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29 weeks no eggs RIR

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jakemik, Oct 12, 2015.

  1. jakemik

    jakemik New Egg

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    Oct 12, 2015
    I have 4 hens and they are currently 29 weeks old and show no sign of laying, they roam almost 3/4 acre daily and have been on laying pellet and hen scratch as well as table scraps for a while now. My only concern is in my coop, the roosting boards are close to there nesting boxes and the poop gets in there but I clean it daily. Should I make a new roosting area? Any info is appreciated.
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Welcome to BYC!

    Definitely should correct the poop in nests issue......
    ......but that probably wouldn't keep them from laying in the nests if they wanted to lay there.

    Signs of onset of lay---I've found the pelvic points to be the most accurate.
    Squatting:
    If you touch their back they will hunker down on the ground, then shake their tail feathers when they get back up.
    This shows they are sexually mature and egg laying is close at hand.


    Combs and Wattles:
    Plump, shiny red - usually means laying.
    Shriveled, dryish looking and pale - usually means not laying.
    Tho I have found that the combs and wattles can look full and red one minute then pale back out the next due to exertion or excitement, can drive ya nuts when waiting for a pullet to lay!


    2 bony points(pelvic bones) on either side of vent:
    Less than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means not laying.
    More than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means laying
    .


    They may be low on protein, layer feed is usually the minimum of 16% and the other foods you are giving is diluting that. Maybe cut out the scratch and scraps for a few weeks to see if that helps...or switch to a higher protein feed to offset the other foods.

    I like to feed a 'flock raiser' 20% protein crumble to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer.

    Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    Animal protein (mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided during molting and if I see any feather eating.



    You may need to confine them to coop and run to see if they are laying and to habituate them to using the coop nests.

    Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers.
    Leaving them locked in the coop for 2-3 days can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests.
    They can be confined to coop 24/7 for a few days to a week, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon.
    You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.
     
  3. jakemik

    jakemik New Egg

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    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Added pictures of my hens
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    They look pretty darn ready...I'd check thir points and lock em up!
     
  5. CalgaryFarmer

    CalgaryFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    I am about 3 weeks ahead of you. One of my pullets just started checking out the nesting boxes and her waddles and comb are much redder and larger. Hopefully soon.

    If they are high quality heritage RIRs then it can sometimes take 8 or 9 months before they lay.

    As well, at this time of year, the amount of light they get can be a factor. You may need to add supplemental lighting.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2015
  6. Peeps61

    Peeps61 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think that they are laying, judging by the color of their combs and wattles. They may be laying outside somewhere if you free range them. They can be really sneaky! I have one RIR hen that lays on top of my rabbit cages OR in the nesting boxes, as she sees fit. As long as I can find the eggs, I'm good!

    I sell my extra eggs, so I add some supplemental light during the winter months - mostly from late November through February (the dark ages). They do need some time to take a break so I don't do it the entire winter and the egg production remains fairly consistent throughout. They do stop laying if they are molting or one goes broody.
     
  7. GlammasGirls

    GlammasGirls New Egg

    Reading this makes me feel a little better. I have 8 girls now. Arielle became Aaron and had to leave our little neighborhood. 3 Buff Orpingtons, 3 Golden laced Wyandottes, and 2 New Hampshire Reds. They hatched 5/6/15 so that makes them 22 weeks. Snow White, my low visioned Wyandotte, has been laying for 2 weeks - 1egg everyday to every other day or so. I've been concerned with the lack of activity with the other 7. However, reading this makes me think that I'm eggspecting (sorry I couldn't help it) too much. They are still on grower feed and free range only when I get home every afternoon from 3-6:30PM. The daylight is dwindling here in New England less than 10 hours. Any thoughts or suggestions out there in BYC land? Patience is a virtue that I struggle deeply with. Thanking all of your old hands in advance.
     
  8. Peeps61

    Peeps61 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As far as the light goes, it's really up to you. Chickens require around 16 hours of light daily to maintain normal egg production. If you are getting around 10 hours, then it would be perfectly normal for egg production to drop off, or be delayed. Some flock owners keep supplemental light, others allow the hens to take the winter off to molt and take a break from egg laying. (Molting typically happens after the first winter). Either decision is fine, it just depends on what your goals and wishes for your flock are.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Sometimes first year layers will lay all winter without supplemental lighting, sometimes they won't.
    Older layers need 14-16 hours of light to lay regularly thru winter. Last winter I used a 40 watt incandescent light(this year I am using a CFL) that comes on early in the morning to provide 14-15 hours of light and they go to roost with the natural sundown. Last year I started the lighting increase a bit late(mid October), the light should be increased slowly, and the pullets didn't start laying until late December. Here's a pretty good article on supplemental lighting. Some folks think that using lighting shortens the years a hen will lay, I don't agree with that theory but I also plan to cull my older hens for soup at about 3 years old.
     
  10. GlammasGirls

    GlammasGirls New Egg

    Thank you for your suggestions. Great article - useful, practical information.
     

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