How to Determine the Point of Lay

Buying young chickens ready to start laying? Then you should know how to determine a pullets age so you can provide a proper diet until the first egg.

If you buy your birds as chicks you can expect to feed and care for them for 22 to 24 weeks before they reach their point of lay. However, this depends on the breed, time of year, and the level of care they have received. It is not uncommon for some breeds to take even longer to mature and not produce until 25 to 30 weeks.

SIlkie 5 months

Some people would rather skip chick rearing altogether and buy pullets already at their point of lay. Sounds like a good plan, but you’ll have to be patient with that choice as well. Even if they are in fact laying eggs, they will most likely stop for as long as 2 months when they are moved to a new environment. It’s important to know the bird’s true age too, point of lay doesn’t mean they are laying… it means they will lay in the near future.

Knowing the age of a pullet is important, you don’t want to feed a layer diet too early. Most people buy chickens to have a fresh supply of eggs. Rushing young birds may cause serious health issues, and that doesn’t fill the egg basket!

So how can you tell if a pullet is actually close to laying? There is a simple way to check age and the approximate point of lay.

Here’s How…

Pick up the pullet and tuck her head under your arm. Situate her so you can easily get to her rear end or vent area.

Locate the 2 pelvic bones.
If the pullet is not yet laying, the pelvic bones will be very close together.
If she just started laying the pelvic bones will be about 1 finger apart.
As a pullet matures and produces eggs, you will  be able to put 2 to 3 fingers between the pelvic bones.

This test will give you an idea of a pullets age, it can’t tell you when you’ll get that first egg, but it will help you determine what the pullets feed requirements are while your waiting.

Brooder Shed for Silkies and Hatchlings

Finally! This is my finished brooder shed with a custom built brooder box for my Silkie hens and their hatchlings. The shed is 8×10, it was just a bare bones structure with a window, double doors, and two sidewall vents. Today it has vinyl flooring, electric, insulation & drywall, overhead lighting and is temperature controlled.

All my Silkies live primarily in the chicken coop. However, now when a hen becomes *broody she’ll be moved to the brooder shed where she’ll sit on fertile eggs until they hatch. The chicks will then stay with the hen until they’re sold… or moved to their own chicken yard when fully feathered to be later sold as *point of lay pullets.

 

Broody:  When the hen has an urge to sit on her eggs to try and hatch them.
Point of Lay Pullet: Young female chicken just about to lay,  5-6 months old.

 

Understanding Chick Starter and Poultry Grower

Chick Starter feed and Poultry Grower can be confusing, to keep it simple, this is all you need to know…

If the feed bag states Chick Starter Feed, then feed it until your chicks about 10 -12 weeks old, then switch to Poultry Grower until point of lay. Depending on what state you live in, you may find that Starter/Grower combined is all that’s available for chicks, if so, this is all you need to feed until the point of lay.

chicks_black_silkie__MG_9268

Poulrty Feeding Chart