When do Chickens Start Laying Eggs? A Guide to Backyard Egg Production 

when do chickens start laying eggs?

When Do Chickens Start Laying Eggs?

You’ve purchased your chicks, made a coop and give your feathered friends the best care possible. Now, when do your chickens start laying eggs? That seems like a reasonable question. Afterall, chances are you might have purchased these beautiful birds for more than just companionship.  

So, When Do Chickens Start Laying Eggs? 

Chickens typically start laying eggs when they reach maturity, which is influenced by factors such as breed, environment, nutrition and daylight length. Most chicken breeds begin laying eggs between 4 and 6 months of age, although this can vary. 

Generally, lighter breeds of chickens tend to start laying eggs earlier than heavier breeds. For example, some smaller breeds like Leghorns may start laying eggs as early as 4 to 5 months old. Larger breeds like Orpingtons may take 6 to 7 months or longer to begin laying. 

Factors Impacting Egg Production 

Length of Days 

When do chickens start laying eggs? When it’s bright outside. The amount of daylight plays a significant role in egg production. As the days become longer (typically in the spring), chickens are stimulated to lay more eggs. This is why egg production tends to increase during the spring and summer months and decrease during the fall and winter. 

Light helps keep your hens laying, and they need at least 12 hours a day. However, 14-16 hours of light a day is optimal. Especially in the shorter days of late fall and winter, you will want to add artificial light to your coop to help stimulate egg production. 

Keep the light consistent. If it is on a timer or if you are turning it on and off manually, it needs to come on at the same time every day. Be sure the light doesn’t create too much heat that can cause a fire hazard or make your flock too uncomfortable. 


Healthy eggs come from healthy chickens and one way to ensure that your chickens lay high-quality, nutritional eggs is to provide your flock with good nutrition. It’s essential to provide young chickens with a balanced diet rich in protein, vitamins and minerals to support their growth and egg production.  

That’s where a nutritional supplement like Backyard Boost® Daily Essentials is ideal to give your hens. Backyard Boost Daily Essentials is a pelleted protein supplement for poultry designed to maximize digestibility and egg production. Daily Essentials contains AO-Biotics® Amaferm®, a prebiotic research-proven to enhance digestibility. Furthermore, it contains AO-Biotics® EQE, a postbiotic research-proven to enhance egg quality and provides nutrients needed for overall well-being. 

You can include this supplement in your flock’s feed each day or scatter it about the yard to have your chickens peck it to help increase their overall health, leading to naturally improved eggshell and yolk quality. 


When do chickens start laying eggs? When they’re comfortable. Ensuring that chickens have access to clean water, appropriate housing, and nesting boxes can encourage them to lay eggs in a comfortable and secure environment. 

Provide clean, well-ventilated housing that protects chickens from predators, weather extremes and diseases. Ensure adequate space per bird to prevent overcrowding, which can lead to stress and reduced egg production. 

Be sure to install nesting boxes filled with clean, soft bedding material such as straw or wood shavings. Each nesting box should be dark, secluded, and spacious enough to accommodate nesting hens comfortably. 

Preparing for When Chickens Start Laying Eggs 

You’ve got your hens on good nutrition, are providing water and got them a safe coop.  Now, if you’re wondering “when do chickens start laying eggs?” we’ve got an even more important question for you. When should you prepare for your chickens laying eggs? 

The answer is immediately. Here’s how: 

Prepare a Nesting Box 

When do chickens start laying eggs? When they’ve got a place to lay them. Although nesting boxes are not necessary, they provide a secure, clean place for your chickens to lay eggs. Chickens like that. 

Nesting boxes are just what they sound like, open-front boxes that allow the birds a secure place to nest and leave their egg. You don’t need a box for every chicken, and industry standards call for one box for every 4 to 5 chickens. Nesting boxes should be about 12-inches cubed. If they are much bigger, more than one chicken might try to get in at a time, causing stress to the chickens or broken eggs. 

How To Make Them

Nesting boxes can be hand made with wood, or a variety of pre-made nesting boxes are available for purchase that are plastic or metal. The key is to be sure to have a roof, a front with a lip to keep the bedding material inside and to have it placed at a good height.  

Where to Build Them

Your nesting boxes should be placed slightly off the ground but should not be higher than your roosts. Chickens like to be high when they sleep and will go to the highest structure in the coop to sleep. If the boxes are higher than their roosts, they might start sleeping in the boxes, something you should avoid.  

If possible, try to keep your nesting boxes away from the coop entrance, so your chickens can get their feet cleaned off before entering the box to help keep it clean. Keep the box bedded down with dry materials like pine shavings, shredded newspaper, straw, pine needles or dried leaves.  

The Basics

The roof of the box should deter any chicken from pooping in the box, but you should still check for cleanliness and clean each box as needed. If an egg breaks in the box, clean it immediately to prevent chickens from breaking and eating other eggs that have been laid.  

