Seeing your chickens go from chicks to hens is heartwarming and fulfilling. When they start laying eggs, it’s a natural (and delicious) continuation of the care you’ve put into them.
Not only is it exciting to wait for your first egg, but it’s also a delicious experience you don’t want to miss out on. With backyard chickens, you can get fresh eggs in various colors – blue, green, brown – who knows! But one thing is for sure: contacting your fresh eggs from your own backyard chickens is an experience you won’t miss.
You’re excited to see what the eggs will look like and even more excited to taste the results of all your hard work in tending to your chicken. Surely these eggs will be the best-tasting eggs you’ve ever had!
What type of chicken lays eggs?
There are male chickens and female chickens. The males are called roosters, and the females are called hens. Hens are the ones that lay eggs. You don’t need a rooster for your hen to lay eggs, but you will need a rooster if you want those eggs to be fertilized.
If you want to get chicks from your hen’s eggs, you’ll need to put a rooster in with her. The rooster will then mate with the hen, and the eggs laid will be fertilized. These fertilized eggs can then be incubated; after about 21 days, you’ll have chicks!
At what age do chickens start laying eggs?
Chickens start to lay eggs, usually around 20–22 weeks old. This varies depending on their breed, but females are most likely going into come-into-lay around six months old (24 weeks). Some can start as early as 16 -18 weeks, while others may require 28 – 32 weeks.
Some chicken breeds may start laying eggs earlier or later than others. Chickens typically lay one egg daily, although this can also vary depending on the chicken’s age, breed, and health.
Which chicken breeds lay eggs the earliest?
The most common chicken breeds in the USA that lay eggs the earliest are Rhode Island Reds and Leghorns.
- Rhode Island Reds are an old-timey breed used to develop many of today’s brown egg layers. They’re a Dual Purpose chicken, which can be used for eggs and meat.
- Leghorns are a popular white egg layer. Originally from Italy, these active birds are well known for their high egg production. They’re also quite heat-tolerant, making them a good choice for hot climates.
- Golden Comets are another popular breed that lays eggs early on. This chicken was developed in the 1970s and is a cross between a Rhode Island Red and a white Leghorn. They’re known for being friendly, docile birds that make great backyard pets.
- Sex Links are another type of chicken known for laying eggs early on. These chickens are the result of crossing two different breeds – usually a Rhode Island Red and a white Plymouth Rock. The males and females can be easily distinguished by their feather color, with the males being much lighter than the females.
- Australorps are an Australian breed known for being friendly and having good egg layers. They come in both black and green varieties and lay dark brown eggs.
Other chicken breeds that lay eggs early include New Hampshire Reds and Delaware.
How do I know when my chickens are ready to lay eggs?
There are a few things you can look for when trying to determine if your chicken is ready to lay eggs.
Her body starts to get more rounded.
This is due to the development of the chicken’s reproductive system, and you’ll start to see the beginnings of her “hourglass” shape. She gets this shape from developing her ovaries and oviduct, which are responsible for producing and laying eggs.
Enlarged reddening combs and wattles
These are the fleshy bumps on a chicken’s head. They also indicate that laying is imminent when they become more extensive and redder. The combs and wattles will become more pronounced and redder as the chicken’s body prepares to lay eggs. This is due to an increase in blood flow to these areas.
Starts exploring the nesting box
A chicken will usually show interest in the nesting box around 18 weeks. This is when they’ll spend more time in the box and may even start rearranging things to their liking. They are concerned about their environment and want to ensure everything is suitable for when they lay their eggs.
She may start making more noise.
Chickens are usually pretty quiet animals, but they may start making more noise when they’re getting ready to lay eggs. This is because they’re feeling hormonal changes and increased levels of stress. They are signing to their flock that they are prepared to apply. It’s fun and cute because they can sing and squawk for hours before and after laying eggs.
Increase in appetite
A chicken’s body uses a lot of energy to produce eggs, so you may notice that she starts eating more around this time. Laying hens have different nutritional requirements than chickens that aren’t laying, so you may need to adjust your diet accordingly. Younger birds eat starter and grower food with high protein levels to help them develop properly. Once they start laying, you’ll need to switch them to a layer feed with less protein and more calcium. This is because laying hens need more calcium to produce strong eggshells.
The squat becomes submissive.
Among the other signs that a chicken will start laying eggs soon, squatting behavior is the most telling, in my opinion! As you walk by your young hen or reach out a hand to pet her, she may stop, squat, and put her wings out slightly to her sides. We lovingly call this “the submissive squat.” This is a sure sign that your hen is getting ready to lay her first egg and is often seen among hens who are about 6-8 months old. If you see your hen engaging in this behavior more frequently, an egg will likely appear within the next few days. So, keep an eye on your hen and enjoy the anticipation of waiting for her first egg!
How do I get my chickens to start laying eggs?
You can do a few things to help get your chickens started laying eggs.
- Food and water – Ensure they have a constant source of food and water because a healthy diet is vital for chickens to lay eggs. Why? Because chickens need a lot of energy to lay eggs, they get that energy from their food.
- Calcium – Chickens also need calcium to lay solid and healthy eggs. You can give them calcium by giving them crushed oyster shells or eggshells to peck at. You can also add a little bit of calcium to their water.
- Nesting boxes – Give your chickens a place to lay their eggs by providing them with nesting boxes. These can be anything from an empty cardboard box to a purpose-built chicken coop. Ensure the nesting boxes are clean, dry, and dark, so the chickens feel comfortable laying their eggs there.
