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Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Skate Fairy, Feb 5, 2014.
When do chickens lay their 1st egg?
thank you bye
Depending on the breed 20 - 26 weeks, Sue
When do chickens lay their first egg? When they do. I’ve had pullets lay at 16 weeks. I’ve had some start at 9 months. It’s really hard to say.
Heredity plays a part. Usually if the parents come from flocks that lay early, the pullets will lay early rather than late. That doesn’t always work though. Most of the daughters of the ones that started at 9 months started in the early 20 week age range. Some breeds do have general tendencies, but that’s just an average. Different individuals within a breed can vary a whole lot. Even different flocks of the same breed but that have been separated for a few generations by heredity can have different tendencies. Nothing is set in stone.
Time of year can play a part. Chickens tend to start laying more when the days are getting longer than when the days are getting shorter. That doesn’t always work though. Pullets hatched in the spring tend to start laying in the fall when the days are getting shorter, but pullets hatched later may wait until the following spring when days are getting longer. That doesn’t always work either. The ones that started at 9 months for me started in early December, when the days were about as short as they get and still getting shorter.
Diet can play a part. Pullets raised on higher protein diets tend to start a little earlier than those that eat a lower protein diet. I’ll mention that the commercial producers start their pullets off on a high protein diet to give them a good start in life but later in their adolescence they switch to a lower protein diet to give their body a chance to mature some before they start to lay. Their goal is not to start a pullet laying as soon as she possibly can. They want a pullet that has matured enough when she starts to be able to continue laying for a while. They also control when they actually start by manipulating the lights. They have it down to a science using those specially bred hybrid layers.
My experience with dual purpose pullets I’ve gotten in the spring from a couple of different hatcheries has been that, say you have 10 pullets (enough so averages mean something) you will probably have one or maybe two laying by 20 weeks. By 23 weeks maybe half are laying. By 27 weeks is usually when the last one starts to lay.
But like I said, I’ve had some start at 16 weeks, some at 9 months. They lay when they lay.
Where are my manners? Welcome to the forum! Glad you joined us!
Hi! I have found that production breeds such as leghorns or RIR's will lay earliest. In my coop my marans are first to lay- at right around 5 months old, my silkies usually start laying around 6 months old, and for some reason- my Ameraucanas tend to take closer to 6 1/2-7 months. We show our chickens, and as I have been breeding more show quality stock into my coop- it seems to take them longer to lay.
Our SS Hamburgs are going to be 24 weeks next Monday and have not started to lay yet. We have 13 pullets and they all seem to be on their own timetable. I don't know how they compare to other breeds as far as when they typically start to lay, but they are slowly starting to show signs that they are getting ready.