When Do Chickens Lay Their First Egg?

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A Chicken stands next to a nest box - ready to lay it's first egg

When will the long-awaited milestone finally arrive - the moment your chickens lay their very first egg??? After meticulously selecting your favorite chicken breeds for sale and eagerly anticipating the arrival of your chicks at the local post office, you devotedly placed them in a thoughtfully prepared brooder, Watching over them with care, feeding, and showering them with affection. Now, as these endearing little pullets begin to flourish, your anticipation grows! 

Egg Laying - A Crucial Milestone for Chickens

Egg laying represents a crucial developmental milestone for chickens, unfolding in distinct stages. After hatching and passing through the chick stage, young chickens advance into juveniles. This phase is characterized by developing reproductive systems, even though they aren't quite ready to lay eggs. Transitioning from juvenile to pullet, a young female chicken, and then laying their first egg typically starts between 4 to 6 months of age. This timeline hinges on factors such as breed, diet, and the environment in which they're raised. 

Egg Laying Factors for Chickens

Several factors contribute to the timing of egg laying. Breed plays a role, as smaller breeds tend to mature faster than larger ones. Lighting, both natural and artificial, can also influence egg production. Increasing daylight hours can expedite the onset of egg laying. Nutrition is paramount—offering a balanced diet rich in vital nutrients bolsters healthy development and the eventual initiation of egg laying. Moreover, an environment free from stressors is essential. Elevated stress levels can postpone the onset of egg laying.

Signs your Chicken is Close to Laying their First Egg

Certain signs indicate your pullets are nearly ready to lay their first egg.

  1. Watch for changes in comb and wattle size and coloration; the closer to laying the redder the comb and wattles will get.
  2. They will show the characteristic squatting behavior when approached.
  3. Pullet interest in nesting boxes or secluded spots is also an indication your chickens will start laying eggs soon.
  4. Increased vocal noises - they are practicing their egg song!

Chicken Breeds that lay the soonest:

Certain chicken breeds stand out for their swift journey to egg-laying maturity. The breeds listed below tend to be early bloomers in this regard, often starting to lay eggs around four to six months old. 

Chicken Breeds that Take the Longest to Start Laying

Certain heritage and larger breeds tend to take a bit more time before gracing you with their first eggs. These breeds might start laying around 7 to 8 months of age or even longer. Their leisurely pace towards egg production is often balanced by their other admirable qualities, like gentle personalities and impressive sizes. So, if you're in for the long game and value the unique characteristics of these breeds, their eventual contribution to your egg basket will be well worth the wait!

So when do chickens start laying eggs?

The first egg is a memorable achievement in this journey. While many breeds produce their first eggs around 6 months old other hens can take up to a year to lay their first eggs. When chickens start laying their first egg might not be perfect in form or size, but it symbolizes the growth of your chickens. Over time, egg production becomes more consistent as pullets embrace their newfound role as layers.

Are you prepared for your first eggs? Make sure you stock up on all the necessary egg supplies and prepare your nest boxes

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