- Privacy – Chickens like to lay their eggs privately, so ensure they have a place to do that. If you put the nesting boxes in a busy area, the chickens may not feel comfortable laying their eggs there and will hold onto them until they can find a more private spot.
- Patience – It takes a chicken about 26 hours to lay an egg, so be patient! Once they get started, they should lay an egg almost every day.
- Give them space – Chickens need plenty of space to roam and explore, so be sure to give them enough room to move around.
What to expect when your chicken lays its first egg?
It is usual for a chicken’s first egg to be smaller than her future eggs. The egg may also have a small blood spot on the shell, which is nothing to worry about. It is perfectly safe to eat.
Chickens typically lay one egg per day, but it is not uncommon for them to skip a day or two here and there.
Once she lays her first egg, she may not apply for a few days or even up to a week before her next one. This is normal and ok.
The first eggs may be odd-shaped, have too soft shells, or have double yolks. These are all normal and nothing to worry about. The chicken’s body is just getting used to laying eggs. After a few weeks, her eggs should be the same size and shape as they will be for the rest of her life.
The color of the eggshell can vary depending on the chicken’s breed. But, generally speaking, brown eggs have darker shells, while white eggs have lighter bullets. The egg’s color has no bearing on its quality or flavor.
When your chicken lays her first egg, it is an exciting moment! Be sure to give her plenty of love and praise. She will likely continue to lay eggs for the next 5-10 years, so enjoy the egg-cellenteggcellent ride!
What month do chickens lay the most eggs?
Chickens usually lay the most eggs in the spring and summer when the days are longer. This is because they need about 14 hours of daylight to produce eggs.
In the winter, when the days are shorter, chickens may lay fewer eggs. If you’re looking for many eggs, give your chickens plenty of light in the spring and summer.
Do chickens lay eggs every day?
No, chickens do not lay eggs every day. It takes a chicken about 26 hours to lay an egg, so they usually lay one egg daily or every other day.
However, some chickens may take a break from laying for a few days or weeks. This is normal and nothing to worry about.
Do all chickens lay eggs?
No, not all chickens lay eggs. Chickens used for meat production (called “broiler” chickens) are typically bred, so they don’t lay eggs. These chickens grow much faster than egg-laying chickens and are ready for slaughter at around 6-8 weeks old. If you’re looking for chickens that lay eggs, get egg-laying chickens from a hatchery or farm store.
When do chickens stop laying eggs?
Chickens typically lay eggs for about 2-3 years before slowing down. After that, they may only lay a few eggs per year.
Some chickens may stop laying eggs for a few years, but others may continue to lay eggs into their old age.
So, if you’re looking for chickens that lay many eggs, get young chickens from a hatchery or farm store.
Do chickens need a rooster to lay eggs?
No, chickens do not need a rooster to lay eggs. Chickens can lay eggs without a rooster present. However, if you want your chickens to hatch eggs, you will need a rooster because he is the only one who can fertilize the eggs.
Do all chickens lay brown eggs?
No, not all chickens lay brown eggs. Chickens that lay white eggs typically have white feathers and white earlobes.
Chickens that lay brown eggs typically have red feathers and red earlobes. However, some chickens lay blue or green eggs.
These chickens usually have black or dark-colored feathers and earlobes. So, if you’re looking for specific egg color, check the chicken’s feathers and earlobes.
What do I need to do to get my chickens to lay eggs?
You can do a few things to ensure your chickens lay eggs.
First, make sure they have plenty of light. Chickens need about 14 hours of daylight to produce eggs, so give them plenty of light in the spring and summer.
Second, provide them a clean, dry, and dark place to lay their eggs. These can be anything from an empty cardboard box to a purpose-built chicken coop. Ensure the nesting boxes are not in a busy area so the chickens feel comfortable laying their eggs there.
Finally, be patient! It takes a chicken about 26 hours to lay an egg, so it may not apply one daily. Just give them time, and they will start laying eggs soon enough.
What kinds of things can affect chicken egg production?
- Timing and seasonality – are the primary factors that affect chicken egg production. Chickens typically lay fewer eggs in the winter than in the summer.
- Daylight – also plays a role in chicken egg production. Chickens lay more eggs when there is more daylight.
- Age – as chickens age, they generally lay fewer eggs.
- Diet – a healthy diet is essential for maintaining good egg production. Chickens that are well-fed and have access to plenty of fresh water will lay more eggs than those that are not.
- Stress – can also affect chicken egg production. Chickens that are stressed from being overcrowded, having inadequate shelter, or being otherwise mistreated will lay fewer eggs than those that are not.
- Pecking order – chickens establish a social hierarchy, or “pecking order,” within the flock. The chickens at the top of the pecking order will have better access to food and other resources and, as a result, may lay more eggs than those at the bottom.
- Chickens lay eggs for about 2-3 years before slowing down. After that, they may only lay a few eggs per year.
- Some chickens may stop laying eggs after a few years, but others may continue to lay eggs into their old age.
- Be sure to get young chickens from a hatchery or farm store.
- No, chickens do not need a rooster to lay eggs – though he is the only one who can fertilize the eggs if you want them to hatch.
- Not all chickens lay brown eggs – white egg-laying chickens typically have white feathers and ear lobes, while those that lay brown eggs typically have red feathers and ear lobes.
- Providing them with plenty of light (14 hours/day) and giving them access to a clean, dry, dark place to nest in.
- Chickens establish a social hierarchy within the flock – the top-ranked chicken will usually have better access to food and resources, which leads to increased egg production.