How many chickens do I need for a dozen eggs a week?

Quick Answer

For a dozen eggs per week, you’ll need 3-4 laying hens. On average, chickens lay 4-5 eggs per week. So with 3-4 hens, you can expect around 12-20 eggs per week. The exact number will depend on the breed, age, diet, and season.

How Many Eggs Does a Chicken Lay Per Week?

The number of eggs a chicken lays per week depends on several factors:


Some chicken breeds are bred specifically for high egg production, while others are better for meat or as pets. Here are some common breeds and their egg laying capabilities:

Breed Eggs Per Week
Leghorns 5-6
Rhode Island Reds 4-5
Orpingtons 3-4
Silkies 2-3

As you can see, Leghorn chickens are exceptional layers, producing 5-6 eggs per week. Silkies, which are popular as pets, only lay 2-3 eggs per week.


Younger chickens under 1 year old will not lay as many eggs as mature chickens over 1 year old. Pullets (young females under 1 year) may only lay 1-2 eggs per week as they mature. Once a chicken is fully mature, they’ll lay at their peak capacity based on breed.


To maximize egg production, chickens need a balanced diet rich in calcium, protein, and nutrients. Feed them a high quality commercial layer feed or ration designed for optimal egg laying. Supplement with scraps and treats like mealworms or fresh veggies. Proper nutrition is key for lots of eggs.


Egg production decreases in the winter months when daylight hours are shorter. You can expect 1-2 fewer eggs per week in late fall and winter. To help offset this, provide supplemental lighting to extend their daylight to 14-16 hours. The extra light stimulates egg production.


Stress from predators like hawks, foxes, or raccoons can temporarily stop chickens from laying as many eggs. Make sure your coop and run are secure and the chickens feel safe.


Some hens will stop laying entirely when they go broody – meaning they want to hatch a clutch of eggs. Broodiness lasts 1-3 weeks. Gently break broody behavior by removing eggs and separating broody hens.

How Many Chickens For a Dozen Eggs Per Week?

For a dozen eggs per week, plan for 3-4 hens. Here’s a look at how many eggs to expect:

# of Hens Eggs Per Week
1 hen 4-6 eggs
2 hens 8-12 eggs
3 hens 12-18 eggs
4 hens 16-24 eggs
5 hens 20-30 eggs

With 3-4 hens, you can expect around 12-20 eggs per week. The total will vary week to week.

Here are some tips for getting a dozen eggs each week:

– Choose breeds that lay well, like Leghorns, Easter Eggers, or Barred Rocks
– Provide a balanced diet with calcium for egg shell strength
– Extend daylight hours in winter to 14-16 hours
– Collect eggs frequently so hens don’t go broody
– Add an extra hen to be safe

Caring for 3-4 Chickens

If this is your first time with chickens, start with 3-4 hens. Here’s what you need to care for a small flock:


The coop gives chickens a safe place to roost at night and lay eggs. Plan 1-3 square feet per chicken inside the coop. A 4×6 foot coop provides ample space for 3-4 hens. Add perches, nesting boxes, food/water, and ventilation.


The outdoor run lets chickens roam in daylight hours. Allow 8-10 square feet per bird. A 10×10 foot run offers plenty of space for a small flock to scratch, dust bathe, and exercise. Add shelters, toys, and roosts.

Feeders and Waterers

Provide 1-2 gallon waterers and long feed troughs they can all access at once. Refill water daily. Feed high quality layer feed free choice. About 1/4 pound of feed per hen daily.

Grit and Supplements

Offer insoluble grit like oysters shell to help chickens digest food and get calcium for eggs. Provide oyster shell free choice in a separate container.

Nest Boxes

Add one 12×12″ nest box for every 2-3 hens. Line boxes with bedding like straw or wood shavings. Hens like dark, discreet areas to lay eggs.

Dust Bath

Chickens take dust baths daily to clean feathers and deter pests. Designate a dry spot in run and rake soil weekly. Or add a bin with sand/ash mix they can flap and roll in.


Chickens sleep on roosts elevated off the ground at night. Install 2″x2″ or 2″x4″ perches 3-4 feet high so all can roost side by side. Allow 8-10″ perch space per hen.

Predator Protection

Secure the coop and run against predators like foxes, raccoons, hawks, and coyotes. Bury hardware cloth, addmotion lights, practice good sanitation, and close coops at night.

Costs of Backyard Chickens

Here are average costs for getting started with 3-4 chickens:

Item Cost
Basic 4×6 coop $300-500
10×10 outdoor run $200-300
3-4 chicks $5 each
Waterers and feeders $50
Bedding $20
Feed (1 month) $15

The initial setup investment is around $600-800 for a coop, run, supplies, and pullets. The recurring monthly costs are minimal – just food, bedding, and supplements of around $30 per month. Selling surplus eggs can help offset costs too.

