Point of Lay is a term that’s used to describe a pullet that is approaching the point where the bird will be old enough to lay eggs. The point that they start to lay varies according to her breed (some breeds mature more quickly than others) and other external factors influencing her development too.
- Most farmers think that point of lay chickens purchased will be laying after a few days of getting them home, but often, they are some 3-6 weeks away from actually being ready to lay that first treasured egg.
- It is better to let them take their time. The longer they take, the more their bodies will have matured and the bigger their eggs will be when they start to lay. Until they are ready, they should be kept on growers pellets which will help them reach their full size.
- If young birds are rushed and put on layers pellets before they are fully grown, there is more chance that they will suffer from a prolapse which can be fatal.
- 18 to 22 weeks of age is the normal age for chickens to start to lay, some heavy breeds such as Orpingtons can take as long as 22 to 24 weeks but breeders are keen to sell pullets at a younger age to keep costs down so the point of lay chickens can sometimes be a lot younger than this.
- When pullets first come into lay they will take a while to reach ‘full production’ so expect them to take 3 to 6 weeks before they are laying. Pullet eggs are smaller than normal eggs so expect the eggs you get at first to be small at first.
- If you are unsure of the age of your pullets, keep them on grower’s pellets until they start to lay their first eggs. You can usually tell when a pullet is ready to lay because her comb will go from a dull pink to a bright red. Once laying, you can gradually change them over to layers pellets over the course of a few days.