At about the age of five to seven months, hens will start laying eggs. Roosters are not needed for a hen to lay an egg. However, if you want to hatch chicks then you’ll need a rooster to fertilize the hens’ eggs.
Over all, expect hens to lay about an egg a day while they are younger chickens. It will slow as they age, but they will lay steady for three years. Sometimes, egg production will slow down, especially during winter months when the days are shorter.
Here are some tips to keeping your chickens laying fresh eggs on a regular basis:
Keep Chickens Happy and Healthy
Stress will cause chickens to stop laying eggs. Make sure your flock consistently has fresh water, food, and a clean coop. Some chicken coops clean more easily than others. Here’s a chicken coop that’s easy to clean because it has a removable droppings tray. Also, chicken tractors are a great idea in regards to chicken health. Slide chicken tractors every few days or so for fresh ground for the chickens.
Backyard Chicken Flock Management
We know chickens lay strongly for at least three years. If you incorporate younger chickens (pullets) to your flock every year, you can maintain fresh egg production. An easy way to do this is to add a pullet a year. Remember you’ll need a large chicken coop for this if you are building your flock. But, you don’t need to start out with many chickens initially anyways. Four chickens are plenty to produce eggs for a family.
Keep in mind too that chickens will start to sit on the eggs in the nesting boxes. It is called brooding. It’s when chickens are aging and trying to hatch chicks. If they are brooding, egg production is going to slow down. Keep the eggs gathered, so the hens will not have a reason to sit on them.
Light in the Chicken Coop
When the days shorten, egg production slows. Some urban chicken farmers place a light in the chicken coop on a timer. The light needs to be very consistent producing at least twelve hours of light a day.
Other backyard chickens farmers give the hens the shorter winter days off to rest. Most likely, right after fall, the chickens will molt. Molting is when the chickens lose and grow new feathers. During the molt, energy is used to produce new feathers and not eggs. They will still need the same feed for the protein even if they are not laying eggs.
Want to learn more about why chickens stop laying eggs? Click the link.