The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

When will my chickens lay eggs?

three eggs todayEven though I know that egg laying is unpredictable at this time of year, it’s always a bit disappointing when I lift the lid of the nesting box and there’s only one. An egg from Carol. She is firing on all cylinders now and producing one egg a day, the maximum that a domestic hen can produce.
“What’s going on with the other four chickens?” I think as I stump back through the garden in my dressing gown and wellies.

The other four chickens are elderly maidens, well into their third year. I know that after two years egg production diminishes but somehow I hoped that the organic food and beautiful adornments in the pen might make a difference. Of course they don’t. As the years roll by, the chickens will produce fewer and fewer eggs until they go to that great pecking ground in the sky.

The pretty white bantams, have never been very obliging on the egg laying front. In their prime, they probably only laid two or three eggs a week. They are not a laying strain and we knew this when we bought them. But we have discovered that they are very photogenic and are happy to model endlessly.

I’ve been checking the hen’s combs. A pink comb indicates that a chicken is going broody, and will not lay. They are all a bright vibrant red, including Mrs Boss (this chicken won The Broodiest of all Known Chickens Award 2004, 2005 and 2006).

So you can imagine my delight when I lifted the roof of the nesting box this morning and found two small eggs nestling beside Carol’s large speckled brown one. I sprang back to the kitchen to make the perfect breakfast omelette.

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  1. Susan jane

    Hi there Fiona, we have bought only three ladies as our children were showing a serious interest in life cycle, and after having ducks and chickens before seemed a great idea to try again ! We are now into our 4th week of receiving 1 egg every 2 days! The girls have layers mash, corn and seed treats daily as well as cuttlefish ground into they’re food every so often… Any pointers on helping progressive egg laying please??

  2. my son bought 4 little hens… i dont know the breed but he would like them to lay… they seem contented and very happy little things, but do we need to get a rooster for them to encourage them a little?

    • Ed S.

      You do not need a rooster, unless you want chicks.
      What we did (partial impatience) was went and bought some plastic eggs to leave in the coupe.
      This year they waited a long time to start laying again since their winter break. It was around Mothers Day when we started this year. In previous years it was usually the end of Feb.
      Just be patient. They will start when they are old enough, and ready.

  3. Natalie

    We were left with chickens when we bought the house and me being from the city have know idea what I am doing. We have had snow rain ice and temperatures going from the teens one day to sixty degrees the next they laid up until end of november but we have had none since then is this normal?

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Natalie

      You don’t say where you are living. In the UK it’s normal for hens to slow down or stop laying during the winter due to the shortness of the daylight hours. Changes in the weather can also put them off lay.

      Anyhow, be patient, they will lay again.

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