If you are looking at purchasing a hen, for the sole purpose of laying eggs it is important to keep egg-laying expectations in check.
What is a Point of Lay?
This is the time, or the age when you can expect your new hens to lay their first lot of eggs. Generally, you see this term used by breeders when you are buying a hen to add to your flock. If a Breeder has a point of lay hen for sale, this means that the chicken has just started, or is about to start laying eggs.
Breeders check if hens are ready to start laying eggs by giving them a physical exam, examining if the pelvis has expanded to allow for laying.
When do laying hens start laying eggs?
Time sure does drag when you are waiting for your pullets to start laying. Most of the popular laying chicken breeds such as leghorns and Australorps will start laying eggs between 16-18 weeks. Other breeds can take up to 6 months until they lay their first egg. Other factors can affect how long it takes your hen to start laying. These include: weather/season, laying conditions and nutrition
When your hen does start laying eggs, you will quickly find that their first year will be their peak egg production point. In fact, you may expect up to 250 eggs in that first year.
How many years do hens lay eggs?
You can expect to get a solid supply of eggs from your hen for about 5-7 years. After this time, egg production may not stop, but simply slow down. When you hen is at her third year of laying, egg production will be about 70% of the first year. As the years go by, this percentage will continue to decline.
There are a number of reasons that a hen may stop laying. These include molting, age, stress, nutrition, parasites and being egg bound. We discuss these reasons in our article 9 Reasons why your hen has stopped laying eggs
How often do hens lay eggs?
Each bird and breed will have its own frequency of egg laying. You shouldn’t expect eggs to be available every single morning, however for a 1 year old hen in it’s prime, you could anticipate 4 to 5 eggs per week. More than enough for a couple of breakfasts or a quiche.