Tuesday, January 28, 2014

When will my chicken start laying eggs?

When do chickens start laying?
It depends on the breed. If you get a layer cross from a hatchery (a chicken specifically bred for laying eggs), she can start laying at 16 weeks. Some of the Asiatic breeds of chickens don't start laying until 32 weeks or more.

How do you tell if a hen is laying?
One good sign is their comb and wattles are bright red. 

A better way to tell is tuck her under your arm. Make sure her head is aimed behind you, and that you're holding onto her legs. Reach underneath her body and check the pubic bones under the feathers. 

If you can only put one finger between them she’s not laying, two fingers she might be starting or stopping. Three fingers–she’s laying.

One bad egg:
For the most part, if you're collecting eggs and find an egg out of the nest, the hen has rolled it out because somehow she knows there's not a live chick in the egg. That usually happens with the older hens who have set before. I've never heard why they do this.

As always, post questions in the comment section.