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What Time of Day Do Chickens Lay Eggs? [and the Best Time to Collect ‘m!]

Most chickens lay their eggs in the first few hours of daylight. But it makes you wonder… Could they lay eggs at any time of the day? Exactly what time of day do most chickens lay eggs? Does the weather impact egg laying? Let’s find out!

As the cold winter weather settles in, we’re all inclined to spend more time in bed. Even chickens get up later in winter, waiting until the sun starts to rise before they emerge from their nesting boxes. The shorter days impede egg production as well. But does it also affect what time chickens lay?

Let’s talk more about the timing of egg laying.

We’ll also discuss a few chicken-egg production nuances that all homesteaders with chickens should know!

What Time of Day Do Chickens Lay Eggs?

Most chickens lay eggs within the first six hours of daylight. If the sun is rising at seven AM, that means you should be able to collect the day’s bounty by lunchtime. If there are no eggs by then, chances are your chickens are taking a winter break. With the chilly and windy weather this year – we can’t blame them!

farm country hens laying eggs in haystack
Hens usually lay eggs by 10 – 11 AM. Check for eggs around that time – and keep your eyes open throughout the day. Don’t let the eggs idle for too long!

Shedding Light on a Chicken’s Laying Cycle

If your chickens are still laying this far into winter, you’re doing something right. Most chicken breeds need 14 hours of sunlight a day to elicit the hormonal response needed to produce eggs.

In winter depths, most of the northern hemisphere restricts to around nine hours of sun – which isn’t enough. 

Most chickens will take a month or two off egg-laying as the winter approaches, giving their bodies time to adapt and rest.

Chickens also burn more energy keeping warm in the winter months, leaving them with less energy to put into the egg production process. 

Some backyard chicken owners get around this problem by using artificial lighting in the coop to trick their hens into thinking it’s summer.

Artificial lighting isn’t always enough, however. Hens need warmth and safety, as well as light if they’re going to be comfortable enough to lay an egg. 

Giving your hens a warm, safe enclosure to do the deed will also help boost their productivity, but you’re still unlikely to get similar yields in winter as you do in summer.

In the winter, hens burn calories to stay warm! Therefore, the hens need more food than in summer, especially if you want them to be productive.

Not only do the summer months bring some much-needed sunlight, but it’s also a period when there’s plenty of food, especially protein-filled grubs and insects, to help stimulate egg production.

Read More – My Favorite Chicken Coops from Tractor Supply!

How to Encourage Your Hens to Lay During Winter

hens outside barn winter farm
Your chickens lay less often in the winter due to the light cycle! Hens feel most comfortable laying with at least 15 hours of sunlight per day. There are fewer hours of sun in the winter.

I don’t mind giving my hens a couple of months off over the winter. They’re so productive during the summer months! I feel they’ve earned a break when winter comes around.

If you want your chickens to keep laying all-year-round, however, you can:

  • Use artificial lighting – add a solar lighting system to your chicken coop and give your hens the 14 hours of daylight they need to stay productive all year round.
  • Increase their feed – chickens need the energy to stay warm and to produce eggs and therefore need more nutrition in winter than summer.
  • Keep them warm! The warmer the chicken, the more eggs she will lay. Find out how to keep your chickens warm in winter and boost your egg production simultaneously. 
  • Make sure your hens have clean bedding! The bigger and fluffier the better. Thick and fuzzy hay nests can also help keep your hens warm and comfy.

Top 10 Chicken Breeds for Winter Egg Laying

new hampshire red chicken rural poultry
Check out this New Hampshire Red chicken! New Hampshire Reds are relatives of Rhode Island Reds. These birds can handle the frosty weather better than most!

Although the lack of heat and light during winter will impact all chicken breeds, some are more hardy and harder working than others.

The following ten chicken breeds have a bit of extra fluff to keep them warm in winter and, as a result, will often lay when all the other chickens are only laying down.

  1. Rhode Island Red
  2. Brahma
  3. Orpington
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Delaware
  6. Plymouth Rock
  7. Chantecler
  8. Sussex
  9. Leghorn
  10. Faverolle

Also – make sure to check that your chickens have plenty of water during the cold weather. Sometimes, the chicken’s water source might freeze in the winter. Make sure they have plenty of fresh (and unfrozen) water to drink!

(You can find water heaters on Tractor Supply or Amazon if you find that your chicken’s water continually freezes.)

Read More – 115 Funny and Cute Chicken and Hen Names!

The Best Time of Day to Collect Eggs

The earlier, the better. But – you should find a routine that works for your homestead. We always collect our eggs at the same time of day. At 4 pm, our chickens come in for the night, and I collect up whatever eggs they’ve produced during the day. We embarked on this routine because we believed that leaving the eggs in situ would inspire our more reluctant fowls to become more productive. 

I’ve now learned that leaving the eggs in the nesting boxes for that long could cause more problems than it solves.

Eggs left in the nesting box all day can become damaged or soiled. A broody hen may also become defensive if she’s allowed to sit on her egg all day. The eggs could even freeze if left outdoors for too long during winter!

For the best results, you should collect eggs at least once a day, preferably using an egg-collecting apron to make the experience a bit more straightforward – and stylish! 

Most chicken owners recommend collecting in the mornings, although some suggest harvesting twice a day – once in the morning and again in the afternoon. It might be worth increasing the frequency of your egg collection in winter to guard against possible freezing.

fresh chicken eggs resting in woodchips coop
Collect your chicken eggs multiple times per day! Waiting too long to collect eggs leads to broken eggs, dirty eggs, and low-quality eggs. Don’t forget to clean the eggs after you collect them!
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09/27/2022 09:14 am GMT

Chicken Egg Laying Timing FAQs

We know that timing the egg-laying of your chickens is trickier than non-homesteaders realize!

That’s why we put together the most vital tips for timing your hen’s egg-laying correctly.

We hope these questions and answers help!

Conclusion

Although a chicken’s egg production often drops off during winter, she’ll still lay her eggs at roughly the same time every day.

Most chickens take an early-bird approach to egg production and get it out of the way within the first six hours of daylight, but there are always one or two rule-breakers around that will wait until the afternoon.

We would also love to hear your experience about what time your hens lay their eggs. (Other poultry too!)

Do your hens ever lay eggs alter in the afternoon? Or are they early-morning layers?

Thanks again for reading.

Have a great day!

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09/27/2022 03:23 pm GMT

Author

  • A horse-mad redhead with a passion for the outdoors, Nicky lives on a 6ha small-holding on the Wild Coast of South Africa. She spends her time rearing goats, riding (rearing) horses, and meticulously growing her own chicken food. She has a witch’s knack with herbs and supplements everything, from her beloved Australian Cattle Dog to the occasional passing zebra with the fruits of her labor. Nothing is bought unless Nicky fails to MacGyver it out of scraps of broken bridles, baling twine, or wire. She loves baling twine (and boxes, oddly enough).