All living beings reach reproductive maturity at different ages. For example, dogs attain puberty between 8 to 18 months of age. Conversely, rabbits hit sexual maturity between 3.5 to 8 months. In both cases, it depends on the size and breed. While the age-old question, “Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?” still hasn’t been answered, we can tell you when to egg-spect some delicious eggs after your flock achieves chicken laying age.
Chicken Laying Age. When is it?
The average chicken laying age is 5 to 6 months old. However, just like dogs and rabbits, chicken laying age depends on many factors.
- Gender: We’re not trying to be flippant. When you get your chicks, you may think you have females. Later on, you realize you have a rooster when you egg-spected a hen. It is tough to sex chicks.
- Breed: Some smaller breeds reach chicken egg laying age as early as 4 months old, while larger ones don’t start until 8 months. Here’s a list of popular egg-laying chicken breeds and when to expect seeing eggs.
Australorps, Golden Comets, Leghorns, & Sex Links
4 - 4.5 months
Barred Rocks, Delawares, & Rhode Island Reds
Ancona, Easter Eggers, Sussexes, & Welsummers
New Hampshire Reds
5 - 6.5 Months
Ameraucanas & ISA Browns
6 - 6.5 Months
Barnevelders, Copper Marans, Orpingtons, Plymouth Rocks, & Wyandottes
6 - 8 Months
6.5 - 9 months
- What time of year did they mature?: If your flock matured in the fall, you may have to wait until spring for them to lay eggs.
- Physical characteristics: When hens are ready to lay eggs, their wattle and comb are redder and fuller. Also, if you feel the pelvic bones when you pick her up and they've separated, there's room back there to lay an egg. Finally, she looks grown-up i.e., her feathers are lush and full. A chicken's anatomy is different from that of many other species, but we've got a guide to help you out.
While we’ve answered the question “What age do chickens lay eggs?” the saying “patience is a virtue” also applies. Unfortunately, you’ll have to be patient as your adorable peeps become beautiful hens and start producing. The good news is you should be rewarded for your patience, as chickens produce the most eggs when they are young. As an alternative, you can also acquire pullets (teenage chickens) “ready to lay” or “point of lay” hens to decrease your wait. Your friends at Small Pet Select are cheering you on and wish you many baskets full of eggs.