Chickens getting ready to lay.

By alexa009 · Jun 4, 2017 · ·
  1. alexa009
    If you have pullets, you are wondering when they should start laying, but how do you know they are ready to lay or already are laying. If you think your pullets are close to laying you have to look for these clues.

    1: Red face with big comb and wattles.
    You should be able to tell when your chickens are getting ready to lay their first egg because their comb will start growing really fast and their comb, face and wattles will be a bright red. Here is the difference with a chicken that is ready to lay and a chicken that isn't.

    Not ready.

    Is ready or already laying.

    2: when you enter the coop or try picking up your chicken she will squat submissively. Here is a pic that you should be familiar with.
    Pic above by @WVduckchick.

    3: She will go in and out of the nesting boxes and may try to drive the hens away if she is feeling protective.

    4: Since it is her first time laying she may get a lot louder before she begins.
    chicken (1).jpg

    5: After she gets used to the process things will go more smoothly and less irritable.

    6: It may seem like eternity but soon there will be an egg in the coop.


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Recent User Reviews

  1. Aunt Angus
    "Helpful Pics"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Dec 23, 2018
    Thank you for this article - reflector the pics that allow for comparison. I am anxiously awaiting eggs from my almost 20 week old pullets, and after reading your article, I realized my girls' combs are not nearly as red and ready as I thought they might be. :)
    alexa009 likes this.
  2. ClucksAndCombs
    "Cute chooks and cute article"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Dec 22, 2018
    I very much enjoyed this article. Very informative. My 2018 pullets started laying months ago, but... I still looked at this anyways. Good work!
    alexa009 likes this.


