When do chickens lay?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by SKYLINE, Aug 4, 2019.


    SKYLINE Songster

    (This might have been asked before and if so my bad I just couldn't find it on the search page.)
    I have 4 hens.. 2 Buff orpingtons & 2 RIR. They are 5 months old specifically 26 weeks. I haven't received a single egg from them. They have proper space and they free range about 3-4 days a week. I'm kinda curious because I keep seeing posts about first egg and the chicks are like 18 years old. I don't know if I'm over reacting or not but my fiance keeps making fun of the girls! But on a serious note i'm a tad worried everything I've read says they should be laying now. Why are they holding out?
  2. sealer39

    sealer39 Songster

    Aug 3, 2013
    Pineville, Louisiana
    Could they be laying somewhere besides the nesting boxes? Chickens can get pretty sneaky when laying.

    SKYLINE Songster

    I check there coop daily, They like to chill in there run under the coop even if they are free roaming they come back there. I haven't spotted one, unless its buried or something.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    analyticalblonde and coach723 like this.

    SKYLINE Songster

    Right now there eating a mixture or layer feed/grower feed and a ton of veggies and bugs.
  6. so lucky

    so lucky Crowing

    Jan 31, 2011
    SE Missouri
    Just prior to beginning to lay, maybe as much as a couple of weeks prior, the girls will show some signs: spending time in the nest boxes, comb and wattles getting redder, squatting instead of running when you approach them. Are any of them doing any of these things?
    Also, my girls have usually let me know when they lay during the day, or are on their way to laying an egg by singing their egg song, generally making a big racket. Other girls join in. So it would be difficult for them to lay an egg in secret. Probably not all girls do this, but I had a noisy bunch back then.
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    How long have they been on layer?
    What is the protein percentage of each and at what ratio are you mixing it?
    'A ton of veggies' may not be the greatest idea as it can dilute the nutrition of the feed when they most need to to grow and mature.
    Shezadandy and analyticalblonde like this.

    SKYLINE Songster

    @so lucky Well there combs are growing and getting a little more color but they don’t squad when I get near they still run to me. They woke me up last week one of them were screaming randomly and I thought that was it but nothing.

    @aart I will hold back on veggies but the grower feed is 18% and the layer feed I’ll check when I’m home.
    Brennket likes this.
  9. Gray Farms

    Gray Farms Conserve Heritage Breed Livestock

    Apr 11, 2016
    NW Missouri
    Long and short of it is that they will when they want to. There is nothing you can do to speed it up. Just be patient.
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Unfortunately there is no set age when a specific pullet will start to lay. There is no specific time of year either. I've had 16 week old pullets start, I've had some wait until 9 months. Two of those 9 monthers started the first week of December when days are shortest and all that. They broke every rule there is which shows here are no rules.

    Another issue is that you have to have enough for averages to mean much. You only have four, which is not a lot. With four pullets 26 weeks old of those breeds I'm kind of surprised you haven't seen an egg yet but you may have the bad luck to have some late bloomers. It happens.

    They can be really good at hiding a nest. If they only free range 3 to 4 days a week it is probably not out there but in the coop/run if they are hiding a nest. It might be worth a good search.

    If you look at their vent you may be able to tell if one or more is laying or is real close to laying. If the vent is dry and tight they are not laying now nor probably within the next few days. If the vent is soft and moist they are laying or will be real soon. The difference is really obvious when you see it.

    Never be afraid of asking a question on here, even if it has been asked many times before. The search feature on here isn't real strong. This site would dry up if questions were limited to only new questions. Besides, the ones asked before are often the easiest ones to answer. So ask away.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: