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When Do Chickens Start Laying Eggs and How To Help Them Start

Myrna Kauffman - December 18, 2023

So, you’ve committed the time and money to raise chickens. Yet, you haven’t seen any results or are anxiously awaiting the day you’ll see those juicy fresh eggs. So when do chickens start laying eggs? This is a question that most new backyard chicken owners have. The anticipation of seeing your money’s return, and gaining from it. But another aspect that most chicken owners and breeders overlook is patience. You don’t have to rush your hens for eggs. You might have to wait a while before you truly start reaping the rewards of owning chickens, especially if you recently brought them home. 

Time is a crucial factor in egg production simply because chickens are not born with the ability to lay eggs. If you’re wondering when do chickens start laying eggs, and how you can encourage them to lay eggs, here is a quick guide filled with tips and tricks that you can follow! 

when do chickens start laying eggs happy hens

Healthy Chickens

First and foremost, you need to know that chicken health and happiness are the best ways to encourage egg-laying. It’s a pretty simple concept; just like any other species, having a healthy lifestyle equates to happiness which in turn makes your body function the way it should. As a new owner of chickens or as a veteran, you should know the better your chickens’ quality of life, the faster they start producing eggs.

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When Do Chickens Start Laying Eggs?

A chicken typically starts laying eggs around 18 weeks. But it is important to understand that time is a crucial factor. A hen will not produce eggs until she feels ready. This question is also variable based on how you are getting your chickens. If you are buying them outright, then ask the seller about age and breed. If you’re going the other route and breeding your chickens, you can educate yourself more about your hen’s breed and see what the standard is for them. A newborn will not be able to produce eggs; for most breeds, 18 weeks to 6 months is a close range of when your hens can start laying eggs.

when do chickens start laying eggs chicken laying eggs

What Can Affect Egg Production?

Timing and Season

Egg production in chickens is influenced by many different factors. When do chickens start laying eggs based on the timing of the season? While some breeds can produce eggs year-round, others stop for certain times of the year. December and wintertime, in general, is a period when most birds will stop laying eggs. This is because cold months are not the best time for raising chickens. A hen’s body recognizes this and stops egg production. Molting, the process of shedding old feathers, also reduces egg-laying. Instead of the body focusing on producing eggs, it focuses on growing new feathers. This process usually takes a month or two. 

Chicken Pecking Order

When do chickens start laying eggs based on flock dynamics? As you probably know, chickens follow a pecking order in a flock. No matter the size of your flock, there will always be a queen who overlooks the flock (if you don’t have a rooster in your flock). If you interfere with their flock dynamics by adding or removing chickens, this will throw your flock’s cycle out of order. So be careful when you decide to adjust your flock.

when do chickens start laying eggs flock of chickens

How Do We Have Eggs During Wintertime?

When do chickens start laying eggs in the wintertime? You might wonder how eggs aren’t a seasonal item if hens don’t produce eggs during the winter. The reason is because of a trick that farmers use. These commercial farmers use lights to ensure egg production continues throughout the winter. Short day length is how a hen’s endocrine system tells the body to stop laying eggs. Using artificial lights “extend’ day length and trick hens into laying through dark months. 

Chicken Breeds

When do chickens start laying eggs when you have different breeds in your flock? Consider your chicken breeds very carefully when buying your backyard chickens. In terms of chicken egg production, the breed is one of the most important factors. As a general rule of thumb, heavier breeds like Plymouth Rocks, Wyandottes, and Orpingtons tend to lay a bit later than the smaller breeds like Austrolorps and Leghorns. This is an average scale and it can vary from flock to flock. Even if your whole flock is only Leghorns, this does not mean they will all start laying eggs simultaneously.

How To Raise Healthy Chickens 

As we said earlier in this article, providing your chickens with a healthy lifestyle and setting them up for success is the best way to encourage them to lay eggs. Any stress or illness will delay egg production and put their cycle out of whack. The best way to combat disease amongst your flock is to keep a coop. Using safe, sanitary, and clean methods in your coop will drastically reduce the chance of disease. You should also check that you are buying your chickens from a reputable seller so you can make sure that you’re getting trustworthy products. 

Amish-Built Chicken Coops

When do chickens start laying eggs in a chicken coop? Are you a new owner of backyard chickens and need to take that extra step to care for your chickens? Let the Hen House Collection help you in your endeavors and create a custom chicken coop or chicken coop and run that’ll meet your needs. We’ve been building handcrafted, Amish-built, quality chicken coops for over a decade and have honed our skills and expertise in this field. We want to give your chickens a safe and relaxing environment that they can thrive in so you can get the most out of your flock! Interested? Contact us today or find a dealer near you to get started!

7x20 Chicken Coop with Run

Chicken Coop Temperatures 

When do chickens start laying eggs at different temperatures? If you notice that hens aren’t laying eggs, especially if they’ve laid eggs before, check that your coop temperature is not too low. If you’ve already factored out broodiness and molting, the temperature might be the problem with your chickens not laying eggs. Ensure your coop is securely sealed, and patch up large gaps caused by rotting wood. Other fixes include adding extra bedding to your coop nesting boxes and venting the top of your coop. Although most chickens will be fine without heating their coops, it can be an issue. Controlling the temperature of your coop can lead to a higher likelihood of egg-laying. 

Chicken Nutrition 

When do chickens start laying eggs with different diets? A big aspect of owning a flock of chickens is making sure they are being fed well. Poor nutrition hurts every animal, so the same rule goes for chickens who are beginning to lay eggs. Make sure the feed you use is well-balanced and is high in nutrition. Most commercial feeds are good enough for your chickens but still pay attention to the protein, vitamins, and minerals they are getting. 

when do chickens start laying eggs chicken in dirt

Enjoy Your Experience 

So now that you know the answer to the question of when chickens start laying eggs, you are ready to start your journey! Owning chickens can seem daunting at first, but once you’ve set yourself and your chickens up for good habits, it’s a straightforward responsibility. Your chickens will give you love, and you return that by taking care of them. Your chickens will start laying eggs, so try not to stress yourself out and enjoy the ride! If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to us at 800-490-3163

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