Easter Egger chickens are a popular choice among poultry enthusiasts due to their plentiful and colorful eggs. With backyard chicken keeping becoming more popular, it is no surprise that more people are bringing Easter Eggers home. Doing so also raises a couple of questions, including, “When do Easter Eggers start laying eggs?” If you are raising your hens from chicks, then you need to know when to expect those eggs, as well as the signs pointing to egg laying and what to do if those eggs are running late!
What Are Easter Egger Chickens?
Easter Egger chickens are a popular and fascinating variety of chickens. Unlike specific purebred breeds like Ameraucanas or Araucanas, Easter Eggers are not a standardized breed. Instead, they are a mixed-breed variety that inherits the “colorful egg” gene, leading to their unique egg-laying capabilities.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of Easter Eggers is their diverse range of egg colors. These chickens can produce eggs in a wide spectrum of hues, including shades of blue, green, pink, and various pastel tones. The exact egg color depends on the genetics of the individual bird and the breeds that were crossed to create the Easter Egger.
Easter Eggers are also visually stunning chickens, as they exhibit a wide range of physical differences. Since they can come from different breed combinations, their plumage patterns, feather colors, and overall size can vary. This adds an element of surprise and excitement to raising Easter Eggers, as each bird can possess its own unique and beautiful traits.
The appeal of Easter Egger chickens lies not only in their colorful eggs but also in their friendly personalities, easygoing nature, and adaptability to different climates and environments. They are typically hardy, low-maintenance birds that make wonderful additions to backyard flocks and are favored by both novice and experienced chicken keepers.
Easter Egger Chicken Egg Production
Easter Eggers are known for their reliable egg production. While the exact number of eggs can vary depending on individual genetics and factors such as diet and environment, you can generally expect an average of 160-200 eggs per year from an Easter Egger. This translates to approximately 4 eggs per week, with some seasonal fluctuations.
When Do Easter Eggers Start Laying?
Although the exact age when a chicken begins laying eggs is going to vary from hen to hen, there is an average age for Easter Eggers. Typically, you can expect these chickens to start laying between 5 and 6 months. Some Easter Eggers may surprise you by starting to lay eggs as early as 4 months of age. These early bloomers showcase their genetic predisposition to reach sexual maturity at a younger age. On the other hand, some Easter Eggers may take a bit longer, possibly around 7 months, before they lay their first eggs.
Either way, you will notice that your Easter Egger hens are displaying signs of maturity before they start laying eggs. By picking up on those signs — which are mentioned below — ou will be able to estimate when eggs will begin appearing in the nesting boxes.
How Long Do Easter Eggers Lay Eggs?
Easter Eggers, like many chicken breeds, have a peak egg-laying period during their first year of production. During this time, they typically lay eggs close to their full capacity. This period of optimal egg production generally extends from when they start laying until around the 1-2 year mark. As Easter Eggers mature beyond their first year, egg production gradually declines at a rate of around 10-15% a year. While there can be some variations among individuals, it is common for hens to lay fewer eggs as they age. Factors such as genetics, overall health, and diet can also influence the rate at which egg production decreases.
Signs Your Easter Eggers Are Going to Start Laying Eggs Soon
Now that you know when Easter Eggers begin laying eggs, let’s discuss the signs that show you that time is fast approaching! Since the time and place of egg-laying is up to the individual chicken, keeping an eye out for these signs will help you prepare for when those eggs do appear.
Development of Combs and Wattles
You will notice that chicks do not have the same features as matured chickens. Two of those features are combs and wattles. As your Easter Egger chickens mature and approach the point of lay, you will notice changes in the size and color of their combs and wattles. These fleshy protuberances on their heads and under their chin will become more pronounced, larger, and more vibrant in color. The transformation from pale or pinkish hues to a deep red is an indication that they are nearing the onset of egg production.
As your Easter Eggers approach the point of lay, you may notice an increase in vocalization. They may become more chatty, clucking, squawking, or singing more frequently than before. Sometimes, you may even hear what is called the “egg-song,” which is a clear sign that a hen is preparing to lay an egg. This heightened vocal activity is often an indication of their hormonal changes and anticipation of egg-laying.
Nesting Box Exploration
The nesting box is vital to egg-laying. So, in the weeks leading up to laying their first egg, hens typically display increased interest in the nesting box area. They may spend more time exploring and inspecting the nesting boxes, scratching the nesting material, and arranging it to their liking. You may even catch them sitting inside the nesting box, practicing and familiarizing themselves with the space. This behavior demonstrates their instinctual preparation for the upcoming egg-laying process.
One of the most reliable signs that your Easter Eggers are close to laying their first eggs is the submissive squat behavior. When you approach or pet a hen, she will crouch down, tuck her tail feathers, and slightly extend her wings to the sides. This posture mimics the mating position and signals her readiness to be mounted by a rooster. If you notice your hens displaying this submissive squat behavior, it is a strong indication that egg-laying will soon commence.
What If My Easter Eggers Aren’t Laying Eggs?
If your Easter Eggers have reached the expected age for laying eggs but are not yet producing, don’t worry. You can find the root of the problem and correct it. Once the issue is dealt with, your hens will start producing eggs. Here are some things to consider and steps to take:
One of the major contributors to late egg-laying is stress. Like humans, chickens do not like to be stressed out around the clock. This means that you have to ensure a living environment that induces as little stress as possible. Make sure their coop is clean, well-ventilated, and predator-proof. Provide ample space, comfortable roosting bars, and nesting boxes filled with clean bedding material. Minimize disturbances, loud noises, and changes in their surroundings to create calm.
Nutrition plays a crucial role in egg-laying. When a chicken is not receiving enough nutrients and calories, their bodies will shut off reproduction and focus on survival. Ensure that your Easter Eggers receive a high-quality layer feed containing the appropriate levels of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Layer feeds are specifically formulated to meet the nutritional needs of laying hens. Additionally, provide access to fresh water at all times and consider offering calcium supplements such as crushed oyster shells or eggshells.
Usually, the right amount of calcium and protein will help coax chickens into egg-laying mode.
Illnesses, parasites, or infections can hinder egg production. Again, if your chickens feel stressed or unwell, their bodies won’t be able to produce eggs. As such, you must regularly monitor your chickens for any signs of illness, including changes in behavior, appetite, or physical appearance. Inspect them for external parasites like mites, as infestations can cause stress and reduced egg-laying. You may not find any external signs, so in that case, you may want to suspect worms or something internal.
When in doubt, it is best to take your afflicted chickens to a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis.
Sometimes, hens may lay their eggs in hidden or unconventional locations, making it seem like they are not laying at all. Monitor your Easter Eggers’ behavior and observe if they show signs of nesting or secretive behavior. Check potential hiding spots in the coop or yard, such as under bushes or in corners, to ensure they are not laying eggs in unexpected places.
Final Thoughts on Easter Egger Eggs
When do Easter Eggers start laying eggs? Typically, these hybrid chickens begin laying between 5-6 months of age, though some may start sooner or later. Pay attention to signs of readiness such as comb and wattle development, nesting box exploration, vocalization, and submissive squatting. If your Easter Eggers haven’t started laying by the expected age, ensure a stress-free environment, a balanced diet, and good health. Remember that each chicken is unique, and patience is key. Soon enough, you’ll be rewarded with the joy of collecting their colorful eggs by the basket full.
Valerie has been content writing since 2016 for websites and companies all around the world. A traveler, dancer, martial artist, Valerie loves gathering experiences and wisdom. Her travels have taken her to over 20 countries, and she hopes to see more of the world soon.