If you own chickens, you might be accustomed to visiting your pen every morning and hoping to find some new eggs.
The sight of no eggs can be disappointing, but remember, there are many reasons why your hen might not be laying eggs.
The biggest reason why your pen is lacking eggs may be due to the time of day when you check.
Chickens don’t lay eggs on a specific schedule, but their egg production process does follow a rough outline.
In this article, you’ll learn about what time of day chickens lay their eggs, as well as the importance of light and diet in the egg-laying process.
Light Exposure And Egg Laying
Light is a factor that first encourages an egg to form within a hen. After the process starts, it will take roughly 26 hours for the egg to finish forming.
Once the hen lays the egg, the process will begin again after an hour, as long as there is enough light in the setting.
The majority of hens will lay eggs inside six daylight, or artificial light hours. The chicken’s egg production relies on light.
The bird will need to receive between 14-16 hours of light each day so their bodies can begin producing eggs.
If the chickens don’t get enough light, for instance, in winter months when the days are shorter, egg production will falter and the birds might stop laying eggs for a while.
Chickens are quick to respond to the intensity and duration of light.
They might lay eggs less frequently in winter, but if there is enough light to activate the process, the time needed to create the egg will be the same as needed in summer, roughly 26 hours.
If the chickens are particularly cold in winter, they will cease laying eggs to conserve energy.
Creating an egg requires lots of nutrients and energy. Hens might also stop laying eggs if their diet is poor or if they haven’t been consuming enough food.
Can Hens Lay Eggs In The Night?
If an egg is fully formed in the night, the hen won’t lay it until morning arrives. Chickens are occupied sleeping during the night.
Instead of waking up to lay an egg, they will muster the strength required to do so in the morning.
The hen’s production cycle is roughly 26 hours, so you’ll notice that your hen might not lay their eggs at the same time each day.
They’re more likely to lay their eggs a couple of hours later every day.
The reproductive cycle depends on light, so they might lay their eggs later in the day when there isn’t enough sufficient light to activate a new cycle.
If this occurs, the following egg won’t begin to form until the next morning, so no eggs will be laid until the next day.
How Different Breeds Lay Eggs
Some types of chickens lay more eggs than others. For example, laying hens are bred to ovulate more regularly compared to other chickens, so they will lay eggs more often.
Breeds that lay eggs less frequently won’t need longer to produce an egg, but they will have a longer time between each ovulation.
Number Of Eggs Different Chickens Lay
Chicken breeds that lay around 300 eggs every year include Leghorns, Australorps, and Rhode Island Reds.
Chicken breeds that lay around 250 eggs every year include the Orpington, Plymouth Barred Rock, and the Jersey Giant.
The Jersey Giant tends to be raised for meat as it’s a larger bird.
Remember that some breeds won’t lay as many eggs. Chickens like the Silkies and the Japanese Bantam are normally kept as pets.
These small birds lay less than a hundred eggs every year.
Does Egg Color Indicate Laying Time?
Researchers did wonder whether the color of an egg was an indication of what time it was laid.
Interestingly, they found that brown eggs were more likely to be laid in the morning, and white eggs had a greater chance of being laid in the afternoon.
When Will Hens Begin Laying Eggs
In most cases, hens will start laying eggs when they reach six months of age.
This can differ between breeds, as some chickens can start laying eggs when they are just four months old.
Some of these early laying breeds include the Plymouth Barred Rock, Cinnamon Queen, and the Rhode Island Red.
Chickens that are bred to lay eggs, unlike meat production fowl, will begin laying eggs earlier.
On the other hand, chickens bred for meat, like the Jersey Giant, will lay eggs later, around six months.
Many types of chickens will lay their first egg when they are around four to six months old.
Many factors can impact how quickly hens will lay their eggs. As light is such a huge element that affects how often chickens lay their eggs, it can also affect when they first lay their eggs.
If a hen is roughly four months old in summer, it will lay eggs sooner than it would in winter, as it receives more sunlight during this time.
