How Long Do Chickens Lay Eggs (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 18 Weeks

Consistent egg production indicates that the hens are happy and healthy. Most hens lay their first egg around the age of 18 weeks and then lay nearly every day after that. High-producing, well-fed backyard hens can produce up to 250 eggs in their first year. Then, during the next few years, egg counts will naturally decline, with hens entering egg retirement around year six or seven.

Nothing compares to the first egg happy dance. You can move to a complete layer feed about 18 weeks of age and expect your first farm fresh egg. The egg-anticipation is over from then on, and practically every day brings a moment of celebration. But when it comes to laying eggs, how long do hens take?

How Long Do Chickens Lay Eggs?

YearTotal Eggs Laid
1st Year250 Eggs
2nd Year200 Eggs

Most laying hens reach their optimum productivity at around 30 weeks of age in their first year of life. The first eggs are likely to be smaller, but they will grow in size over time. Egg size will even out as your birds become older, and egg count will steadily decrease.

A hen will lay roughly 80% of the eggs she laid in her first year when she is about 2 years old. In ideal circumstances, if your hen lays 250 eggs in her first year, you can expect her to lay roughly 200 eggs in her second year.

You should expect to have slightly under 70% of the production of the first year when your hen is in her third year of laying, and around 60% of the first year’s production when she is in her fourth year of laying.

Another frequently asked question is, “How long do chickens live?” It’s crucial to keep in mind that hens can live for many years after they’ve stopped laying eggs.

Chickens will naturally start laying fewer eggs as they get older, with many hens slowing down production and retiring around the age of 6 or 7. Many laying chickens can live for several years after they retire, with an average lifespan of 8 to 10 years.

Why Do Chickens Take That Long To Lay Eggs?

Young female chickens begin laying eggs, or “come into lay,” around the age of six months. Some chickens begin laying eggs as early as 16 to 18 weeks of age, while others take longer, up to 28 weeks.

Some individuals use a lifetime average of 600 eggs as a guideline for estimating how long a bird will lay: They assume that if a breed is known to lay 150 eggs every year, it will lay for four years. They anticipate a two-year producing life if it produces 300 eggs per year.

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In reality, most birds’ second-year productivity will be 60-70 percent of their first-year output, then 40 percent in the third year, and as low as 10-20 percent in the fourth and following years.

One of the most common reasons for hens, including the greatest egg-laying breeds, to quit laying is when they grow older and near the end of their productive lives. This is subjective, as some birds stop producing after two or three years, while others may continue to produce a few eggs every week at the age of six or seven.

We’ve had some extra-early overachievers as well as our fair share of late bloomers over the years, but we’ve found that the most frequent age for our chickens to start laying eggs is about 20 to 22 weeks.

As previously said, it usually takes roughly 18 weeks. It’s because a hen can only lay an egg if she’s geared up for it. Because a hen’s body needs time to fully grow, she is usually ready to lay eggs after 18 months.

In addition to age, the breed of your hens will have an impact on when eggs begin to appear. Certain chicken breeds are known to lay eggs earlier than others, and each breed has its average egg development age range. Chickens that have been bred for egg production in the past are more likely to begin laying eggs sooner.

Conclusion

Finally, a chicken does not lay an egg every day. Most chicken breeds lay between 250 and 300 eggs every year. They’ll slow down or cease producing eggs during molting season, during the shorter days of winter, or if they’re broody, and even excessive heat, as well as stress, such as a predator lurking nearby, can affect egg production.

However, you can expect 5-7 eggs per week from your good layers during the spring and summer months. After a spring chick begins laying (usually between 18 and 28 weeks of age), she will lay well for the first year, laying all winter long without any additional light. So, if you were confused about for how long do chickens lay eggs, your doubt is cleared now.

References

  1. https://journals.asm.org/doi/abs/10.1128/aem.60.8.2958-2962.1994
  2. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jpsa/advpub/0/advpub_0140109/_article/-char/ja/
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0032579119450694
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