How do you know when a hen is ready to start laying eggs?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by McGoo, Oct 21, 2007.

  1. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    Are there signs that I should be looking for to know when my hens are ready to start laying? These are free range gals and I'm a little concerned because they are approx 5mos now (I purchased them 2 mos ago and the women said they were about 3 mos old) and nothing is in the coop yet. I've got two laying areas and I'm wondering if they're laying in the woods and I'm not seeing them.

    Their combs and waddles are growing, but I read about looking at the color of the comb. Is that an indicator that they're ready to start...or maybe have begun?

    Appreciate any insight here. This is a first for me.
  2. jkm

    jkm Songster

    Mar 28, 2007
    Forest Grove
    well mine just started laying, the senior girl started squatting in front of me and spreading her wings, asking for sex, she was first, now all are squatting and flipping wings wide,
    combs got really, really bright one week before the first egg...good luck
    lock them up!
    found mine laying in garden have spent painful week reducating
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2007
  3. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    I was reading and laughing about all of your eggs being laid all over the place. [​IMG] How old are your gals? also mine are all a mix - Aracauna/Americauna, RIR, and who knows what. Does that make a big difference?
  4. Half-a-dozen

    Half-a-dozen Songster

    May 26, 2007
    Mine also just started laying at 20 weeks and some there after. My son just ran in from the coop screaming one day there was an egg!!!
    So funny!!!
    I can't tell you though we saw it coming, we were just expecting it any day once they reached 20 weeks. I can However tell you I can see the signs that they are laying, which may help you figure out if they are laying in the woods or not.

    1. They are really loud!!! In the morning I guess they are taking turns going in to the boxes, OOHHH boy, what a comotion Baahhking and sqwaking so loudly- then we go in the coop and there are our eggs.

    2. They literally have there feathers in a ruffle!!!!
    The feathers or the poofy feathers on their rear (as my kids would call it) used to be nice and perfect now they are all poofed up and fluffy like they just came off the hair dryer!!!! I guess all that workin and pushin- LOL

    3. Third sign- the over-protective motherly instinct. They never pecked at us until they started to lay and if you go near where they might be laying, I bet they will run over and sqwalk at you in a panic!!! Mine seem to be very over-protective.

    someone once told me too that they loose their "glow" and become dull, but mine are still pretty vibrant. (maybe this comes over time)

    Hope that helps
    Good Luck
    P.S. I would lock some up for a day just to see if they are laying- ya never know. [​IMG]
  5. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    Based on what you're saying they aren't laying yet. They're not making a lot of noise, except Mr. Ed who's crowing a bit.

    I also called the women that I got them from and she's having the same thing. She's got about 80 and none are laying yet. They're all from a school program and so the date of hatching isn't really known.

    I expect them any day now, any day. [​IMG]

    And unfortunately I've only got a little coop so I can't really lock them up. We're building a bigger coop for winter and that'll be great. [​IMG]

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