Buff Orp laying at 18 weeks! How to tell if it's just one?


5 Years
Jun 13, 2014
Eastern Mass
Hello everyone, I was walking in my driveway Sunday and looked at my lilies. I saw three eggs under them in a nest! So I asked my chicken friends what to do (my ladies free range from sun up to sun down) to make sure they started to lay in the nest boxes. She suggested locking them in the coop and run until one laid, then let them out. So Monday I did just that. OMG they were not happy being locked up and squawked at me for hours! Around 12:30 I checked and one was in the box. Checked again 15 mins later and I had an egg! So I let them out. Repeated process today. One in box, egg at 9:45 am, so I then let them out after. HOW do I know if it's just the one hen laying? I have six buff orpingtons. I hate keeping them cooped up for an entire day, but I also don't want any making nests in the woods. Is this my only choice? It's been in the 90's here and will be for the next three days. I'm so hoping for a day of pouring rain so I can just leave them in without feeling guilty......
Last edited:


Jul 7, 2016
Some hens lay two eggs when they first start laying. If you start getting constant two eggs a day, it is likely more than one hen laying.


Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I would strongly suggest you keep them confined for most of the day until they start laying regularly in the coop nests.
Not all birds lay first thing in the morning, especially when they first start laying.
Do you have a run too? That would help.
Hopefully your coop is of good size for the number of birds you have and is well ventilated and/or shaded against the summer heat.

Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop for 3-4 days can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop 24/7 for a few days to a week, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.

To figure out which bird(s) are laying best to check vents and pelvic points.
Signs of onset of lay---I've found the pelvic points to be the most accurate.
If you touch their back they will hunker down on the ground, then shake their tail feathers when they get back up.
This shows they are sexually mature and egg laying is close at hand.

Combs and Wattles:
Plump, shiny red - usually means laying.
Shriveled, dryish looking and pale - usually means not laying.
Tho I have found that the combs and wattles can look full and red one minute then pale back out the next due to exertion or excitement, can drive ya nuts when waiting for a pullet to lay!

Dry, tight, and smaller - usually not laying.
Moist, wide, and larger - usually laying

Pelvic Points 2 bony points(pelvic bones) on either side of vent:
Less than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means not laying.
More than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means laying.

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