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How Long Till Chickens Lay Eggs?

How Long Till Chickens Lay Eggs?

Do you have young chickens at home, eagerly waiting for those fresh eggs and wondering how long till chickens lay eggs?

Well, we have some good news!  In this article, we will talk about it all – how to raise chicken and signs to look out for when they are about to lay eggs.

As we look at chickens generally, it is best to remember that chickens are different, and you cannot rush them to grow.  The best thing is to be patient and enjoy your brood during each day.

How Long Before Chickens Lay Eggs
Baby Chicks May 2010- Sheri Ann Ric...
Baby Chicks May 2010- Sheri Ann Richerson ExperimentalHomesteader.com

Chickens can start laying eggs as early as 16 weeks old.  However, on average, young female chickens egg laying starts at 18 to 24 weeks, but they can take up to 8 months.

Some chickens may start laying eggs early from 16 weeks onward, while others take 28 to 32 weeks.  If you have reared chicken for a good amount of time, you will note there are some early overachievers along with a fair share of late bloomers.

How Long Before Chickens Lay Eggs

Chickens will start laying eggs mostly at 6 months old, but it solely depends on the breed. Breeds like Leghorns, Australorps, and Golden Comets will start laying in about 16-18 weeks.

Larger and heavier breeds like Plymouth Rocks, Wyandottes, and Orpingtons will start laying from 6 to 8 months.

However, if your chicken comes into maturity in the fall or winter, it might not begin laying until spring.

Signs That Show Your Chicken Is Ready To Start Laying Eggs Soon

Enlarged Red Combs And Wattles

As a chicken matures, its combs grow increasingly large. If this happens as early as under 8 weeks, it might signify that the chicken is a young rooster!

Young female chickens develop their combs and wattles more slowly than the roosters.  As her hormones shift, she starts to get ready for egg-laying.  Her face, combs and wattles change from light pink to a brighter red in colour.  Her comb and wattles also swell and grow larger.

She Starts To Explore The Nesting Area

As the changes happen in her body, she explores the nesting area days/weeks leading up to the first egg.  She starts to show more interest in the area you have prepared for laying than ever before.  She may sit inside as a way to test its comfort, even if she is not yet ready.

One great way to encourage her at this point is to provide a comfortable nesting area.  You can also add false eggs inside the nesting box to encourage laying at that exact spot.

Chickens tend to love laying eggs in a clutch where other eggs are.  You can use fake wood eggs or even golf balls.

She Can Start Getting Louder

Young female chickens that were once quiet will break into an egg song.  Besides the rooster crowing, chickens also sing, squawk, and do so for hours before and after eggs.  You will know your chicken is getting ready to lay when out of nowhere they become increasingly talkative.

They Get An Increase In Appetite

As your chicken gear up to lay eggs, her body undergoes numerous changes both outside and inside. Forming and laying eggs takes a lot of energy!  Therefore, these chickens begin to eat more than usual.

Laying hens require different nutritional needs compared to roosters or younger pullets. Younger birds eat starter and grower feeds that contain higher levels of protein to support their fast growth.

Layer birds’ feeds have lower protein levels, with extra calcium to help with eggshell formation. Therefore, it is important to gradually transition your chickens to layers feed once they reach 18 weeks old or lay their first egg. Also, provide a source of calcium like oyster shells or eggshells when they are ready to lay or as soon as they begin to lay.

She Will Get Into Squatting Behaviour

Unlike before, when she would be unwilling to squat, now she will start to squat more often even when you pet her. Do not get into the habit of cuddling her when you notice she is squatting a lot, as this can become irritating to her when she is trying to earn the egg-laying posture.

Her squatting behaviour signals that she is willing and ready to be mounted by a rooster to fertilize her coming eggs. It would be best if you have a rooster around to help you get fertilized eggs.

PENTAGADES Laying Chicken Nesting Boxes 3 Hole with Swing Perch Up to 12 Hen Wall Mount

Reasons Why Your Chicken Are Not Laying

Besides the young, immature chicken, there are other reasons why your chicken could not be laid. Here are some of the reasons why your chickens are not laying.

  • They are too young
  • They have grown too old past their laying time
  • Chickens do not lay during wintertime
  • They may be moulting feathers
  • Your hens could be broody
  • Your chickens could have internal parasites
  • Alternatively, they could be ill – illness in chicken causes a drop in laying eggs.
  • Your hens could be stressed
  • You are not feeding them with a proper diet

Time Of The Year And How Do Chickens Lay Eggs In Different Seasons

The majority of the young chickens will begin to lay eggs within the first year.  If you happen to get your chicks later in the year – either summer or fall, and they come into maturity during the cold days of winter or fall, you may have to wait until next spring to receive fresh eggs.

Even for mature eggs that are already laying, the reduced daylight hours during wintertime signals them to take a natural break from laying eggs.  They do this to conserve their energy and nutrients to brace themselves for the cold winter ahead.

Time Of The Year And How Do Chickens Lay Eggs In Different Seasons

During this non-laying season, you will notice their combs and wattles become smaller and pale again due to a change in their hormones.

However, it is common to find young chickens continue to lay eggs through their first winter. They will then take a break the following winter after that.

Read more about How to Keep Squirrels from Eating Tomatoes

Conclusion

The moment you have been waiting for is finally here as your chicken lays the first eggs. When chickens start laying their eggs, their first eggs are relatively smaller than what they will regularly.

Even with the long wait, you will have baskets full of beautiful large fresh eggs from your own chicken. Be sure to reward your chickens for their hard work too! You will get to see the rewards of your hard work.

FAQs

How long does it take for a chicken to lay its first egg?

The average age for a chicken to produce her first egg is about 21 weeks. A hen lays an egg once a week and the average hen will lay up to eight eggs in a lifetime.

How do I get my chickens to start laying eggs?

We have many answers for you, but it’s not always easy to put into words. When we first got our chickens they laid a lot of eggs. They were very happy and active.

We had them inside in a coop with a large run. They ate well and laid eggs regularly. But when the weather got colder and the sun went down, our girls stopped laying. We were very frustrated because we loved seeing our girls lay eggs. So we tried everything.

We moved them to the garage and they laid on the driveway. We put them inside and they laid on the concrete floor. We even tried putting them in a different house and they laid in that. I finally gave up and bought some chicks from a friend. That worked out really well and the girls were much happier.

They didn't lay eggs or anything, but they had plenty of space to move around. I think the key is just finding something they like to do. It's all about creating an environment that lets them be themselves. The best way to do this is to spend time with them.

How do I know my chickens are ready to lay eggs?

The best time to check your chickens for eggs is in the late afternoon, when it’s cooler and they will be less active. If you notice them scratching around their coop, you’re likely to find some eggs, but if they’re more interested in eating than laying, that doesn’t mean they won’t be laying soon.

Do chickens lay eggs in the winter?

Yes, they do. Most of them, anyway. Chickens are hardy creatures, and they have their own set of strategies to deal with cold weather. They will keep their egg-laying production up, but they will be slower to hatch eggs. Chickens are not the same as ducks, geese or turkeys, which are known to lay eggs year round.

How often do chicken lay eggs?

The number of eggs a hen will lay varies from one to three or four per day.

How much does a typical egg weigh?

A typical egg weighs between 50 and 60 grams, which makes each one weigh about 2.5 grams. An average egg weighs around 3.6 grams, but the weight depends on the breed of chicken.

How old do chickens live?

Chickens tend to live between 5 and 10 years.