Even specific egg-laying chicken breeds may need to reach six months of age in winter to begin laying eggs, even if they are known to start producing eggs at a younger age.
How Diet Affects The Way Hens Lay Eggs
Producing eggs needs nutrients and energy. If a hen doesn’t consume enough energy and doesn’t receive an adequate diet, she will lay eggs later in her life at a much slower rate.
This is because she will give her body enough time to receive the nutrients necessary to form an egg.
There are many healthy things you can feed chickens. Fowl owners can purchase formulated food, like Purina, which is full of important nutrients.
You can also create your food mixes or feed your birds supplements.
No matter what type of food you go for, your chickens will need some essential substances to keep producing eggs. These include:
Grains: Seeds and grains are the main part of a chicken’s diet. The birds will consume these straight off of the floor while they move around. Seeds and grains give the bird enough energy to support laying their eggs.
Dried mealworms: These might not look very appetizing, but these worms give your hens a tasty dose of high-protein. These don’t need to be added to their feed, but you can toss a few out each day to keep their protein levels high.
Oyster shells: Hens will need a high calcium diet. Other than their regular feed, fill up their plate with oyster shells. Chickens won’t eat more than they need, so the shells will provide them with enough calcium to produce an eggshell.
Fat: Chickens will eat all kinds of foods, so if they roam free-range, they will consume lots of bugs. The insects will give them lots of fat and protein. You can ensure that your birds are receiving enough healthy fats by feeding them some black sunflower seeds. You only need a small amount. Either mix some into their regular feed or sprinkle some out in their coop for a treat.
If you purchase a pre-formulated feed, you might not need to supplement your bird’s diet with anything at all.
However, some feeds might be lower in quality than others. Most brands will deliver at the basic level, but they may not provide the best diet for egg-laying chickens.
If your birds haven’t begun laying eggs, or aren’t laying as often as they should, give them these supplements and see if it makes a difference.
When you do begin choosing a pre-formulated feed, read the nutrition label and ingredients that it comes with.
A lot of chicken feeds don’t have oyster shells, so you’ll probably need to add them to your chicken’s diet independently.
Take note that some feeds are specifically made for meat birds, so these packs won’t assist with egg production. Always make sure that your purchase is suitable for laying hens.
Hens will lay eggs more often if their health and well-being are sound. If hens are stressed, for whatever reason, they will cease producing eggs.
The stress may be due to another hen dying or an attack from a predator. If the stress is physical, this may be from infections, worms, or pests.
Your hens will start laying eggs again once you ensure that they are physically well, feed them with nutritious food, and allow them enough time to heal from the stress.
The Bottom Line
Now you know what time chickens will lay their eggs! Chickens are very sensitive to light, which is why they will never lay their eggs at night.
The advice above will help you work out at what time your chickens may lay their eggs each day, and what to do if their egg production starts dwindling.
Remember that hens need to be physically and mentally healthy to produce the best egg yield. Keep feeding them with nutritious food and keep an eye out for any signs of stress.
Just like humans, stressed-out chickens will need time to recover. They should start laying eggs once they feel comfortable again, so be patient!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Chickens Lay Eggs At Night?
No, chickens do not lay eggs at night. They need light to grow and lay their eggs.
At night, most chickens are resting and gathering the strength needed to lay their eggs in the morning.
Chickens that follow the 26-hour cycle will lay their eggs within six hours after sunrise. However, some of these birds may lay theirs later in the afternoon, while others do so even earlier in the morning.
How Do You Know When A Chicken Is About To Lay An Egg?
If a hen is about to lay an egg, she will enter her nesting box and start rearranging things until she is satisfied.
If your chickens are free-range, the hen might travel around your yard to find a private place. She’ll be looking for a place she feels is safe to lay her egg.
The hen may then sit on her nest and start to strain a little. Some hens may emit sounds, crows, or call other chickens as they start to lay the eggs.
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