do not want to expand your flock, it is highly recommended that you remove the eggs from the nest on a daily basis and that you refrigerate them immediately. This way, you won’t risk them being compromised.
As experts have argued, some hen breeds are more likely to go broody. This aspect is crucial to be considered before you decide to start keeping chicken. Also, if you decide to allow your broody chicken to hatch the eggs, you have to be sure that it receives the proper nutrition.
Many hens of this type often spend more than 21 days on the nest, guarding the eggs, and they tend to neglect eating and taking care of themselves.