My girls aren't laying
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I have 6 chicks that are 18 weeks old. They have not laid any eggs yet. I saw/heard one of them in the coop making some strange noises and it was obvious that she was in the nesting box. The wood shavings were as though she was burrowed down in them. I was sure she was going to produce because of all the noise but there was nothing. Is this common? When can I expect eggs? thanks. New to this .
Welcome to BYC!
What breed(s) are your girls? 18 weeks is at the very early end of the window of "average onset of production" - most standard breed birds are going to fall more in the 22-28 week range with some breeds taking even longer to mature and start laying. Inspecting nest sites and starting to show interest is a good sign. It would be helpful if you were to take and post a couple of photos of your birds - the condition of the comb and wattles is one indicator to use in assessing how close to laying a pullet might be. Another indicator is whether or not a pullet performs the "submissive squat" (assuming the pose that she would to permit a rooster to mount and mate her) - which she will display even if there is no rooster present, for example they are often cued by your hand reaching down over them and react to it as they would an approaching rooster.
Is that common or a problem? I just put a bunch of straw in the coop because the weather is changing. Noidea what I am doing but I am trying.
If the egg they ate was shell-less, that's completely normal. It probably won't escalate to egg eating. It can take several weeks for new layers to start laying consistently.
If they start constantly eating eggs, then you may need to start giving them a higher protein feed. And, of course, make sure they have access to a source of calcium. Calcium makes egg shells strong. The stronger the shell, the harder it will be to break.