Old-time farmers used to drape burlap sacks over the front of their nesting boxes to provide extra darkness and a sense of security to the hens that were laying eggs. The burlap bags also helped provide warmth in the colder months. Today, some people put curtains up on their boxes. This is totally a personal preference. 

Overall, while chickens generally start laying eggs around 4 to 6 months of age, individual birds may vary in their timing based on genetics and environmental factors Chickens typically start laying eggs when they reach maturity, which is influenced by factors such as breed, environment, nutrition, and daylight length. 

Minimize Stress  

When do chickens start laying eggs? When they feel safe. Minimize stressors such as overcrowding, sudden changes in environment, or disturbances from predators or other animals. Stress can negatively impact egg production and overall bird health. 

There are several factors that lead to stress. Ensure that your coop provides enough space for each bird to move around comfortably and establish their territory. Laying hens need 3-4 feet per hen within the coop at 10 feet outside the run.  

Another way to be sure chickens maintain a schedule once they start laying eggs is to maintain a consistent routine. Chickens thrive on routine. Stick to a regular schedule for feeding, watering and egg collection. Minimize sudden changes in their environment or daily routine whenever possible.  

And just like they enjoy a routine, they dislike disruption. So, limit any unnecessary disturbances. Minimize loud noises, sudden movements and disturbances around the coop area. Predators, pets and other animals can cause stress among chickens. Ensure that the coop is secure and protected from potential threats.  

Keep ‘Em Engaged

Finally, chickens are curious creatures and benefit from environmental enrichment. Offer perches, roosts and objects for pecking and scratching to keep them engaged and occupied. One way to help keep them occupied is with Backyard Boost® Busy Balls,a prebiotic treat to bounce your birds’ boredom.  

These treat balls also contain Amaferm, a prebiotic research-proven to enhance digestibility and provide digestive support for overall well-being. They help alleviate boredom, which often leads to undesirable behaviors. 

Give your Birds Routine Health Checks 

Are your birds not laying? Are you wondering, “When do chickens start laying eggs?” Well, monitor the health of your chickens. That way you can regularly and promptly address any signs of illness or injury. Consult with a veterinarian for vaccinations, deworming, and other preventive healthcare measures. 

Appearance Check

Closely access their general appearance. Healthy chickens should have clean feathers, smooth skin and a well-groomed appearance. Next, evaluate the body condition of each chicken by feeling the breastbone and examining the abdomen. A healthy chicken should have a moderate amount of flesh covering the breastbone without feeling too thin or too fat. 

Check for any abnormalities in the feathers and skin, such as bald patches, lice or mites infestations, cuts, bruises, or signs of injury. Healthy chickens should have glossy feathers and smooth, unblemished skin. 

Signs Of Poor Health

Listen for any abnormal sounds such as wheezing, coughing, or sneezing, which may indicate respiratory issues. Watch for any nasal discharge or labored breathing. Inspect the eyes for signs of clarity and brightness. Healthy chickens should have their heads up, with clear, bright eyes with no discharge or swelling. Cloudy or dull eyes may indicate underlying health problems.  

Check the beak and comb for any signs of discoloration, swelling, or abnormalities. A healthy beak should be smooth and free of deformities, while the comb should be vibrant in color and free from lesions or frostbite. Examine the legs and feet for any signs of injury, swelling or deformities. Healthy chickens should have strong, sturdy legs and well-groomed feet. 

Inspect the vent area for any signs of diarrhea, pasty butt or egg-binding. Ensure that the vent area is clean and free from fecal matter or abnormal discharge. 

Flock Behavior

Perhaps one of the simplest but most important things to pay attention to when chickens do start laying eggs is the behavior of individual chickens and the flock as a whole. Look for any changes in appetite, drinking habits, egg production or social interactions, as these may indicate underlying health issues or stress. 

Implement a regular parasite control program to prevent infestations of internal and external parasites such as worms, lice and mites. Administer dewormers and treat parasites as needed based on the recommendations of a veterinarian. 

By conducting regular health checks and monitoring the overall condition of your chickens, you can identify potential health concerns early and take appropriate measures to maintain the health and well-being of your flock. If you notice any abnormalities or concerns during your health checks, consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. 

Get Your Backyard Boost Today! 

When do chickens start laying eggs? When you set them up for success. Backyard Boost can help. And, we’ve mentioned two Backyard Boost products, but we also have another great Backyard Boost product for you: Defense. It helps your birds bounce back! 

Backyard Boost® Defense is a liquid supplement for poultry designed to support digestion and provide a healthy immune response. Defense contains Amaferm, provides nutrients needed in times of stress, and promotes water intake and hydration. 

If you are ready to get your hands on one or all three of these great products to help provide your flock with boosted eco-friendly nutrition, you can order them online today.  

Do you prefer to shop locally? Find a BioZyme dealer and purchase your Backyard Boost. 

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