Raising chickens can be a rewarding experience, and one of the most exciting aspects of a successful thing is the moment when your hens start laying eggs.
But when do they start? It varies from breed to breed, but some tell-tale signs can help you know when it’s time to begin collecting eggs.
From understanding their body language and behavior to checking their combs and wattles, there are a few key indicators to watch out for when you’re trying to determine when your chickens are prepared to start rewarding you with eggs.
Table of Contents
Identifying a Laying Hens Age
The first step in learning when your chicken is ready to start laying eggs is identifying their age. A hen will start laying eggs around 18-20 weeks old, but this does vary depending on the breed. You can identify how old a hen is by checking the size of their combs and wattles. Younger hens will have smaller combs and wattles, while older hens will have larger ones.
Breeds That Lay Early
Now that you know when chickens start laying eggs, you need to pick the breed that’s best for you. If you’re looking for an early lay, these are some good options:
- Rhode Island Reds: These chickens are known for being one of the earliest layers around. They start laying eggs at around 5 or 6 months old.
- Buff Orpingtons: Another early layer, Buff Orpingtons start laying eggs at around 4 or 5 months old.
- Leghorns: Leghorns are a very popular breed for egg-laying, and they start laying eggs at around 5 or 6 months old as well.
Signs Your Chicken Is Ready to Start Laying
So, you’ve brought home your new chicken and you’re excited to start collecting eggs. But when do chickens start laying eggs, anyway? And how can you tell when your chicken is ready to start laying eggs?
The answer to the first question is: typically, chickens will start laying eggs around six months of age. But there are a few things you can do to encourage your chicken to start laying earlier. For starters, make sure your chicken has plenty of light. Also, keep her stress levels low by providing a safe and comfortable environment.
As far as telling if your chicken is ready to commence laying eggs, there are a few key signs. One is that she will start getting restless and pecking at the ground more often. Another sign is that her comb—the fleshy red part on top of her head—will start to turn a deeper red. If you’re seeing these signs, it’s time to start stocking up on eggs!
Providing a Nesting Area
Once you know your chickens are prepared to initiate laying, it’s time to create the perfect nesting area for them. It’s best to provide a spot that’s sheltered from wind and rain. You can use something like hay, straw, or wood shavings as bedding material. It should also be in an area that is easily accessible so the chickens can get in and out with ease.
For added protection, you can also put a barrier of chicken wire around the nesting area to keep predators at bay. Make sure there are enough boxes for each of your hens so they have their own space while they lay their eggs. The nesting boxes should be 12-14 inches off the ground with enough room for all your hens to comfortably fit inside. Adding a few extra inches of height keeps them safe from wandering animals or kids who might accidentally step on them!
Feeding for Egg Production
Making sure your chickens have the right food is key if you want to get eggs. You’ll want to feed them a high-protein, pellet-based chicken feed. That way they are getting all the nutrients they need in one spot.
It’s also important to ensure that they have access to plenty of fresh water throughout the day. Not only will it help keep their feathers shiny and their bodies healthy, but it can also help promote egg production as well.
You might also want to check into feed additives like probiotics and electrolytes, which can help make sure your chickens are getting all the vitamins and minerals they need for good egg production. On top of that, make sure you’re giving them enough greens in their diet—feel free to add veggies from your garden, like lettuce or kale – or even fruit such as apples and strawberries – for some added nutrition!
What to Expect From Your Laying Hen
When your chicken reaches full maturity, you can begin to expect an average of one egg per day. Depending on the breed, eggs may be small in the beginning and then increase in size with each season. Of course, some breeds are known for laying larger eggs than others—so it’s a good idea to do your research on what breed is best for your needs!
If your chickens are getting along with each other and are happy with their environment, you can expect most of them to start laying if they are between 20 and 24 weeks old. This is when they reach full maturity. It’s also important to note that chickens don’t lay year-round, so when temperatures drop you can expect a decrease in egg production. Some people choose to supplement their chickens’ diet with store-bought vitamins during the cooler months to help boost egg production.
The average hen will lay an egg every day or two, but there will be variations. If you have a hen that’s not laying eggs, there are a few things you can do to encourage her to start laying eggs again.
If you’re getting a new chicken, you can expect her to start laying eggs within four to six months. However, if your chicken is older, she may not start laying eggs right away.
As a general rule, you can tell when your chicken is ready to begin laying eggs by looking at her tail. If her tail is pointing downward, she’s not ready to lay eggs yet. If her tail is pointing upward, she’s ready to start laying eggs.
Thanks for reading! We hope this article helped you.