When Will My Chicken Start Laying Eggs?
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When Will My Chicken Start Laying Eggs?

When will my hen start to lay eggs? At what age to chickens start laying eggs? Why wont my hen lay an egg? What things do chickens need in order to lay eggs? How to get a hen to lay eggs? Do laying hens need special food? What are the lighting requirements for chickens who are laying eggs? How to get a hen to lay an egg.

If you are just new to keeping chickens, and have acquired some new hens you are probably eagerly awaiting their first eggs. While some breeds of chickens lay more eggs than others the rules about when they lay are generally the same.

Some other articles you might be interested in are Why Won't My Chicken Eggs Hatch, and How Chicken Eggs are Formed, but for now let us look at when hens start laying eggs.

Hens do not need roosters in order to lay their eggs. In fact having a rooster, or not having a rooster makes absolutely no difference as to when a hen will start laying.

For the most part hens start laying around five months of age, but not always. It is not uncommon for somebody to buy young birds in the summer and then wonder why, in the fall, they are not laying. In fact there is nothing wrong with the birds themselves, it is the season itself that is the problem. Hens need light to stimulate their pituitary gland.

The further north of the equator, or the further south, as fall approaches, the hours of daylight dwindle. As such the hens do not receive as much light as they need, and laying slows in the fall, or does not even occur in younger birds. To get your birds to lay eggs in the fall it is important to have artificial light added to allow for 15 to 16 hours of light.

Condition of the hen is also important. If her diet is poor she will not lay. Hens should be fed a proper laying ration. They need to be given this in the mornings, most people simply keep the feeder as full as they can. Hens can have chicken scratch and other treats later in the day. If these treats are given too early in the day the hen will eat the treats and not her proper laying ration. Hens should also be given calcium, most producers do this by offering crushed oyster shell.

A hen in good laying condition will have a full comb and large wattles, both will be red in color, showing good health. This is a good tip to keep in mind when buying mature birds.

©by author, bantam Cochin family

Other Needs of Laying Hens

Hens also should have a proper nesting area. There should be one nesting box for every 3 birds (assuming this is not a battery hen type situation). The nesting boxes should be lined with straw. You can even put a plastic Easter egg, or golf ball in the nest to give your hens the idea. Sometimes hens actually are laying but the eggs are left in strange places, not the nesting box.

The first eggs are often small, and sometimes contain no yolk.

Sometimes chickens lay eggs and eat them. This is uncommon but if you find bits of shell (they may even eat the shell) this might be a concern.

Hens do need time to moult, they should not be forced to lay year round, at some point you need to decrease their light so they can have a rest. Some breeds will still lay year long, but not as much in the winter.

Laying does decline after a birds second year.

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Comments (5)

You have answered many chicken questions I had with your well done article.Thank you.

Ranked #10 in Birds

Hens laying eggs without rooster and hatching them for chicks. Can modern incubators create life and make human life more mechanic? thank you

Well written. I didn't know that location and light affected laying. Great article.

Ranked #2 in Birds

I should note to paulose - the hens lay eggs with or without a rooster, but they require a rooster in order to have fertile eggs with a chick inside.

Well written with interesting information about this topic. Voted up!