When Do Chickens Start Laying Eggs?

Brown Hen Near White Egg on Nest

When do chickens start laying eggs? Chickens typically begin laying eggs at about 5 to 6 months of age, but this can vary depending on the breed.

Chickens’ egg-laying capacity is a crucial aspect of poultry farming and pet chicken care.

The age at which chickens start laying eggs is influenced by several factors, including breed, environmental conditions, and overall health.

Factors Influencing When Chickens Start Laying Eggs

  • Early Layers: Breeds like White Leghorns are known for starting to lay eggs earlier, around 4 to 5 months.
  • Later Layers: Larger breeds such as the Orpington and Wyandotte tend to start laying closer to 6 to 8 months.
  • Nutrition: Proper nutrition is critical for the development of laying hens. A diet deficient in calcium, proteins, and other nutrients can delay the onset of laying.
  • Light Exposure: Chickens are photoperiod sensitive, meaning they lay eggs based on the length of the day. Adequate daylight, typically around 14 to 16 hours, is necessary to stimulate egg production.
  • Health and Stress: The overall health of a chicken and the amount of stress it experiences can significantly affect when it starts laying eggs. Stressors include moving to a new environment, changes in flock composition, or poor living conditions.

The Egg-Laying Cycle

Hatching chick inside egg

The process of laying an egg starts in the hen’s ovary and can take about 24-26 hours from the formation of the yolk to the laying of the egg.

Frequency of Laying

  • Peak Production: Hens typically lay one egg per day at their peak.
  • Reduction Over Time: Egg production and frequency decrease as hens age, particularly after their first year.

Do Chickens Get Pregnant?

Chickens do not get pregnant. Instead, they lay eggs that may develop into chicks if fertilized by a rooster and properly incubated.

Incubation and Hatching

  • Incubation Period: Chicken eggs typically hatch after about 21 days of incubation.
  • Hatching Success: Factors that affect hatching include temperature, humidity, and turning frequency during incubation.

How to Support Your Laying Hens

  • Proper Diet: Feed laying hens a diet formulated for egg production, rich in calcium and essential nutrients.
  • Comfortable Housing: Provide a safe, comfortable environment with adequate space, nesting boxes, and minimal disturbances.
  • Health Management: Regular health checks and preventive measures for parasites and diseases help maintain the productivity and longevity of laying hens.


Chickens start laying eggs most commonly between the ages of 5 to 6 months, but this varies by breed and is influenced by factors such as diet, light exposure, and overall health.

By understanding these factors and providing optimal care, chicken owners can ensure a productive laying period and healthy life for their hens.