chicken in grassy field

When Do Chickens Start Laying Eggs?

Now that you’ve set up your chicken coop and purchased a beautiful new flock of chicks, you are probably looking forward to one of the most exciting aspects — the first egg!

While every chicken is different, there are a few factors that play a role in when your chickens start laying eggs.

How Old Are Chickens When They Start Laying Eggs?

A hen needs to be physically mature enough before she can start laying eggs. Usually, a hen will start laying eggs or “come to lay” when she is about six months old.  Some chickens can start much younger — even as young as 16-18 weeks-old. Other chickens could be well over six months old before they begin laying.

When your hens start laying eggs, you can expect the first ones to be small and even irregular. For example, some might either have no yolks or a soft shell. As your hen matures, you can expect more regular, stronger eggs.

Does Breed Influence When Hens Start Laying Eggs?

Some chickens have been bred to lay eggs sooner! These breeds include:

  • Golden Comets
  • Rhode Island Reds
  • Leghorns
  • Australorps

Since these chickens were bred for egg production, you can expect them to start laying eggs when they are anywhere from 17-18 weeks-old. Meanwhile, Plymouth Rock and Wyandotte chickens take much longer — even up to eight months — before they lay their first egg!

Seasons Affect How Often Chickens Lay Eggs

No matter how old they are (or the breed), the time of year can also affect when your chickens lay eggs. Even if your chicken reaches maturity during the fall or winter months, the lack of daylight could impact how long it is before the chicken lays eggs. It might take until the next spring before it has favorable enough conditions to begin laying eggs.

How to Know When a Chicken Is About to Lay Eggs?

Your hen’s physical appearance and behavior will begin to change as she gets ready to lay eggs. Signs to watch for include:

  • Enlarging and reddening combs and/or wattles
  • More squawking
  • Increasing interest and time spent in her nesting box area
  • Driving other hens away from her nesting area
  • Spending more time around the rooster
  • Performing a submissive squat and putting her wings out to the side
  • Eating more feed

Keep Your Growing Chicks Healthy With Nature’s Best Organic Feeds!

To ensure your developing chicks have the right nutrition to start laying eggs, check out Nature’s Best Organic Feeds from Kreamer Feed. All of our organic, non-medicated and Non-GMO Project Verified poultry feeds are formulated by nutrition experts. You can trust that your flock will receive a balanced diet that supports their growth and development with feeds such as Nature’s Best Organic Egg Layer Pellets.

Use our store locator tool to find Nature’s Best Organic Feeds in a store near you!