21 weeks and no eggs...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by threehens, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. threehens

    threehens Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 12, 2008
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    We have three 21 week old (on Thurs) white leghorn/rhode island red crosses. They've been with us for about two weeks in our chicken tractor. We've never had chickens before!

    They aren't laying at all and kick the straw out of the nesting box. I thought leghorns were early layers. The box is on the ground of the house part of the tractor. Is that ok?

    Is it possible that they might be molting? I keep seeing large wing feathers on the ground and the brown one's head feathers seem to be falling out on one side. Can they molt before laying? I can't find answers in the books-hopefully someone can advise me-maybe we're doing this all wrong!!

  2. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    Welcome to BYC! So, you've only had these girls for 2 weeks? It could be that they just aren't comfortable yet in their new home, they get stressed being moved. It could be that they will start to lay later than you thought so they wouldn't even have been laying if they'd stayed where ever you got them from. I think my White Leghorns started laying at around the 22 or 23 week mark but I can't remember exactly right now. Or, it could be mites or some other pest issue. The neck feather thing could be from mites or from feather pecking due to stress. You need to thoroughly look them over to see if there are any unwanted pests on them and then treat them accordingly if you find any.

    If there are no pests then just sit back and give them some more time.

    Many people have their nest boxes on the ground and that is just fine. Personally, I like mine up at least a few inches off the ground just because my chickens like to get up onto things.

    They are too young to be molting (at least this is my understanding - I have heard of people saying that moving chickens can cause them to go into a molt but I think your's are still too young for that); someone here can correct me if I'm wrong on that.
  3. chick-e-chick

    chick-e-chick Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 21, 2008
    I'm not really experienced enough yet to give an opinion, but I hope they start laying for you soon, it drives you crazy waiting for that first egg doesn't it!
  4. lurky

    lurky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    My first chickens were 26-28 weeks [​IMG]
  5. Moselle

    Moselle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 17, 2008
    Like chirpy said, it might just be the stress of a new home. A nest on the floor is fine, I think, as long as it's cozy and 'private'. My chickens shed feathers around quite a bit, and I figured it was just a part of being a chicken. If there are lots of feathers everywhere, do what Chirpy said (again [​IMG]).

    I don't have leghorns, but my RIRs are supposed to be somewhat early layers and one didn't start 'til she was 20 weeks and the other 23 weeks. Make sure they are getting plenty of food and especially water; hot weather also sometimes effects laying, so maybe that's slowing them down?
  6. sara

    sara Title Needed Here

    If you just got them 2 weeks ago, it can take several weeks for them to settle in.

    Also 20 weeks is about the earliest a pullet will start to lay. You don't want them to start laying to early for the health of the bird. There was actually an article about it in Backyard Poultry, I think the most recent issue. It was about egg laying problems. [​IMG]
  7. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    [​IMG] !!!

    Are you feeding layer feed? Oyster shell?

    I agree with all other posters - check for bugs, treat if necessary...if they're bug-free, hurry up & wait! I had 2 EEs that didn't start laying until 32+ weeks! They are my only 2 that consistently lay XL or Jumbo eggs, though...so, the wait was worth it!
  8. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    Also - how sure are you of their age?
  9. sfcityfarmer

    sfcityfarmer Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 8, 2008
    My four chickens (EE, RIR, Silver and Gold WD) are 21 weeks old today also with no eggs yet. I've had mine since they were a day old, they've been on lay pellets for a week or two, they've got oyster shells, clean water, and plenty of space. Any day now...
  10. threehens

    threehens Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 12, 2008
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    thanks for all the input! We are feeding layer crumble and lots of kitchen/garden scraps. They are flighty, nervous birds. I'm not sure I could pick one of them up to inspect for mites. Maybe I'll just leave them alone and let them settle down after I mess with the nesting box a bit [​IMG]

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