You can pick the hen up and feel between the 2 bones of their bottom. If 3 fingers will fit between the bones they should be laying. If only 2 fingers fit between the bones then the hen will usually start to lay eggs within 3-6 weeks. Your chickens should start to lay eggs between the ages of 5 and 8 months. If you do not see any eggs by 8 months of age there are several things that you can check.
- Nutrition: They should be eating egg pellets or crumble at this age because it has all the nutrients they need. You can also give them a handful of scratch each day as a treat and for exercise. Do not give them corn. The feed has all the corn they need and does not have enough nutritional value on its own to keep the chickens healthy.
- Illness: Check your chickens for lightweight, paleness, worms, and lice or mite infestation.
- Activity and food: Your hens must have food and water all day for them to produce eggs. They also need to have fresh air and sunlight every day. Some people put a light in the coop during the colder months. If you do this do not leave it on all night because it will stress the birds out which can lead to picking and illness.
- Coop and nest: Your hens will be happier if you provide them with dry ground, a windbreak, and a place to roost at night. They like to have their nests in darker areas. Hens also do better when they are not overcrowded. On average they need 2-3 sq. ft. per bird.
- Rooster: If you have too many roosters your hens will be stressed out. We recommend no more than 1 rooster for every 10-15 hens.
- Predators: Animals can be very sneaky and some leave no signs. Your hens can also be a predator. If they start eating their eggs it is almost impossible to break them of it. You can use a ceramic egg to test them if you suspect they are eating their eggs. If you find a hen that is for sure eating eggs you may want to consider getting rid of her because she will teach the other hens to eat the eggs as well.