at what age does a hen lay her 1st egg

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by nicokl502, Jan 15, 2012.

  1. nicokl502

    nicokl502 Songster

    Nov 3, 2010
    Kansas City Mo
    i have some hens that are about 17-19 weeks old when should they lay there 1st egg???[​IMG]
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    They are very close. This depends on breed as some hybrids will begin at 18 weeks, while other, more heritage breeds wait until they are 24-28 weeks of age. However, the sunlight is not helpful this time of year and chickens are photo reactive. They sense in the retina how much light, how long the day is, and how high in the horizon the sun is. This causes signals to the brain, which signals the ovaries. You may have to wait until late February for more natural light.
  3. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Songster

    Nov 2, 2009
    North Texas
    It is extremely variable. I did not get my first egg till my girls were 8 months of age, and even still, only two out of four are laying yet. The shortened days mean prolonged egg wait. generally, the rule is 21 weeks I believe, but don't be suprised if you don't get eggs till spring when the days are longer. I believe I read on this forum that a chicken needs 26 hours of daylight to produce an egg once they are of laying age.
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member


    I think you meant 16 hours, but anyhow..... Fingers on keyboards are funny things. No, they don't need 16 hours. Just an INCREASE from the low on December 21. There is usually plenty of light in late February and most breeders are very, very busy in February and March when the hours of daylight are often just 11 or 12 hours, but since it has increased so greatly from the solstice and since the sun has risen in arc in the horizon, it usually kicks the layers into a pretty high gear.
  5. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Songster

    Nov 2, 2009
    North Texas

    No for really! Look!
  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

  7. So where can i go to get 26 hours of day light ?? [​IMG]
  8. colby318

    colby318 got 'dottes?

    Jul 14, 2008
    Stamping Ground, KY
    As posted above, it does depend on the breed. My birds are dual purpose, so they take around 7 months. I do have them on a timered light so they're on at least 14 hours light all year round. I find this helps "grow out" some of the younger birds. Does your pullet have a bright red comb? See if you can put 2 fingers between her pelvic bones. It's an indication of her body's growth. Is her vent moist? If it's dry and puckered, she might not be ready. I'm sure there will be a lot of people who will contradict me, but these 3 indicators have always worked for me.
    Good luck!
  9. Arielle

    Arielle Crowing

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    Age of first egg varies by breed; some breeds are selected for laying at an early age while others take their time. Time of year seems to matter. If they are of age when the daylight hours are low , they may wait until the daylegth increases.

    Oddly I have some marans that started laying just before Christmas. At 6 1/2 months old. No lights either. A few EE , a little older, started late in the fall and have now stopped. BOth are housed in the same coop.

    When the girls start checking out the nest box and squat when you pen them , their time is getting close. When they are laying, do take a moment and look at their vent. Laying vs non-laying vent is a quick check to know who is laying and who is not.
  10. tec27

    tec27 Songster

    May 6, 2011
    20-30 weeks of age. Since its winter now they may just wait till spring.

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