31 week old hens still not laying...what's the deal?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by SDA92, Nov 3, 2016.

  1. SDA92

    SDA92 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 8, 2016
    We have about 23 hens that will be 32 weeks old on november the 7th and none of them are laying. There are 3 roosters the same age running with them...only one has started crowing that I know of. They have been on 16% laying pellets for a couple weeks now. They have laying boxes..currently working on building more.
    There are 8 speckled sussex, 2 buff brahmas, 3 new Hampshire, and the rest game crosses (could have silky and who knows what else in them).

    What can I do for the free loading slackers(lol)?
  2. Leihamarie

    Leihamarie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 28, 2016
    San Diego
    Do they free range at all during the day? There could be a few things going on...

    Firstly, we're headed into winter and it's molting season. If they're molting, their bodies naturally go off laying to build new feathers. It takes a LOT of protein to lay eggs and also a LOT to make feathers. Their bodies can only do one at a time.

    Secondly, do you have some fake eggs in the nesting boxes? Often that will help teach them where to lay. I've read that wooden ones are slightly more helpful than ceramic, especially in colder months. If they are free-ranging, they could be finding their own nesting places and you'd be none the wiser. Consider placing the wooden eggs in the nesting boxes and not letting them out until mid-morning for a couple weeks... Well after the prime laying time is over so if they ARE laying, they'll do it in the proper place.

    If neither of the above situations apply and they are healthy, lice & parasite-free then they're just not ready to lay yet. The 5-6 month age range is just an average. There are some members who have hens that didn't start laying unill 14-16 months old!

    Also, switch them back to grower pellets until you are sure they are laying. The extra calcium in layer pellets can be detrimental, but the extra protein in grower feed won't hurt. Put free-choice oyster shell or crshed eggshell out with their grower feed for the ones that want it. Once you are SURE they are all laying, you can switch over to layer feed.

    Good luck, keep us posted!
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Shazam Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Definitely switch back to a grower. Putting them on a lower protein feed will slow down their development. Layer doesn't make them lay, it just contains more calcium and is lower in fat and protein. Putting out a separate bowl of oyster shells will take care of the extra calcium needs.

    You have some slow maturing breeds as well, and most pullet mature slower this time of year, so tack another month onto expect start date for most breeds. You also don't have any high production breeds either, your New Hampshire should be your best layers out of the group, followed by the Sussex.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    They're too young to molt.
    Free ranging, slower maturing, and protein are definitely possibilities.

    Knowing what your housing, climate/location, and other bird population is might offer a clue too.

    Can check vents and pelvic points if combs are good and red.

    Dry, tight, and smaller - usually not laying.
    Moist, wide, and larger - usually laying

    Pelvic Points 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.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2016

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by