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  1. Kota Mitera
    I thought that I may have a couple of pullets that are not "golden comets." not that it matters but Buffy (undeveloped comb, not laying yet) does not look like a Comet or Cinnamon Queen, nor does my favorite girl, Mrs. Brown. She stood out from the rest from the beginning, larger than the rest, aloof (yet no one picks on her) and majestic in the way she moves. I thought of a queen, then I thought about QV and her nickname, Mrs. Brown so ...however I think she may be ISA brown. Oh well, they are all beautiful and I love them.
      alexa009 likes this.
  2. AnotherMeOhMy
    What if your hen is a mixed breed that is part Faverolle and her comb will remain small amd light?
      alexa009 likes this.
    1. alexa009
      She may have a small comb but there will definitely be a difference in comb size as she matures. Her comb also shouldn't be pale if she is laying eggs.
  3. AnotherMeOhMy
    What if your hen is a mixed breed that is part Faverolle and her comb will remain small and light?
    She also has no wattles and is 18 weeks old
  4. Kota Mitera
    My last girl is roughly 26-27 weeks. Her comb is growing but is still small compared to her wattles. She does squat when I approach, so I am thinking any day now. The odd thing is that my girls are Golden Comets, known for laying early. I bought my 12 girls on October 20 when they were 18 weeks. I didn't get an egg for a month. Now I get 10 eggs consistently and 11 yesterday. I am going to donate the extra eggs to the food bank and the church food pantry. My family all together can't use 7 dozen eggs a week. Anywho, I think I am going to ride out and get some hay for the run, I feel a snow coming.
      alexa009 likes this.
    1. alexa009
      Lack of daylight hours can be a factor of delayed maturity. It may also be genetics. Golden Comets are notourious for high egg production. You might be donating eggs to the food bank for quite a while. ;)
  5. Aliamelody
      alexa009 likes this.
    1. alexa009
      They will eventually increase in size. Pretty!
  6. Aliamelody
      alexa009 likes this.
  7. Aliamelody
  8. TwoCrows
    This pretty much covers it! :)
  9. GMarie65
    I always check my hens pelvis area as well. If they are not ready to lay the pelvic bones will be closed or close to each other. If they are ready to lay the pelvic bones will be wide apart and you can fit 2-3 fingers between them. I go by the combs and wattles as well but if one looks ready and still not laying I will check the pelvic bones area and see how far separated they are. :)
  10. Nessa's girls
    My girls have started laying at least 4 of the 6. My first girl that stared laying finally,I thought regularly. She laid maybe 6 or so days in a row. But now she's. Not laid one 2 days in a row. Do I need to be worrying? Gosh I can't wait till everything is "normal".
  11. rkelly01
    My chickens are 17 weeks old. One of them keeps laying down almost on her side while the others are roaming. I though she was I'll or dying but when I approached her she jumped up and went back to her normal disposition. Could this be a sign that she's getting close to laying?
      alexa009 and black_dove2 like this.
    1. ViolinPlayer123
      Mine usually do that to cool off or something. It's a chicken thang...
      Debutante and black_dove2 like this.
    2. MontanaChickDoc
      Mine do that when they are sunning themselves. Sometimes they will stretch out one leg and/ or one wing all weird too. I thought mine had been attacked too!!
      alexa009 likes this.
  12. featherhead007
    i really didn't raise my fluffy friends to be egg producers, but... in the caption picture you see is my barred rock as a chick, a lovely friendly, docile bird who now lays 1 egg every day! GMO free and i can feel the difference in my body having fresh wholesome eggs in my diet! Her twin sister does the same, as does my, "well Gods", 2 Rhode Island Reds..Brown eggs. And! 2 Brown Leghorns 1 is laying white eggs, and the other is not, but i'm hopeful.
    I have 2 easter eggers as well ---- canna canna never lets me down.
    imagine that? BLUE mr spock said on star trek,-- Fascinating
      sassysarah and black_dove2 like this.
  13. blairctchickens
    Rooster's will also help to identify when the time the pullets are about to lay an eggs. My Roo really pays special attention to the girls that are about to lay for the first time. As well the others older girls as well LOL.! But when one that has not been on the rooster radar and then all the sudden there is love in the air, then the first egg is not that far behind.
    1. black_dove2
      Lol love in the air, I had a mental picture of the love boat filled with chickens instead of people
  14. ViolinPlayer123
    It would've been nice, if there were ages on the photos, and if you had taken photos over a course of time. That's just my 2 cents, but overall a good article.
  15. tav1
    Were starting to get eggs....yesterday was the first but there still small....4.5 months old...3 R/R.....and 1 white silkie....she hasn't laid yet.....all the same age.
  16. Freisian
    Really helpful, thank you, still patiently waiting.....
      black_dove2 likes this.
  17. Nekatlla
    Just a quick question about picture number 2, my two hens that are now laying both do this, my friend has hens that have been laying for almost a year they do not do this and actually never stay close enough to touch at all. Will my chickens always do this or will they eventually stop being that submissive?
    1. GMarie65
      Check their pelvic separation I posted how I check if my hens look ready but are not laying. Pick up your hen turn her on her back and with 2 fingers feel for her pelvic bones if they are tight together or just separating then she is still getting ready if you can fit 2 to 3 fingers between them then she is ready. There is a youtube channel that shows you how to check this way. hope this helps a little
    2. WVduckchick
      @Nekatlla, do you mean pic #3, the hen squatting? Mine continue to do it for a few months, once the roosters start taking care of them "regularly", they don't do it for humans so much.
  18. Bhapimama
    Thank you! Very helpful article
    I have four hens (2 EEs, a Barred Rock and a Gold Laced Wyandotte) One of the EEs started laying last week and I think she's gotten the hang of it now. She's made a pretty little blueish green egg every morning for the last four mornings. My Barred Rock has been showing all the signs in your article and so far she has laid 3 shell-less eggs. Should I be concerned? They are still on crumble - I bought feed about a week before the first one started laying. I asked the person who helped for advice and she said one more bag of crumble and then move onto the layers pellets.
    1. featherhead007
      barred rocks are beautiful shown in my pic also so friendly and great egg layers i have 2 and just so beautiful
      Bhapimama likes this.
  19. mommahen1990
    My chickens just recent started to lay and I know the first few eggs we have gotten so far are called fart eggs. My question is when can we start eating the eggs?
      black_dove2 likes this.
    1. featherhead007
      first egg is as good as the last one! be not afraid
      Madmagic and alexa009 like this.
  20. Debutante
    We have 24 hens of various breeds who are all about 13 weeks old. In our chicken coop we've closed up the nest boxes to prevent them from getting dirty, with the intention of opening them up when it's time for the girls to begin laying. When would be a good time to open the nest boxes? Will the hens need some time to familiarize themselves with the boxes in advance of actually "needing" them? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
      alexa009, Bhapimama, Wildcow7 and 2 others like this.
    1. Bhapimama
      I was having the same problem with my boxes. The girls would all snuggle in a pile in them instead of sleeping on the roost. I've been blocking them off a little bit before the sun goes down and then opening them up in the morn when I let the girls out. That has worked to keep the boxes clean. My girls are 19 weeks now, 2 have started laying and both are using the boxes
      alexa009 and black_dove2 like this.
  21. emkawa
    Thank you! Very helpful!
      alexa009 likes this.
  22. Abriana
    what kind of chicken is that in the fourth picture? She is beautiful.
    1. Castyn Shupe
      It is a brahma Chicken
      Abriana likes this.
    2. TheGolden
      Actually, it might be a Buff Orpington, it very well could be a brahma, but it looks like a BO to me.
      andreanar likes this.
    3. TheGolden
      Sorry! It is a brahma! I looked at the wrong photo. I looked at photo #6, sorry!
  23. GilligansGirls
    Thank you!
    Ours are getting about that age and we have been wondering how we might know. Now we at least have an idea. And the pictures are a great help! :thumbsup
      black_dove2, apryl29 and Abriana like this.
  24. Cheep-cheep
    I have four hens and it looks as though two of the hens are laying in the same nest will they both look after them ? Or will one take over ?
      black_dove2 likes this.
    1. Abriana
      Often, the hens will have a "favorite" nesting box. They will all want to lay in it, but only the higher pecking order ones will get to all the time. Two laying in one nesting box does not always mean they are going broody. If they are broody and you want to hatch chicks, it is best to give them each a box with their own eggs. To tell if they are broody, pick them up and turn them over. Their chests will be bare if they are broody. These are called brood patches, they help incubate the eggs.
  25. Bonniebooboo
    Love the pictures, love the article. :goodpost::thumbsup
      black_dove2 likes this.
  26. black_dove2
    As a new hen owner I have read all I could and asked about laying behavior.

