How Do I Know if My Chickens Are Going to Start Laying Soon?

Devyn Nagy

Chirping
Jun 2, 2020
98
229
81
Ionia, MI
Hi everyone! I'm wondering If I'll be able to tell when my chickens will start laying. I understand that it can take 20 - 28 weeks before they start, but is there any indication of it? A change in behavior, eating habits, noise-making ect.? Tell me what you think.
 

drinkoj

Chicken Chaser
Premium Feather Member
May 24, 2020
592
1,192
196
Upstate South Carolina
Wattles and comb are huge flopping over sideways and bright red, when you place your hand on their backside the squat, they do a egg song (lots of cluck clucking), and finally they lay an egg :) You really just have to wait and find an egg, it's torture but worth it when you get your first one.
 

ChickenCanoe

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Nov 23, 2010
32,158
25,778
997
St. Louis, MO
I haven't had a hen squat in over 10 years and they continue to lay well.
Squatting is a desire to mate, not that laying is imminent.
 

Whigru

Chirping
May 7, 2020
195
209
73
Minnesota
Butt check is the way to go (previous poster shared a link)! I’ve used this pretty accurately for 2 of my 4 birds, and am doing it every couple of days for the 2 not yet laying. It’s a good way to gauge if anything is happening down there, along with comb/wattle development and redness. I have a Wyandotte that is 34 weeks and her comb has been red for a while but her pelvis tells me that eggs are still a ways off :barnie but I also have a 25 week EE that is getting close, based on the widening of her pelvis. The other two of mine, I could tell within a few days before they started laying.
 

Devyn Nagy

Chirping
Jun 2, 2020
98
229
81
Ionia, MI
Butt check is the way to go (previous poster shared a link)! I’ve used this pretty accurately for 2 of my 4 birds, and am doing it every couple of days for the 2 not yet laying. It’s a good way to gauge if anything is happening down there, along with comb/wattle development and redness. I have a Wyandotte that is 34 weeks and her comb has been red for a while but her pelvis tells me that eggs are still a ways off :barnie but I also have a 25 week EE that is getting close, based on the widening of her pelvis. The other two of mine, I could tell within a few days before they started laying.
I have Wyandottes! So that means it could be a long time yet, as mine are only about 22 weeks old. :he I introduced layer feed at 19 weeks, maybe it was a bit early? Anyway, I'll have to try feeling the pelvic bones every once and a while.
 

rosemarythyme

Crossing the Road
Jul 3, 2016
12,619
23,562
792
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
Squatting actually works great for me as my most accurate indicator... well enough that I can give a date range for the first egg and be pretty much on the money. So far I'm 3 for 3 this year - and my prediction for pullet #4 is is the week of Nov 8-14, likely the earlier part of the week. So I've actually never tried measuring pelvic points.

Difference for me I think is that I really actively encourage them to squat for me. That's a lot of hand hovering over the backs of growing pullets and hens post-winter-solstice. Downside is trying to walk without accidentally punting a bird as they randomly squat as I come through.
 
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