If you got your chickens for egg laying pets, like us, you’ll be excitedly looking forward to the day when you get eggs. If you are new to the chicken game, you may be wondering when you will get eggs. You might also not be sure what to do with them once you get them. Here are some of the signs you are going to have eggs soon and what to do with the eggs once you get them.
When will my chicken lay eggs?
When she feels like it! Just kidding, it really depends on the breed of chicken and time of year. The earliest you can expect to get an egg is 4 months. That is if you have smaller breed chickens. Our favorite layers, the leghorn will usually start laying early. Bigger birds can wait until 6 months or even a little longer. We still have orpingtons, because they are super sweet. If 4-6 months lands in the darkness of winter, plan on waiting a little longer.
Signs your first egg is coming
There are several signs your chicken is ready to lay eggs. You’ll notice your hens combs and wattles turning a nice dark red. You may notice their hips widening, I didn’t. A sure sign is if you approach a hen and reach out a hand, she will squat. This means you are real close to eggs. She is squatting for the rooster even if you don’t have a rooster. Our girls tend to lay in the afternoon. You will hear some chicken talk if you are in the area. Check out the video to see what it sounds like. Then check your nesting box or the area where they are nesting up.
Congratulations on your first egg!
It finally happened, you have your very first egg. Now what? Most likely you are going to want to eat it. If you don’t have a rooster, there is no need to worry about fertilization. If you do have a rooster, just collect them and don’t let your hens sit on them. You will want to make sure to switch your hen’s food to a layer blend so that they get the calcium they need for egg shells. You can also offer oyster shell if not all your hens are laying.
Do you need to refrigerate eggs?
There is some debate on whether you need to refrigerate your eggs. If a hen was going to hatch the eggs, they would not be refrigerated for a couple of weeks while they are laying all the eggs for this particular clutch. So the baby chic would be viable for up to 2 weeks without any refrigeration. That is before being sat on for another 21 days.
We typically use our eggs within a couple of days so we don’t bother to put them in the fridge. We use an egg skelter to make sure we use the oldest eggs first. It is fun to watch the eggs slide down.
We do not wash our eggs until we are ready to use them. If you wash your eggs, keep them in the fridge. The egg has a protective coating from the mother when it is laid that keeps germs and bacteria out. This is called the bloom or cuticle. If you wash the eggs, you remove that coating. Some people will wash their eggs and apply mineral oil to help prevent bacteria from getting through pores in the egg’s shell.
Either way, you’ll be enjoying fresher eggs than you have ever gotten at the store. That freshness means that you are getting the most nutrition and flavor possible from your eggs. Don’t be surprised if you never want to eat another store bought egg again.