what is normal when hens start to lay

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Dustoff79, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. Dustoff79

    Dustoff79 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Antonio, Texas
    I have 4 EE, 4 Ancona, 5 red star, 5 Single Comb Brown Leghorns and 4 buff orpingtons. about 5 days ago, found our first brown egg in one of the nest boxes(I belive it is from one of the red stars) that afternoon found another egg (soft shell) in the same box. next day no eggs, next day one brown in a different nest box, yesterday two brown eggs. all eggs relatively small. all hens are about 19 weeks old. As I understand it, the eggs will/may be smaller, shell-less, etc.. until their system becomes used to laying. My question is: when hens begin to lay, is it common that the egg laying is initially sporatic or once they start to lay do they lay every 22-26 hours? Yes they free range, and I have been walking all over their range to see if they are laying someplace else, but as I am getting eggs in the nest boxes I am assuming the hens that lay there will continue to lay in the same place.
  2. jlmann

    jlmann Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 3, 2009
    It is common in my flock for the chickens to lay sporadically at first- it takes them a couple of weeks to get into the "egg a day" laying. Also , when mine are about to stop laying they kind of taper off the same way. You have switched to layer feed right? Feeding layer feed and oyster shell will help with the soft eggs. Good luck!
  3. Sunshine Chick 1

    Sunshine Chick 1 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 12, 2009
    Longwood, Florida
    I was told 4-6 months they start laying. My question is do they always lay in the mornings? I was also told that layers can lay up to 3 times a day. Is that true? When should I be checking for eggs once my hens are old enough?
  4. jlmann

    jlmann Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 3, 2009
    Chickens lay at different times although some people will say mornings only. Their laying time averages somewhere between 22 and 26 hours for 1 egg. It all depends on individual birds. I have had a RIR hen that sometimes laid 2 eggs a day- 1 in the morning 1 a lot later in the day. In my opinion 3 a day would be very uncommon ( I have never heard this) if not impossible. Two a day though is feasible(though rare) especially with production hens although 1 a day is probably what you should expect,with the occasional day when they don't lay.Hope this makes sense! By the way, the BYC forum is a great resource if you are new to chickens and you can search past threads if you need to. Good luck!

    Oh sorry! I always check for eggs twice a day- once very early when I go to feed them and once late in the evening when I shut their coop for the night.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2009
  5. warren

    warren Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 29, 2007
    They may lay anywhere they think is safe and comfortable, Dustoff. It's worth looking around just in case.
    Sunshine, They should lay only once per day, but it could be morning or afternoon. If you look at the size of a hen and the size of an egg, it must be quite a strain on the body to make and lay even one egg per day. It's like giving birth to a baby every day!
  6. AboutSixPounds

    AboutSixPounds Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 9, 2009
    Northern Piedmont, NC
    My three pullets started laying between 24 and 37 weeks. The barred rock was the earliest, and my Easter eggers first laid at 30 and 37 weeks.

    They begin each laying cycle first thing in the morning, then lay one egg every 25-27 hours until they lay at around 4:30pm. Then they take the next day off and start first thing the day after that. In summer, when the days are longer, they might lay a bit later into the day.

    The barred rock is an egg-laying machine compared to the EEs. She lays up to 9 days in a row before taking a day off; the EEs are lucky to lay 4 days in a row.

    Watch for them to squat when you reach down to pet them. That's a good sign that they're close to point of lay.

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