    Your article made it so easy to understand along with the photos as visual aids without having to sit through 10 minutes plus of a hen cackling in a utube video.

    Thank you you!
      Urchickchic, Debutante and chuchummm like this.
  27. Chickenlover2017
    Great job this really help this is actually my first round of chickens and one of them has been doing all the thing you list up there YAY I am super exited this is super helpful!
      chuchummm likes this.
  28. mike harrington
    Mines just started to lay 2 weeks ago. I'm assuming since its their 1st time the eggs are smaller and will gradually get bigger right ?
      black_dove2 likes this.
    1. Chicken_Guru
      Correct, or so I've heard, mine are only 9.5 weeks old :p
  29. Abriana
    @Dayrel, no, the cockerels don't squat. Sounds like hen to me too.
      black_dove2 and Dayrel like this.
  30. AlaskaEE
    Is the growth of the comb/wattle an absolute for a pullet to begin laying? I have a red sexlink, specific age unknown, who is squatting, has gotten loud and chatty, checking out the nest boxes and shows interest in the golf ball "eggs", is really red in the face and earlobes, but her comb is tiny and black-grey/cream colored and she has no wattles at all. This morning I found a broken egg under her as she was perching. It could definitely have been laid by another hen, but they're pretty good about laying in the nest boxes. Could it have been hers?

    She is the dark red girl.
  31. Dayrel
    My trio of pullets are just getting to this phase. Thanks for helping me understand what to expect. I have one that is two weeks older than the other two and her comb/wattles are significantly larger than the others. I was wondering if she was a cockerel, but she's also displaying the squatting behavior, so I feel better that things are on track.
      alexa009 likes this.
    1. Abriana
      If you post a picture I can probably help identify if it is a he or a she. Or @sassysarah has a thread where you post pictures of pullets and cockerels and she can help you identify them.
      alexa009 likes this.
    2. Dayrel
      Thanks for the offer, but I'm feeling better about it now. I'm pretty sure the difference is strictly due to age. Just a chicken newbie learning curve. I noticed that one of the other two's comb/wattles is growing as well, so it is just a phase. Cockerels don't exhibit the squatting behavior, do they?
      alexa009 likes this.
    3. Celista
      Same situation here. I have one noisy RIR who has much larger wattles and comb. I posted a pic and was told "cockerel", but then she started squatting and now she's laying.
      alexa009 likes this.
  32. Abriana
    Great straightforward article, thanks @alexa009!
      alexa009 likes this.
  33. RainForestBird
    My silky cross hen does not seem like she will every lay. She has a small grey comb and waddles. All the other hens that hatched at the same time have been laying all summer. She's a pretty hen, with a head like a normal (not silky) chicken and feathers like a silky. Grey legs.
  34. Gail Laubenthal
    Is there a chart that gives the approximate weeks old certain breeds are when they begin laying? I know that my Golden Comets/Red Sex Links are early layers...18 weeks. Thanks for the simple explanations with the pictures...very helpful.
  35. chickybaby1213
    Great Job !!!!!!!!
      sassysarah and The Angry Hen like this.
  36. alexa009
    Thank you!
      sassysarah and The Angry Hen like this.
  37. Whittni
    Good job.
      sassysarah and The Angry Hen like this.
  38. sassysarah
    Great job!
      The Angry Hen likes this.

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