When do chickens start laying eggs? (5 Signs to Watch for)

You’ve finally bought some spring chicks, and the anticipation of receiving your first fresh egg is almost too much to bear. We don’t blame you for being a little nervous! Fresh eggs from your home-cooked hens have the most decadent taste and are completely superior to grocery store eggs.

If you can’t stop wondering when your chickens will lay eggs, you’ll be happy to know that there are a few signs to look out for so you have a better idea of ​​when they will arrive. Every chicken is different, and even if you’re excited, it’s impossible to rush them. Be patient and enjoy watching your chickens mature so there is a deeper appreciation for them when that magical morning finally happens.chicken divider2

How old are chickens laying eggs?

Sometimes it feels like forever, but most young hens start laying eggs around 6 months of age. Of course, some ripen more quickly and start around four months old, while others take their sweet time and only start after 8 months of age. There’s nothing wrong with this timeline. Chances are, they’ll all start laying eggs sooner rather than later, and you’ll have so many eggs that you don’t know what to do with them all.

Do Some Breeds Lay Eggs Faster Than Others?

The age of the chicks is not the only factor that can affect how quickly your chicks start laying eggs. Some chicken breeds lay eggs faster than others and each breed has its own egg development schedule. Those raised solely for egg production often start at four months of age. Other breeds, such as Wyandottes or Orpingtons, take a little longer.

When do chickens lay eggs?

Young chicks usually lay eggs around their first year of life. However, if you don’t get chicks until late summer, this could delay their egg production, and they won’t start until early spring.

Less daylight from winter usually tells mature hens that it’s time to take a break from laying eggs so they can conserve their energy and nutrients during bad weather. However, young chicks may continue to lay eggs throughout the winter for the first time. After that, they might follow suit and skip the hard work the following winter.

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Chicken lays eggs in the nest

Preparing for Egg Laying

It is always better to be prepared and provide your chickens with a comfortable environment to lay their eggs in than to leave them laying on the ground. If you suspect your chickens will be laying eggs soon, start by cleaning their nest box and make sure there is plenty of hay for them to nest in. Keep the box off the floor of the cage and in a dark place. The more relaxed and calm they feel, the easier it will be for them to begin the process. Follow these tasks and don’t let the box or cage get too dirty. Your girls deserve a safe and clean place because they did a lot of the hard work for you.chicken divider2

5 Signs Chickens Will Lay Eggs

Are there any warning signs that your hens are finally starting the egg-laying process? Here are a few ways to know that your hens may be ready to provide you with a healthy supply of eggs:

1. Enlarged Combs and Wattles

chicken beak close up

The comb is the red, fleshy part of the chicken that sits above their head while the wattle hangs below their beak. Part of this bird because it gets bigger and red with age. If it occurs at a young age, it could indicate that your rooster is a rooster. Young females develop their combs and wattles slowly, and they change from bright pink to bright red as their hormones change. If this part of the chicken is swollen and red, it’s almost show time.


2. Your Chickens Start Exploring the Nesting Box

chicken in nesting box

Young chicks are not very interested in the nesting box. It’s only after they’ve grown up that they start testing out different boxes, sitting in them, and wandering around the area in general.

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Some chickens like to lay their eggs on the coop floor or hide them in the grass in the yard. To encourage them to lay eggs directly in the nesting box, place fake eggs in each nest. Many chickens prefer to lay eggs next to others. Fake wooden eggs and even golf balls make excellent props.


3. Chicken gets Harder

maran chicken

People thought the crowing of a rooster was a nuisance, but they had obviously never heard a rooster sing. Chickens tend to crow hours before they lay their eggs, so if it’s starting to get a little noisy at home, you likely have several females preparing to lay eggs.


4. Chickens Eat More

chicken eat seeds

Our bodies go through many changes, both inside and out, during pregnancy. Chickens are not much different from us. Growing and laying anything takes a lot of energy, and it makes you increase your appetite.

Adult hens are undergoing a major transformation and laying hens have very different nutritional requirements from young chicks on starter feeds. Layer feeds have left in the protein and added calcium to help shape the eggshells. Slowly transfer your young to this feed once they reach 18 weeks of age or whenever their first egg arrives.

Another way to help give your chickens extra nutrition is to add oyster shells or crushed eggshells to their diet.


5. They Assume Position

chicken_Peter Turner Photography, Shutterstock

One of the biggest indicators that your chickens will lay eggs is if they begin to engage in squatting behavior. If you slowly reach out to touch your rooster, he may stop and crouch with his wings beside him. If he does this, he signals that he is ready for the rooster to mount to fertilize the egg. Most people don’t have a rooster, so give him a good pat on the back and he’ll be on his way.chicken divider2

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What To Do When The First Egg Arrives

Do you remember how it felt when you walked out to find your first egg? Or are you still waiting for that magical moment to come? At some point, you will experience the excitement of finding your first egg in the coop. Don’t be too disappointed if the eggs are small. Young chickens have smaller eggs than mature chickens. It won’t be long before you have a basket full of beautiful, colorful eggs that you picked straight from your backyard.

Thanking your Chicken

Laying eggs is painstaking work and your hens deserve to be thanked for it. Giving them delicious and nutritious treats is one of the best ways to show that they are appreciated. Keep in mind that not all human diets are safe for chickens to eat, and their diet should consist of less than 10% of the diet.

Here are some of the chicken’s favorite things to snack on

  • bit
  • Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumber
  • Carrot
  • Pumpkin
  • cabbage
  • Swiss chard
  • Lavender
  • mint leaves

  • Basil

  • Parsley

  • Oatmeal

  • caterpillar eating

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Conclusion

We know it’s great fun to buy young chicks and wait for the arrival of the first eggs. While you want it to happen quickly, you can’t rush it. They know when it’s time to lay eggs, and they will signal you when something is about to happen. Even if they don’t show any major signs, continue to check their box daily and encourage them in any way you can.

  • Next on your reading list: How Long Can Chickens Go Without Food?

Featured Image Credit: Sidorov Ruslan, Shutterstock

When do chickens start laying eggs? (5 Signs to Watch for)
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