I have a barn full of pullets. A pullet is a female chicken under one year old. After one year they are hens. So, I have about 40+ pullets who became 19 weeks old monday. When they start laying I can expect at the height of the season to collect somewhere around three dozen eggs a day.
Between the ages of 18 – 24 weeks most pullets will begin to lay eggs. They will be small at first but will get bigger and more uniform as the pullet matures. There is no magic number to predict when the pullets will begin to lay. It is sort of like with us females. Mother natures takes her own course and you just can’t predict the day and time that the moment will happen.
The cycle for the eggs often follows a 25 hour pattern. If an egg is laid at 8am today it might be 9am tomorrow before that next egg gets laid. But that is not always the rule. Some hens will lay like clockwork at the same time every day. Some hens might lay an egg every other day.
It is very exciting as you approach the age of laying. It is also very frustrating looking each and every day for those first eggs. I am guilty of checking often and then checking again.
Now here is a little lesson – you do not need a rooster to have eggs – beautiful farm fresh eggs. You only need a rooster if you want those eggs to eventually incubate (with or without a hen) and hatch out lovely little chicks.
Please take note of what I am about to tell you –
1. There is not one bit of difference between a brown and a white egg. Nor is there any difference between those and any of the colored eggs from chickens who carry a color gene from an ancestor cross bred with a true ameriaucana.
2. You cannot tell the difference between a fertiled egg and an unfertilized egg. People who say the little white string in an egg is rooster sperm is an idiot.That is the chalaza and it is what attaches to the membrane at the shell to keep the egg yolk centered in the egg.
3. If you did have a fertiled egg the only way to tell is to look VERY carefully at the yolf after a few days and look for a tiny speck called a bullseye where the cells are beginning to form.
4. You can eat fertilized and unfertilized eggs and NEVER know the difference. There is really no difference. You won’t be eating a baby chick if you eat a fertilized egg.
5. Fertilized eggs can sit for as long as 10 days or so before the hen has enough to sit on if she goes broody. They do not begin to develop into what will become a chick until they have started the incubating process. It takes lots of continuous warmth provided by a nice fluffy feathered hen or a monitored incubator to begin the process toward a hatching chick.
6. Never count your chicks before the eggs hatch.
I wrote all of this to tell you this story.
Last night I was finishing up with cooking supper (chicken stew from one of our own processed chickens!) so Steve and Colby and Gracie went out to the barn to check the feed and close up. The girls came in first.
Gracie says, “Can I show momma what we found?”
Colby says, “No, not yet.” I said, “If my chickens laid an egg and you all didn’t come get me my feelings will be hurt.” Not really but maybe? LOL
Steve comes in and the conversation is repeated with him only this time Gracie holds out her hands and in each hand is a little pullet egg.
So I have no idea which two started laying yesterday but I do have an idea since they were found in the nest boxes closest to the door that it was most likely one if my RIR and one of the barred rocks.
You know threatening them is what I think did it. I went out there yesterday morning and said to them all as I filled the feeders, ” I took 3 boys out here for being lazy and mean do you girls want to be next? If not, you better get to producing some eggs!”
The photo is two small pullet eggs. They are very light brown. They may or may not have a yolk in them. I’ll find out later when I crack them to cook.
How cool is that?
My chickens make me breakfast!