From my Bitchin’ Chickens News (August) – an insert that gets added to every egg carton:
* It’s a myth that chickens lay an egg a day. You know that because my supply is up and down throughout the year. Laying cycles are affected by molting, winter daylight shortage, hot & cold weather, illness, stress, lack of fresh water or weeks of incubating eggs and taking care of chicks.
* Most hens are productive layers for two years before slowing down, but some continue to lay eggs for several years. One of my hens is 5 and still laying.
* Hens will lay eggs whether or not they’ve ever seen a rooster, who are only required for fertilization of eggs. Roosters are a great addition to a flock: they mediate conflict, warn of predators, search for food & make for fabulous eye candy.
* When you eat a fertilized egg you are not eating an embryo. They don’t start to develop unless they have been incubated for more than a day @ 30c. I collect my eggs daily so no worries there.
* Ever wonder why I ask you to return your clean egg shells? Egg laying drains calcium from the hen’s body. Their comb, wattles, legs, and ear lobes will fade as the calcium leaches out so it must be replaced through various sources containing calcium. Supplements such as oyster shell, crushed egg shells, calcium rich foods or high amounts of calcium in the soil of birds with outdoor access all work.
* Hens need roughly 1/3 lb of chicken feed, 10 ounces of water, 14 – 16 hours of light, and 25 hours to produce just one egg.
* The production of a dozen eggs represents the collective hard work on a small flock of hens.