When will your hen start laying eggs? This is a question that many first-time chicken owners have. The answer, of course, depends on the individual hen and her age. But there are several factors you can look at to get an idea of when you might expect your first eggs. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of those factors and signs so you can be prepared!
One of the most important factors in determining when a hen will start laying eggs is her age. Most hens will reach maturity and begin laying eggs between 18 and 24 weeks old. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Some breeds (like bantam chickens) mature faster and can start laying as early as 16 weeks old. Other breeds (like giant chickens) take longer to mature and may not start laying until they’re 26 weeks old or older.
If you’re not sure how old your hen is, you can ask the breeder or farm where you got her. If you’ve had her for awhile and don’t know her exact age, a good rule of thumb is to subtract six weeks from the date you got her. So, if you got your hen in May, she was probably born in March and will reach maturity around September.
NUTRITION AND CARE
Another important factor in determining when your hen will start laying eggs is the nutrition and care she’s receiving. A hen needs a balanced diet to support egg production, and she also needs plenty of clean water. A hen that isn’t getting enough food or water is less likely to lay eggs than a hen that is well-nourished.
If you’re not sure whether your hen is getting the nutrition she needs, you can ask your veterinarian or a poultry specialist. They can help you assess your hen’s diet and make sure she’s getting everything she needs to lay eggs.
Another sign that your hen is getting ready to lay eggs is the development of her COMB and WATTLES. These are the fleshy growths on a chicken’s head that are used to regulate body temperature. As a hen’s body prepares for egg production, her COMB and WATTLES will become larger and more pronounced. So if you notice your hen’s COMB and WATTLES getting bigger, it’s a good sign that eggs are on the way!
One of the most obvious signs that your hen is getting ready to lay eggs is that she will start SQUATTING. This is a natural instinctive behavior for hens and is their way of indicating that they are ready to lay. If you see your hen squatting down low to the ground, it’s a good sign that eggs are on the way!
SIGNS YOUR HEN IS READY TO LAY
There are several signs that a hen is getting close to laying her first egg:
She starts spending more time alone:
A hen that is about to lay her first egg will start spending more time alone. She may separate herself from the flock and spend most of her time in a nest box or other quiet area.
She stops laying down:
A hen that is getting ready to lay will stop lying down as much. This is because she is preparing her body for the energy expenditure of egg production.
She stops eating as much:
A hen that is getting ready to lay will stop eating as much food. This is because her body is redirecting energy to egg production.
Her abdomen swells:
A hen’s abdomen will swell slightly just before she lays her first egg. This is due to the development of the egg inside her body.
If you notice any of these signs in your hen, it’s a good indication that she’s getting ready to lay her first egg!
These are just a few of the signs and factors you can look at to determine when your hen will start laying eggs. Of course, every chicken is different so it’s impossible to say for sure when you’ll get your first egg. But if you keep an eye out for these signs, you’ll be prepared when the time comes! Thanks for reading and good luck with your chickens!