23 weeks old, no eggs??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by RusicHousewife, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. RusicHousewife

    RusicHousewife Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2012
    Hi all, I am new to the forums and could use any help I can!! Back in October of last year, my hubby and I purchased 3 chickens (one for each of our children to care for, although we have ended up taking over!) ;), each a different breed, but all were 9 weeks old at the time. Marceline (the not so nice one, haha!) is a Barred Rock, Bubblegum (the sweetest one) is a Rhode Island Red, and Rainicorn (the fastest one) is an Americana. Fast forward to now, they are all 23 weeks old. All beautiful, and appear to be happy/healthy overall! Only one problem, none are laying eggs yet. It's not the not getting eggs that I mind, but am more concerned that they are feeling stressed in any way or are not comfortable. We do have a dog, but the only time she goes near their coop is to eat wood shavings that the chickens have pushed through the wire, so I don't think she is stressing them. Or could it be they just need more time to mature? They have a very spacious coop, plenty of room to run, always have food ready to eat, and clean water to drink. The coop is under shade with a little sunshine peaking in during the day, so I have wondered if that is affecting it at all? For some reason they prefer to lay under their laying boxes in the shade. Another funny thing, they do not EVER lay in their laying boxes (which are very spacious and always plush with clean straw), they will walk up the latter, but just to walk around on the wood ledge next to the boxes. I even have tried the golf ball trick, they aren't interested in figuring it out. Just yesterday I put a lamp in their laying box area, and constructed it to where I can close them in that area away from the run through the night, and have made it to where it comes on at 5pm and turns off at 4am, is that a good time? If not, some imput would be greatly appreciated! Also, in the morning around 6am, I let them out to eat, then let then out for an hour or so out of their run to free range, then put them back in their run for the rest of the day. What time should they be back in their coop to lay? (once they are mature to do so) Sorry so many questions, I am still pretty new to all of this! We are already pretty attached to these girls as much as we are to our dog, hah! So we want to make sure they are well cared for! :)

    Here are some photos of them. I have heard of the waddles and combs (correct me if I typed those wrong) are turning more red, that they are closer to laying. Off the photos, would you judge they have a bit longer to go?
    http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d151/roxymeg12/DSC_1320.jpg
    http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d151/roxymeg12/DSC_1377.jpg
    http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d151/roxymeg12/DSC_1326.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
  2. Kassaundra

    Kassaundra Sonic screwdrivers are cool!

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    Henryetta
    First of all [​IMG] from Oklahoma and [​IMG]


    I can't see the pics, but yes as they get closer to laying their combs and face get much redder. And 23 weeks especially for some breeds (like the ameraucana) is not unusual. If they act and look healthy otherwise I would say just give it a little more time. (Even though the wait can seem unbearable until you get that first egg) lol
     
  3. RusicHousewife

    RusicHousewife Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2012
    Thank you for the warm welcome!! Hello from warm and sunny, Southern California!! :) Just edited the post, those links should work to see photos of them now! Oh you are not kidding, I have been so anxious to see anything, even just a tiny little eggy in there somewhere! I bet they aren't laying because they are so bugged by me going out there to say "hi" like 5-10 x's a day! Haha! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
  4. RusicHousewife

    RusicHousewife Out Of The Brooder

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    Good to know the breed could play a role in it too, thanks for the helpful info!!
     
  5. fiddlebanshee

    fiddlebanshee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think your americauna is not there yet -- hardly any comb or wattles. The other two are nearing POL. Are they squatting for you yet? As in wanting to be mated? That happens about 1 - 2 weeks before they start laying (with my hens.) Mine are 25 weeks old and are just getting started. Only 6 out of 14 are laying, so I wouldn't worry.

    A couple of observations based on your post:

    1. Are you nesting boxes in a dark spot? They want to hide their nest. Don't put a light in the boxes, it will not accomplish anything and will prevent them from getting enough sleep.
    2. Keep the golf balls in the nests much longer. They will take time to get used to them, but when they eventually go check out the nest boxes they'll get the idea.
    3. Are the nesting boxes outside? I couldn't quite get your setup from your post. I would move the boxes inside the coop - they want the seclusion. Mine are under the poopshelf in the darkest part of the coop.
    4. chickens lay all day long, the cycle is 26 hours so every individual chicken lays 2 hours later every day, until they hit dusk and then they skip a day and start laying 1 or 2 days later again. So there is no specific time that they "should" be laying. Today all of mine laid before 2 pm, a couple of days ago I found a still warm egg at 5 pm.
    5. If they are eating and drinking normally, I don't think they are stressed. Just give them more time. Spring is just starting.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
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  6. RusicHousewife

    RusicHousewife Out Of The Brooder

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    I was thinking the same thing on our Americauna. I am not sure about the squatting, what behavior would I look for? We only have the 3 hens, and no roosters. Would they still show signs of this without a rooster present? That's great that some of yours are laying. I am hoping by 25 weeks, we will have that too! ;)

    1. The nesting boxes were open and exposed up until just yesterday. My husband built kind of like a "hallway" for them so that now when they walk up the latter, they walk into a dark, secure hallway to get to their 4 laying boxes. I am hoping it will help.
    2. Thanks for the advice on the golf balls! We have had them in there for a good 3 weeks or so, I will keep them put!
    3. The boxes are inside the coop, but where open inside the run, but now have the hallway for some privacy! :)
    4. Wow, I had no idea that was how their laying pattern worked. Great info to know!!
    5. Thanks. Our next door neighbors are chicken guru's, they have about 10 active laying hens, and the wife told me "Don't worry, Easter is just around the corner... I have a feeling that you'll have some eggs by then!!" :)
     
  7. fiddlebanshee

    fiddlebanshee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    squatting is when they come up and sit still, pressing themselves kind of to the ground with their wings sticking up a bit at the elbows, as if they're making a little saddle area for the rooster to sit on. Yes, they do this w/out a rooster, we don't have one and they squat for me. Rub them on the back and neck and they'll grunt and shake themselves, mimicking the mating behavior. They start doing this a couple of weeks before they are starting to lay.
     
  8. RusicHousewife

    RusicHousewife Out Of The Brooder

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    I see them stretch their necks up sometimes, and stretch their wings back a little, but not really squatting down when they do it. I will have to be more observant from now on for this, and pet them if they do to see how they react. I have never heard of this being a sign of egg laying soon to come, you learn something new everyday! [​IMG]
     

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