When reading a Wikipedia article to do with chickens, I have come across the term "clutch", but I was not able to entirely figure out what this word means. I was wondering whether the term clutch can be used to refer to any set of eggs by birds, reptiles, and amphibians, or whether a clutch must consist of a set eggs all by the same bird, reptile, or amphibian. In general, if a typical clutch by a well fed chicken amounts to a dozen of eggs, that seems like a lot of eggs for a chicken to hold within its body prior to laying them, hence my question about clarification and about what number would actually fit (I have seen as high as fifteen). It is this simply the number of eggs expected to live concurrently in a typical nest where more than one chicken would breed?
A clutch usually refers to all the eggs for a single reproductive event or laying or location. It can mean either all those laid by one organisms in one event or all those laid in a population in a single time and place. Which is usually clear in context.
Even just for an individual it is a bit vague however and can refer to one laying or multiple layings if they happen close together in time.
There is also a usage difference by specialization, agricultural scientists tend to favor a boarder usage for instance.
Well, strictly speaking from an etymological viewpoint, a clutch is:
"a brood, the number of eggs incubated at any one time," in reference to chickens, 1721, a southern England dialectal variant of cletch (1690s), noun from cleck (v.), which is from Middle English clekken "to hatch, give birth to" (c. 1400), which is probably from a Scandinavian source (such as Old Norse klekja "to hatch"), perhaps of imitative origin (compare cluck (v.)). Compare batch/bake.