Q: At what age do hens begin laying eggs?
A: Hens begin laying eggs at the time of sexual maturity, around 18-22 weeks of age. Peak egg production usually occurs at about 28 weeks of age. In a laying flock, excellent peak production would be between 85-95%. This means that on a given day, 85-95% of the flock would produce an egg. After this peak in production, the rate of lay decreases about 1% to 1 1/2% per week. Several factors are involved in how many eggs a hen will produce such as breed, light exposure, housing and nutrition.
Commercial Leghorn strains have the genetic potential to lay 270 eggs per year, with good management and proper nutrition. Meat-type strains and pure lines i.e., Rhode Island Red, Barred Rock, etc. are not as prolific.
Purina Mills’ nutritionists recommend Purina Mills® Layena® SunFresh® Recipe for maximum egg production.