How does a chicken know when to stop laying eggs?

Discussion in 'Broody Hens & Egg Laying' started by Barrychicken, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. Barrychicken

    Barrychicken New Member

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    When a chicken lays a 'clutch' of eggs it will stop laying. How does the chicken know it has laid enough eggs to stop? Can it count? How does it's body stop/resume egg production?
     
  2. fuzziebutt

    fuzziebutt Flocker

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    Hi Barrychicken, and welcome!! When a chicken stops laying and starts sitting on a clutch of eggs, that is called going broody. Going broody is a hormonal change, and there is nothing you can do to make her start sitting sooner. You can break her from being broody, but it is up to Mother Nature to decide how and when she lays, and how many!! Again, welcome to the forum!!
     

  3. Sundancers

    Sundancers New Member

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    Mother Nature at her best!
     
  4. Barrychicken

    Barrychicken New Member

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    Thanks for the replies, but that answer is not sufficient. A chicken keeps laying eggs because humans take the eggs away, if a chicken is allowed to lay continuously it will eventually stop - is this not correct?

    A chicken will lay eggs until it has enough to sit on, my question is this: how does the chicken decide it has enough eggs to stop laying and start sitting?
     
  5. doubleoakfarm

    doubleoakfarm New Member

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    I've had hens go broody on a clutch with one or two eggs and others that let everyone lay in her nest until there are so many eggs she can't possible cover them all. Once when we went on vacation we came back to a hen sitting on 40 eggs. (The neighbor girls did not know she could reach UNDER the chicken to get eggs.) And we have some that go broody even though we collect eggs. We just have to fight her for them every night. I'm pretty sure the hormone change is not triggered by an ability to "count" eggs on some level. I've not researched it but my guess is daylight, temperature, season and age are bigger factors along with the breed of the hen.
     
  6. Sundancers

    Sundancers New Member

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    Hope this helps ...