at what age does a hen lay her 1st egg

nicokl502

Songster
9 Years
Nov 3, 2010
237
1
101
Kansas City Mo
i have some hens that are about 17-19 weeks old when should they lay there 1st egg???
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Fred's Hens

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
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.
 

kari_dawn

Songster
10 Years
Nov 2, 2009
2,402
76
246
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.
 

Fred's Hens

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
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.

lau.gif


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.
 

kari_dawn

Songster
10 Years
Nov 2, 2009
2,402
76
246
North Texas
lau.gif


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.


No for really! Look! https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/423873/what-time-of-day-is-normal-egg-laying-time
 

colby318

got 'dottes?
11 Years
Jul 14, 2008
1,079
24
171
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!
 

Arielle

Crowing
8 Years
Feb 19, 2011
16,722
639
411
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.
 

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