How To Calculate Commercial Layers Egg Production: The Guide

Calculating Layer hen egg production #

Egg production.

The key to layer farming profits.

I recently picked up an enquiry from a reader requesting:

I want a business plan for 200 birds for egg production.

D. from Kenya

Where there is demand – it calls for supply.

Today, I’m going to show you a simple way of getting a reliable egg production figures in just a few steps.

Number of eggs per day #

The maximum number of eggs your hens lay will depend (in part) on their breed.

For example, Rhode Island Red hens are known to lay (at their peak) some 310 eggs per year.

Rhode Island Red cock
[Source]

This is between 5-6 eggs being produced per week. Close to 1 per day.

Number of layers #

Now you have a typical daily production figure per bird, you need to multiply for flock size.

So,

Referring back to that Rhode Island Red hen,

A flock size of say...1,000 hens would produce some 310,000 eggs per year....

849 eggs per day...

5,945 eggs per week...

23,780 eggs per month.

Hen-day egg #

Now,

You could leave your egg production expectation here.

But in reality, it needs some tweaking to achieve a reliable figure.

The first adjustment to make is to reflect that your flock is heterogeneous.

What is a heterogeneous flock? #

Even though they may be of the same breed…

…every one of your birds is different.

Because of this, no two birds will display identical behaviours.

Some will lay more than others.

Plus each bird in itself will vary slightly in its laying frequency from week to week and month to month.

This is real life.

How do you account for such variations in your projections?

By using averages.

Hen-day egg average #

Layer farms work to a hen-day average.

This is the total number of eggs produced on any layer farm, divided by the number of laying hens.

Hen-day egg definition

According to agritech.tnau.ac.in an average of about “85% is desirable”.

Going back to our example,

Adjusting your 1,000 bird Rhode Island Red flock figure by 85% gives,

263,500 eggs per year.

Again,

…this came from admitting that in real life – not all your hens will lay exactly like is says on paper.

[But if your farming practices are optimal, at least 85% of your hens should.]

Age #

Next, you’ll have to adjust your production figure to reflect the age of your birds.

[This becomes difficult if your laying population is made up of batches of varying ages.]

As you’ll see from the table below, a hen’s egg laying ability greatly affected by their age:

[Source]

Another important note to add – is, see how a hen’s egg production begins at 21 weeks of age…

[So, for the 1st 20 weeks of life, you bear the upkeep expense – without any output.]

And really their profitable production doesn’t kick in until about 25 weeks.

Layer hens peak egg production at about 29-31 weeks of age.

From then, you can expect your (‘same age’) flock’s hen-day egg average to be above 70% until about 80 weeks.

Beyond this, you’ll want to work out your breakeven on production.

Hens which fall below this marker you will consider spent and cull.

As a graph of the table above would kind look like this:

[Source]

Production model #

Next, your projection will need to account for your chosen production model.

In other words,

The combination of flocks and ages of flocks occupying your farm, at any given time.

Are you all-in-all out?

i.e. one batch of one age.

Or, do you operate multiple batches?

i.e. batches of various ages across many houses on your farm.

For example,

If you run a 1+2 layer model

[1 brooder/grower flock and 2 layer flocks]

....going back to our 1,000 bird per batch model of Rhode Island Red,

this would equal a total farm flock size of 3,000 birds.

The age distribution of birds will look something like this:

  • Batch 1 - 52 weeks of age
  • Batch 2 - 32 weeks of age
  • Batch 3 - 12 weeks of age

According to the age profile of egg production, the respective laying figures for each batch would look like this:

  • Batch 1 - 84% hen-day egg
  • Batch 2 - 92% hen-day egg
  • Batch 3 - 0% hen-day egg

So, to calculate the total project egg production for the current day (referencing ages above) from this example farm...

(1,000 Rhode Island Red birds per batch = 3,000 birds total farm size)

...you would do the following:

SUM(Batch size x hen-day egg percentage) per flock

i.e.

Batch 1:

1,000 x 84% = 840 eggs

PLUS

Batch 2:

1,000 x 92% = 920 eggs

PLUS

Batch 3:

1,000 x 0% = 0 eggs

GRAND TOTAL (expected egg production for the current day):

840 + 920 + 0

= 1,760 eggs produced today (according to ages of bird batches)

It is also realistic to take away an additional 5% laying capacity for typical bird mortality. This occurs naturally within the rearing process.

After subtracting for mortality, this leaves you with 1,672 eggs produced today. 

Factors affecting egg production & quality #

Poultry farming is trial, error & improvement.

Tweaking the rearing conditions of your hens can influence their ability to lay quality eggs.

Each factor having a knock on effect on the bigger picture.

Much like fine tuning sound quality on your stereo,

The following factors can be adjusted to up turn or down turn egg production.

Lighting #

The available lighting equates to length of day when raising layer hens.

Length of days is known to be an influential factor in egg production.

Natural lighting is advised to be complimented with additional artificial lighting programs – calibrated for certain ages.

How much additional lighting, depends on:

  • available daylight hours in your location
  • age of birds
  • breed etc.

The right balance provides an environmental comfort and foundation for stimulating the bird’s optimal (feeding and laying) routine.

Temperature #

Hens have an optimal body temperature.

By temperature alone you can either up regulate or down regulate their productivity.

Some breeds are more tolerant of heat and cold than others.

Conditions either side of the optimal temperature will apply stress to the bird’s body.

They will therefore deploy biological resource to correct the problem.

This will affect their available systemic focus for production. 

Health #

Sick birds produce fewer eggs and lesser quality too.

Their bodies expend additional resource when fighting ailments.

This takes away from production potential.

Therefore output suffers.

House conditions #

Issues such as:

…all have their impact on bird comfort, stress and therefore egg production.

Nutrition #

Layer hens directly convert feed into eggs.

The quality of input is seen in the output.

Cut corners on quality of feed and it will show up in sub-par product.

Also, these factors play their part in optimal production:

Breakages #

Simply, 

(even with the best of intentions)

eggs break before they are sold.

Now, over to you… #

Are you currently calculating your projected egg figures?

Do you have a different method?

Have I missed important detail?

Leave a comment below now.

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