how long before hens lay first egg

Squating is a sign.

Anytime in the next few weeks....

I did not see squating until after the laying started. Also the first real sign I saw was the comb/wattles turning really red and then it was a few weeks.
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It can be any where from 16 weeks to 30 weeks. With it starting to get dark alittle earlier chickens are not laying as well. Since they just now are 20 weeks old if you want eggs this year you need to put them on lights. Chickens require between 12 and 14 hours of daylight(something like that). Sorry I cant be more helpful, but chickens have their own time frame when it comes to beginning laying. are in the same area as I am. How long do you put lights on for now? In the morning or evening? Mine have started laying but I am wondering about lights here in Arkanas...
Thanks for the info guess im just eager to see the first eggs is 3 roos enough for 21 hens guess I need to install lights thinking I will put them on timers I have heard this can be done with quail to get them to lay eggs year round
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In regards to 3 roos with 21 hens, in my opinion it depends on how the roos are getting along and if you have enough space for them to roam. My ratio is 1 to 12. I had three roos at one time, but they were all raised from chicks together and did just fine. However, you don't need a roo at all for eggs. As for the timers, you can calculate based on sunrise/sunset (see link below) to determine how long you need to set the timer. I'm in Illinois and I currently have one the provides two hours of light to give them 14 and kicks on at sunset. I use one 75 watt florecent bulb that uses only 15 watts and is cool to the touch. If you want, you can use a programmable timer that can split the determined time between the morning before sunrise and evening after sunset. Have fun!!!
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I always put lights on in the evenings. Since it starts getting light out earlier this time of year. I usually leave them on til about 10 at night. Hope this helps.
Since it starts getting light out earlier this time of year

????? it's fall days are getting shorter on both ends unless located south of the equator then it's really spring anyway.

My take is, lights on in the morning is best, if lights on a timer suddenly go out in evening they often can't make it to the roost.

Also having lights come on at 4:00am gives fresh eggs for collection by breakfast.​
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?Clay Valley Farmer:
That is a good idea about having the lights on early. This is our first season and need to figure this one out.
What do you do when the days get real short come winter? Do you then leave the lights on into the evening? Double timer so they come on early then off in the day and on again in the afternoon evening?
Just went and looked at the sunrise/sunset calander online. It says it gets light here at 720am and dark at 639pm. That is a little late in the morning and a little early at night for what I have noticed.

However, my one rooster starts crowing still at much for light.

I am thinking that I might start putting a timer on the light in the coop to come on at 0630 at least. Get them up an stirring!

Right now mine are laying from first thing in the morning through the middle of the afternoon. If the rooster gets loud someone has laid an egg!

(there is a night light on a pole on the other side of the open barn by their coop....they may be getting light from that too)

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