When will they lay?

if I buy 16 week old hens when can I expect them to start laying?

The short answer is, when they are ready. The onset of production *generally* falls somewhere around 18-28 weeks - some breeds are slow to mature and may take considerably longer than that. What breeds are you thinking of purchasing?
Around 6 months old is when they start laying. My first batch was in April they layed in October. My 2nd batch I got in October and just started laying in April.
If they are dual purpose breeds etc. (barred rocks, orpingtons) they should lay between 20-26 weeks if they have been raised well. Red Sex Links and other production birds sometimes lay as early as 18 weeks. I am waiting on a batch of RSL and hope they will lay soon after I get them. Had a batch from Moyer's some years ago. Got them at 17 weeks and started getting pullet eggs a week later. Again it depends on how they were raised up to the 16 weeks & how you treat them after you get them. I would feed them mostly chicken feed (not a lot of treats) until you see eggs.

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