21 weeks, the old ladies are not laying yet

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by beckwiga, Dec 10, 2016.

  1. beckwiga

    beckwiga New Egg

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    May 21, 2015
    Hi, this is my first post! We have 3 hens - 1 barred rock, 1 white cochin and 1 americuana. We got them at ~ 12 weeks old. They are now at Week 21. No eggs yet.

    My question is, I still have them on Grower feed. I bouhgt some Layer feed, but have not given it to them yet. The back of the Layer feed package says "begin feeding at first egg." But the chart shows starting at 18 weeks. We are 3 weeks beyond 18 weeks, but no eggs yet from anyone. Should I continue to feed them grower feed until first egg, or is it time to switch them to the Layer feed? I know the layer feed has more calcium, but just want to make sure it is not going to hurt them at this age withour egg production.

    Thanks all!

    Greg
     
  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    It is quite normal for layers to start later than that, and especially if you are low on daylight like we are. This time of year my June born girls haven't started laying yet.

    I prefer not to switch to layer until I see the first egg from each girl. I do offer oyster shell free choice on the side for anyone who needs it, back when I used layer.

    If it were long term the extra calcium could stunt growth of chicks or cause kidney complications in non layers. Short term, probably no issue. You have to do what you are comfortable with and that might vary according to your set up.

    I use a Flock Raiser that has 20% protein & 1% calcium and offer oyster shell on the side, because I have a mixed gender and age flock which includes chicks, roos, laying and eventually molting hens. Feathers are made of protein so it helps those in molt grow them back quicker.
     
  3. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    I feel like 16% protein in layer is too low for my preference, but even more so if you diminish it by feeding out treats.

    Also my birds do free range, so I don't have complete control over what they eat. I don't offer extras like corn or scratch since those are like candy bar calories.

    You may find your preference changes through out time as the needs of your flock does or not.... [​IMG]
     
  4. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Keep them on the grower feed till they are all laying. Cochins are very slow to mature, and Easter Eggers can take awhile to start as well. As long as they have a source of calcium available to them, they can eat the grower for the rest of their lives. There is no magic ingredient in layer. You don't ever have to feed it. It's just regular feed with less protein, and a whole lot more calcium.
    Pullets that mature in the fall and winter do tend to take longer to start laying. If you feed layer feed too soon, you can delay them even longer.
     
  5. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi again.

    I got to thinking about how my previous answers weren't quite what you asked. [​IMG]

    I would continue with the grower and offer a dish of oyster shell on the side.

    If you decide not to switch to layer in the long run, your store would probably exchange the feed for you. [​IMG]

    Best wishes!
     
  6. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    There is a reason that Easter is the time for eggs and baby birds. That is when the hours of daylight start becoming long enough for the hen to decide if is safe to start a family. Hope this helps.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Agrees^^^^.....depending on the protein level of the grower feed....sometimes it's lower than typical layer feed.
     
  8. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    Continue the grower till the first egg.......No need for oyster shell till they begin laying........


    Cheers!
     
  9. beckwiga

    beckwiga New Egg

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    May 21, 2015
    Thank you all! Your comments have been really helpful (and reassuring). I will plan then to keep them on the grower feed until first egg ... thanks again!
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2016
  10. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    The Barred Rock could be laying months before the other two are even close to their first eggs. It would be best, considering your breeds, to keep them on grower till they are all laying. The calcium levels in layer feed can be very harmful to birds that aren't ready to lay.
     

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