Many cities also allow backyard hens with a small permit fee. Be sure to check your local ordinances before getting chickens.

Choosing Chicken Breeds for Eggs

If your main goal is a steady egg supply, choose productive breeds that lay well. Some top choices include:


Leghorns are the egg laying champs, popping out 5-6 white eggs per week. They have a slender build best suited for egg production rather than meat. Leghorns come in a variety of colors like white, red, brown, and black.

Rhode Island Reds

Hardy, dual-purpose Rhode Island Reds lay 4-5 brown eggs per week. They also grow large for ample meat. Adaptive and friendly, they make great backyard chickens.


This Australian breed is an excellent layer of 4-5 tinted brown eggs per week. They thrive in confinement and have a calm personality. Their fluffy plumage comes in black with a beetle green sheen.

Easter Eggers

This mixed breed results in a rainbow of egg colors from blue to green to pink! They lay 4-5 colorful eggs per week. Easter Eggers have delightful mottled plumage and make lively pets.

Buff Orpingtons

Cuddly, golden Buff Orpingtons lay 3-4 brown eggs per week. They are docile, easily handled, and cold hardy – a great pick for beginning chicken keepers.

Barred Rocks

Pretty barred black and white feathers distinguish this productive breed. Barred Rock hens lay about 4 large brown eggs each week. They also provide good meat.


Americanas produce 4-5 blue or green eggs per week due to a genetic mutation. They have a bearded, muffed appearance and are active foragers when free ranged.

For a good start, choose at least one excellent laying breed like Leghorns. Then add two dual-purpose or ornamental breeds you like for diversity and eggs. Mixing breeds helps prevent flock issues like cannibalism.

Starting Pullets vs Adult Hens

You can buy chickens at different ages:

Day Old Chicks

Newly hatched chicks require special care like temperature regulation, supplemental feeding, and lots of monitoring. It takes 5-6 months before they start laying eggs. But it’s rewarding to raise them from a baby chick.

Ready-to-Lay Pullets

These teenage chickens are 17-20 weeks old. At this point, you introduce them to the coop and wait 1-2 months for the first eggs. It’s less work than chicks but still a short wait until they lay.

Adult Hens

Picking up 1-2 year old laying hens lets you skip the chick stage and start getting eggs immediately. However, their peak laying years may be shorter as older hens produce fewer eggs. Check the breeder for health and history.

If you need eggs right away, start with a mix of 2-3 ready-to-lay pullets and 1 adult hen for quick egg production.

Stocking Your Coop for Spring

Chicks hatch and most hens start laying in the springtime when daylight hours increase. Here are tips for stocking your coop in spring:

– Order chicks in late winter to receive them as spring starts
– Plan for chicks to start laying at 5-6 months or around 20-22 weeks old
– Put droppings boards, litter, food and water in the coop prior to chick arrival
– Preheat the brooder and have the heat lamp ready before housing chicks
– Move pullets to the coop at 12-14 weeks, well before they start laying
– Count on first spring eggs around May-June from winter/early spring chicks
– Supplement light to 14-16 hours daily for best egg production
– Add fake eggs to nest boxes so pullets learn where to lay
– Provide plenty of protein, calcium, and nutrients for developing birds
– Monitor for broody behavior which may reduce eggs
– Enjoy the egg bounty starting in early summer!

With a little preparation, you’ll be rewarded with a coop full of hens and lots of fresh eggs by mid spring through summer.

Tips for Year Round Egg Production

Chicken’s egg laying decreases in the fall and winter. Here are tips to help hens keep producing through cold weather:

Supplement Lighting

Chickens lay best with 14-16 hours of daylight. As winter days shorten, add a 60-watt bulb on a timer to extend their light exposure to at least 14 hours.

Insulate the Coop

Seal out drafts and add extra bedding in the coop for warmth. Maintain interior temperatures above 45°F.

Give Extra Feed

Boost their diet with sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and mealworm treats for energy. Make sure feeders are full.

Offer Oyster Shell

The increased calcium strengthens egg shells in cold weather and replaces what hens leech from their bones.

Check for Pests

Mites, lice and worms can flourish in winter and hamper egg production. Monitor closely and use organic treatments if needed.

Select Cold Hardy Breeds

Some breeds like Wyandottes, Orpingtons, and Australorps handle winter better and will lay longer into the cold months.

Clean Water

Colder months can mean frozen water. Use heated units or refresh often with room temperature water. Proper hydration is critical.

With a little cold weather care, your backyard hens will keep the eggs coming all year round!


For a steady supply of a dozen eggs per week, plan for 3-4 hens in your backyard flock. Choose productive breeds known for excellent egg laying like Leghorns, Easter Eggers, or Rhode Island Reds. Provide them a cozy coop and nutritious feed. With proper care, housing, and breed selection, you’ll enjoy farm-fresh eggs from your small homestead flock!

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