By J.P. Jacob, H.R. Wilson, R.D. Miles,
G. D. Butcher, and F.B. Mather
University of Florida IFAS Extension
The laying cycle of a chicken flock usually covers a span of about 12 months. Egg production begins when the birds reach about 18-22 weeks of age, depending on the breed and season. Flock production rises sharply and reaches a peak of about 90%, 6-8 weeks later. Production then gradually declines to about 65% after 12 months of lay. A typical production curve for a laying flock, showing changes in the level of egg production and in egg weight, over time, is given in Figure 1 (see pdf below).
There are many factors that can adversely affect egg production. Unraveling the cause of a sudden drop in egg production requires a thorough investigation into the history of the flock. Egg production can be affected by such factors as feed consumption (quality and quantity), water intake, intensity and duration of light received, parasite infestation, disease, and numerous management and environmental factors.
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