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Understanding Point-of-lay
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Understanding Point-of-lay

The terms related can get quite confusing at times. You will do yourself a favour by learning some of the most important terms like what point-of-lay really means. If you ever think of adding some hens to your flock, you will most definitely come across this term.

The Definition

Point-of-lay essentially means that the hen is at a stage where she will soon begin to lay her first eggs. Exciting right!

What Does It Mean For You

When you see a breeder advertising point-of-lay hens, this means that:

  • The chook is at the right egg-laying age for her breed

The time for a chicken to start laying her first eggs usually varies, for instance, Isa Brown’s may be ready to lay at around 3-4 months old but other chickens like silkies may take a lot longer to be ready.

  • The chickens have passed physical checks by the breeder

There are some physical clues that can tell you if a chicken is ready to lay her first eggs, for example, the pelvis bones need to separate before a hen can lay eggs.

If you buy a point-of-lay chicken and she doesn’t start laying immediately, don’t fret. It might take a few days or weeks for her to start laying. There is absolutely no way to calculate the exact time a chicken will start to lay eggs, but if you buy them at point-of-lay they shouldn’t be too far off.

There are a few signs that you can look out for that will be a pretty good indication if your hen will be laying eggs anytime soon. These signs are:

  • Squatting

When you reach down to pet your hens and they squat down, it means that they are just about ready to lay their first eggs

  • Wattles and combs

Have a look at your hens head. If the wattles and combs look a bit swollen and more red than usual, then they are about to lay eggs.

  • Fully grown

If your hen is fully grown her feathers will be shiny, clean and sleek. She will also be the same size as other adult chickens of the same breed. When she reaches adult size, she will lay her first egg any day now.

  • Separated pelvic bones

You can check if the bones in your hen’s pelvis have separated. You can do this by gently palpating your hens rear feeling for 3 separate bones. If the bones are quite close together, then your hen probably still has a few weeks to go before she lays her first eggs.

Your hens will lay when their bodies are ready so there is no need for you to get stressed and worried about them not laying yet. Don’t try to stimulate early egg-laying, it can be more harmful than good causing both physical and psychological damage.

To encourage your hens, make sure they have a relatively private area where they can feel safe to lay their eggs. Giving them this save place will increase production as well as stimulating them to lay sooner. The best way to do this is to provide lots and lots of nesting boxes inside your coop.

Now you know what point of lay means and what to look out for, you can expect some eggs without worries and fears ruining the experience for you. Make sure you care for your flock and they will provide you with non stop deliciously fresh eggs every day!

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