Question: When do chickens start laying eggs?
Answer: Chickens lay as early as 16 weeks of age! The average hen starts to lay eggs at 18-24 weeks, but they can take up to 8 months to start laying. The breed of chicken determines when they start to lay, as well as the frequency & size of their eggs.
So you’ve purchased your bevy of beautiful girls, got them safely housed in a comfy and cosy coop and are eagerly awaiting your first clutch of glorious eggs.
- Day one - nothing as of yet.
- Day two - still no sign, but we haven’t lost faith jee-ust yet.
- Day three - ok, seriously- where are all my fresh eggs!?
Are my chicken’s sick? Should I demand a refund? Wait - when do chickens start laying eggs anyway?
Hen’s aren’t born laying eggs from day dot- they have to wait until their body is mature enough to produce these little shells of goodness.
Here’s an approximate guide as to when your hens will start laying- but keep in mind that it differs from hen to hen.
Generally speaking, ‘pullets’ (young hens), will reach ‘point of lay’ (age at which they lay their first egg), between their 16th and 24th week of age. In some cases and breeds, it can be more, or less.
There are a number of indicators you will be able to see in your hens when they’re getting ready to lay!
The squat - when you reach down to pat your feathered friends, they will squat onto the ground- this is a sign your hens are about to lay.
Wattles and combs - have a look at your hen’s head - are their wattle and comb looking a bit redder, and slightly more swollen in size? Then they’re probably about to lay an egg!
Fully grown - the hen’s feathers will look shiny and clean, and their body will have reached full growth.
Another more hands on way to check whether your hens are about to lay is to check whether their pelvis bones have separated, or are in the process of. You can do this by gently placing your hands on the hen’s rear, feeling around for three prominent bones. If the bones are still close together, then your hen is probably a few weeks off laying yet - the egg watch continues! If they’ve separated, then the wait is almost over- eep!
Your hens will lay eggs when their body is ready - trying to stimulate egg-laying early in a hen who’s not physiologically equipped will cause them damage. If you want fresh eggs relatively fast, make sure that you ask for ‘point-of-lay’ hens when you’re buying them - this means they should start laying sooner rather than later!
If your hen doesn’t have a safe private place to lay her produce, then egg-production will definitely slump or cease to exist. That’s why, if fresh eggs is the name of the game, you must have a coop with nesting boxes - otherwise you might be waiting for a while! All of our coops come fitted with enough nesting boxes to keep your flock laying egg-cellently.