Tip: How to Tell When Your Chicken Will Start Laying Eggs (Video)

Waiting for your first egg is like waiting for your baby to come but the difference is that you don’t really have a due date to go by, just a due “month(s).” Your labor consists of the months leading up to that first egg, where you go out each day and care for your chickens as if they were your babies.

…Wait, they are your babies.

It’s a painstaking process and one I know all too well. Last year when I purchased 6 baby chicks, raised them in my house for the first few months, then built a giant chicken mansion that could possibly also serve as a playhouse, it seemed like the days slowly went by — especially the last few months leading up to the 5-7 month old range when you know your chicken will start laying.

Every day I’d go out there and check the nest boxes. Towards the end of my “egg laying labor” I unblocked the nest boxes, put golf balls in there, and talked to my chickens to let them know I was ready for them to start laying eggs. Yes, I talked to them. No, I’m not crazy. Well, a little chicken lady crazy but if you’re not there yet, you’ll get there one day. It happens to the best of us.

Anyway, that last stretch of time I was looking for any signs that indicated I was getting ready to have my first glorious, delicious, homegrown egg. You read different things and you look for different attributes on your chickens like their comb and waddle getting larger and more vibrant in color but that didn’t do much for me.

What really signaled me was when I went to go pet one of my black sex links and she squatted down in an unusual way that I had never witnessed before. Holy cow, when she did that, my heart started racing and I got all nervous and excited at the same time. Thoughts started flooding my brain and I knew it was just a matter of time.

Sort of like contractions; you know the end is near but you don’t know exactly when.

And no, I’m not just relating to first time egg laying with pregnancy because I’m almost 6 months pregnant. Or maybe just a little, but they totally have their similarities!

I would say it was about 1 1/2 weeks after witnessing the squatting maneuver (which I eventually learned is when a hen is sexually mature enough for a rooster to mate with her) that I walked out to my chicken coop to discover all the girls in the coop watching the black sex link lay in the nest box and lay her first egg.

At that time I also talked to the chickens and let them know they could start laying any day now that the matriarch of the clan has started laying. “Get to movin’ ladies! Living is easy but it ain’t free!”

I recorded a short video for your demonstrating what this squatting thing looks like so when you’re waiting for your first egg and you notice your chicken doing it, you’ll know it’s really only a matter of time that you’ll have your brand new baby — I mean backyard egg — in your hands, and then ultimately in your tummy.

Sweet, sweet glory.
 
 

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About

Aside from being a wannabe backyard homesteader who wrangles chickens and free-range kids, Loriel is the owner/creator of the professional natural lifestyle blog Naturally Loriel, owner of the organic spice blend business Naturally Free, and freelance professional food photographer.


'Tip: How to Tell When Your Chicken Will Start Laying Eggs (Video)' has 14 comments

  1. July 21, 2015 @ 8:31 am Renee Kohley

    Very cool! Great tutorial – that is definitely a distinctive squat!

    Reply

  2. July 21, 2015 @ 8:50 am Marjorie

    So interesting! I would love to have chickens some day and there is so much to learn!!

    Reply

  3. July 21, 2015 @ 9:07 am Ariana {And Here We Are...}

    How exciting! I know that feeling of anticipation very well. Great tips!

    Reply

  4. July 21, 2015 @ 9:13 am Jessica

    I didn’t know that. So cool. Thanks!

    Reply

  5. July 21, 2015 @ 9:32 am Megan Stevens

    Loved this!! I hope to one day have chickens… and I had no idea! I love that all the ladies were watching her lay her first egg! What a community, hilarious. Thanks for your usual humor. A delight to read!!

    Reply

  6. July 21, 2015 @ 9:41 am linda Spiker

    I sure wish I could have chickens! Love the gorgeous color of those eggs!

    Reply

  7. July 21, 2015 @ 12:03 pm Raia

    We just got a few new pullets, and I’ve been wondering when they will start laying. I’ll have to look for this. Thanks! 🙂

    Reply

  8. July 21, 2015 @ 4:43 pm Anna @Green Talk

    You learn something new every day. Love the video. If I could get rid of my wildlife issue, I would love to have chickens.

    Reply

  9. July 21, 2015 @ 6:47 pm Mandi

    I was just reading this post earlier this morning, and thought to myself that maybe my 18-week-old hens would start laying sooner than I thought because one of them definitely did that squat-move when I moved their coop the other day. Ironically, I went outside to check on them after work this afternoon and sure enough! My first egg!! I know they’re pretty young so I suppose it’ll be spotty for now, but I was pretty thrilled! 🙂

    Reply

    • February 20, 2016 @ 7:43 am Matt

      My 4 Americuana’s turned 5 months old today. And to our surprise as well. One of the missy’s laid themselves an egg. Now just have to wait on the other 3. And yes, within the past week they havnt like getting rubbed on their backs, when one would let us pet them they do that exact squat with the wings out… great info on this site… Awesome.

      Reply

  10. September 4, 2015 @ 1:39 am Grimm

    It always seems to be the black sex links that lay first! My black sex link, Mama, was the first to lay. Then my red sex link, the top of the pecking order, started 2 weeks later. Then 3 weeks later my easter egger, Muffy, started. Now I am playing this game again with the newest pullets. The 2 wyandottes are starting to show signs they are getting ready to squat (the wings held out but not the full squat yet). The brahma and faverolles will be much later as they mature slower.

    P.S. Both my 3 year old daughter and I have been talking to our girls since they were a day old. I even go in the coop at night to ‘put them to bed’. 😉

    Reply

  11. October 27, 2015 @ 11:07 am Happy First Egg Day! - Little Red Farmstead

    […] I bent to pick her up, she squatted down flat to the ground instead of running away. (Ironically, I just read earlier today that maneuver is a sign that a hen is sexually mature and may start laying eggs […]

    Reply

  12. April 29, 2017 @ 10:34 am Kim B

    Love this! I am new to back yard coops. Brought my 4 girls home about 2 months ago.. my little RIR laid within an hour of being home. I noticed the next few days a couple of the others would “bow down” when I would pet them. I excitedly told hubby “They acknowledge me as Chicken Queen!! ” a bit more research and the truth behind the squat was revealed, but I still get a good “cluckle” when I think of it!

    Reply

  13. May 23, 2017 @ 9:17 pm Larry Rowe

    Ok, I live in Panamá, the country, I have raised Chickens for over 30 years and I still do here in Panamá. I find it very rewarding, the things here they sell Layers and after they get 4 month’s old you feed them a food that makes them lay eggs without a Rooster. It works and I have been feeding the Chickens I have now that food and it should be any day now, when you start feeding this feed it takes about 15 days. I have lived here for almost 10 years, love it, no winters Larry

    Reply


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