can anyone tell me when chickens start to lay?


8 Years
Aug 2, 2011
I have three girls that are 6 1/2 months old. I went to my local feed store and they told me they won't begin to lay until 1 year old. I am new to chickens, but every book I've read says otherwise. They also told me they won't lay this year at all becauseof the shortening of days. Told me not to expect any eggs til next spring. Is this crazy? Please advise. BTW I am in Springfield Mo. So I know it will be cool soon and I suppose that will affect laying also? Thanks!


Treat Dispenser No More
9 Years
Aug 20, 2010
I dont know of any breed that takes a whole year to start laying. The larger breeds often do take more than 6 months to start laying but I'd start to look for red combs and squatting pretty soon.

It does depend somewhat on breed. Production hens start laying around 4 months. My Orps start around 6-7 months. I have a Dark Cornish that is 5 months old and just started laying.

Edit: The cool doesn't affect laying but day length does. Most breeds don't lay well during the winter but some, like Orpingtons, lay just as well no matter day length.
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9 Years
Sep 27, 2010
a year? What kind of hens do you have? Mine started at 20 weeks, and just yesterday I got one from a Gold Comet, she is now 23 weeks...some times these stores have no idea...tell what you have, and post some pics if you can.

Its how many hours of daylight you get, not the temp...unless it is VERY hot like this past summer, that will stress them out and they won't lay as well


Free Ranging
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
Welcome to the forum neighbor!
Glad you joined us!

It is somewhat breed dependent, but when they start to lay is a very individual thing. I keep regular full sized backyard breeds. If I have 10 pullets in the summer, I normally see the first egg around 20 weeks. Most are usually laying by 27 weeks, but sometimes they can go a lot longer. In the summer, I'd expect you to already be getting some eggs, but maybe you just got all late starters. I've had hatches that were almost all male and some that were almost all female. What you get is just how the odds shake out for you this time.

The shortening of days can complicate it though. Commercial egg laying operations keep their pullets on short light until they have matured enough to lay a decent sized regular egg. I don't know when that is. They keep chickens specially bred to lay large eggs fairly early in life, so I'd guess it is around 20 to 22 weeks old, but I just don't know for sure. Then they increase the daylight to 14 hours a day and practically all of them start laying. With the days getting shorter like they are, yours could easily delay laying until the days start getting longer. I expect when they do start, they will lay some a lot of pretty nice eggs.

I find that my pullets that start to lay in late summer or early fall usually do not molt and do not quit laying that first winter. I do not use artificial light to extend the day and they still lay all winter. Hens a year old do molt and quit laying however.

One thing you could do to help get them started laying is to provide artificial light if you have electricity at the coop. It does not take much light. f you can barely read a newspaper in the coop at night with that light, it is enough, so a small wattage bulb is usually plenty. Put it on a timer so they get about 14 hours of light a day. They still need their dark down time, so do not leave it on all the time. You'll find some people provide that extra light in the morning, some provide it in the evening, and some split it, some morning and some evening. All work.

To say that they won't lay until they are a year old is usually just not right, but that they might not lay until the days get longer may have some justification.

Good luck and once again,


8 Years
Aug 2, 2011
My girls are 26 weeks old. I have a RIR (who has been doing some squatting) and 2 Easter eggers. I also just recently got 2 sexlinks they're about 6 weeks old ( to replace 3 recently lost from a raccoon). I love my girls, but I'm afraid my husband who isn't intto chickens like I am, will kick us all out if we donn't see eggs soon. lol.
Thanks for your help! Not very computer savvy, so pics will have to wait, till my sis comes over.


8 Years
Mar 15, 2011
Fort Worth, Tx
you should be getting eggs soon, never heard anyone say 1 yr to lay! This is my first time with chickens but I plan to provide a small amount of light in the morning for the shorter days. Light will come on at 5am and go off as soon as the sun comes up. Hope that keeps them laying for the winter, as I am providing eggs to 1 other family with only 6 chickens.

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