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The Number of Eggs in a Hen.

A curious point of inquiry among zoologists has been, for a long time, how many eggs there are in the ovaiy of a hen. To determine this a German naturalist, a short time since, instituted some careful investigations, the result of which showed the ovary of a hen to contain about 600 embryo eggs. He also found that some twenty of these are matured the first year, about 120 during the second year, 135 buring the third, 115 during the fourth, and during the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth years the number decreases by twenty annually ; it consequently following that, after the fourth, or at most the fifth year, hens are no longer profitable as layers, unless i( may be in exceptional instances. Some interesting experiments were also made, a short time since, in Germany, i o determine the comparative fecundity of ducks and hens—that is, from which of two the larger number of eggs can be obtained in the same time. For this purpose, three hens and three ducks were selected, all hatched in February, and nourished with suitable food. The follow autumn, the ducks had laid 325 eggs, while the hens laid none. In the next February the laying season commenced again with the ducks, and continued uninterruptedly till August. They showed no inclination to sit, but became very thin, although they afterwards fattened up somewhat. The total number of eggs laid by the hens amounted to 275, or 93 eggs each ; and and 392, or 131 each, for the ducks. Although the eggs of the ducks were rather smaller than those of the hens, yet they proved to be decidedly superior in nutritive material, so that the superiority in productiveness was decidedly with the ducks.

In regard to the means or possibility of deciding the sex of eggs, much difference of opinion exists. But M. Genin, in a communication to the French Academy of Sciences, on th s subject, states that he is now able, after having investigated the matter carefully for several years, to state that all eggs containing the germ of males have wrinkles on their smaller ends, while female eggs are smooth »t the extremities.

Late Chickens the Best Layers.— After repeated experiments during the last twenty years in hatching chickens, I am fully convinced that fowls hatched in the month of January, make far better layers than those born at any other season of the year. Early hatched chickens commence laying in April and continue until cold July weather, when they discontinue until spring, on the other hand when hatched in January or February, they begin laying in August and continue until April. I find that January chickens will average from fifty to seventy-five more eggs yearly, than those hatched in August. My method, therefore, is, to hatch 100 chickens in January for my own use, as soon as the cocks can be selected from the pullets, they are placed by themselves until sufficiently large for use, giving the pullets all the room. The pullets are well fed and cared for and are soon large enough to care for themselves.

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The Number of Eggs in a Hen. Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 26, 25 November 1879

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