Is your hen ready to lay? From the day you bring those baby chicks home from Tractor Supply, you patiently await that first egg. You feed them well, make sure they drink enough water & soak in the sun. After weeks of counting and watching them grow, you pray today will be the day your hen is ready to lay. If you’re like us you run out to the coop every morning hoping to find a perfectly shaped egg laying in a pile of pine shavings in the nesting box.
But to no avail, disappointment strikes and you wonder how much longer you must wait for that first egg. Depending on the breed of your hens, your chickens could lay anywhere from 18 weeks of age to 26 weeks. An average laying age is 24 weeks. Most birds will start showing signs before they ever lay that first egg.
Here are 3 signs your hen is ready to lay.
- Red combs and wattles: Most birds have pink combs and wattles. As a hen reaches sexual maturity her comb and wattles will turn red. But not just any red, a bright strawberry red. If your hen’s combs and wattles are getting darker and brighter, your hen is well on her way!
- Vent: You’ll need to hold your bird in a football hold with her head pointing behind you. Pin her head with your elbow so she won’t move. Flip her tail feathers up and look at her her vent. If she is already laying or close to it, her vent will be moist and open. If she is not close to laying her vent will be dry and tight.
- Pubic Bone: Next you’ll want to place your hand under her pelvic bone. Your hen is close to laying if three of your fingers span the width of her pelvic bone, from one side to the other. One or two finger widths mean your hen still has some growing to do.
As you examine your birds this fall, check for these three signs and you’ll have a better indication of how close your hen is ready to lay!
Question: What did you discover when you checked these 3 signs?