33 weeks old...where, oh where, are the eggs?

Acre4Me

Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
6,440
20,234
867
Western Ohio
We have 12 pullets, 2 cockerels across 6 breeds. All 33 weeks old. Of the 12 pullets, we have 3 Dark Brown Leghorns. All of the other nine are laying eggs - everyone lays brown or green, except for the DBL, which are supposed to lay white eggs. We have, in fact, gotten approx 5 white/cream eggs, two of these eggs over the past week (two days apart), and the other white/cream eggs a month or two ago.

Now, to be really informative, my tween-aged child thinks that the white/cream eggs we have gotten are just a shade of light green (and one of our EE does lay a very pale green egg), but I chalk this up to the argumentativeness of a tween...but, maybe the tween is right and they really are just very pale (hard to distinguish) green eggs.

Feed: Layer feed crumbles, access all day in 2 locations. water: all day in a large container accessible on all sides.

Flock dynamics: The head cockerel seems to patrol one feed container (but not the other). Cockerel does seem to "dislike" the DBL's - not sure why as all of our chickens (but one EE) are dark brown to black. The DBL's are the smallest of our flock, but not by a great amount (excepting the two Jersey Giants). The DBLs do seem to eat and get treats that are thrown in. The DBL's do go all over the run and coop. Coop is large with a lot of roosting space, and the DBLs do roost amongst the other chickens (the are not on the bottom, for example) and the roosts are ladder style - with low to high roosts. Run is 10'x50' - plenty large.

No other obvious issues that I can tell. No neighbor dogs, No predators that we are aware of. Coop is elevated 2.5 feet off the ground, and surrounded by chain link fence, so a climber could get to (but not easily into) the coop, but a large animal (wandering dog, for example) could not, so stressors are minimal from that perspective. No infestations/ illness apparent. Poops look normal all over the run.

33 weeks! What gives?
 

chickeninabasket

In the Brooder
Sep 13, 2018
4
17
31
If I was you I would increase their protein to 20% until you start getting eggs (shouldn't take long, maybe 2-4 weeks total from the time you switch feeds).
With both my duck and chicken flocks I notice getting a lot more eggs from them when I feed flock raiser+ oyster shell as apposed to just layer. Sometimes I mix flock raiser with layer by 50/50 this increases protein but also adds a little more calcium and recycling their egg shells back to them is adequate without the need for oyster shell. I actually avoid getting oyster shell as much as I can because it is very easy to give them too much and they can get egg bound. Crusty shells aren't cool either. Having a dish of it free choice might be the best way to give it to them but I never see them eating it so I prefer to mix it in.

In my opinion if they are fed layer feed too soon they don't get adequate protein for their growing bodies which might stunt growth and/or delay laying.
I always feed chick starter (18%) or flock raiser (20%) to my birds from chick hood until I start getting eggs and just add some oyster shell since much of the time I have chicks so rather than getting several different kinds of feed I try to stick with 1 kind and cater to the specific needs of other birds.

On a side note - what time of the year they hatched is a key factor not as much the age of the bird. If you get chicks in spring they might not get into FULL production until the following spring due to a reduction of daylight and colder weather when they are laying age in the fall. For this reason I actually prefer to get chicks in the fall time because they start laying early spring and lay eggs like crazy at the usual age of around 5 to 6 months (depending on the breed).

With adequate light and optimum feed Leghorns and hybrids (Gold Sexlink, Black Sexlink, Novogen) "should" lay at 4 to 5 months of age and all other breeds typically start at 6 to 7 months of age and some EEs start as late as 8 months.
 
Last edited:

Acre4Me

Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
6,440
20,234
867
Western Ohio
If I was you I would increase their protein to 20% until you start getting eggs (shouldn't take long, maybe 2-4 weeks total from the time you switch feeds).
With both my duck and chicken flocks I notice getting a lot more eggs from them when I feed flock raiser+ oyster shell as apposed to just layer. Sometimes I mix flock raiser with layer by 50/50 this increases protein but also adds a little more calcium and recycling their egg shells back to them is adequate without the need for oyster shell. I actually avoid getting oyster shell as much as I can because it is very easy to give them too much and they can get egg bound. Crusty shells aren't cool either. Having a dish of it free choice might be the best way to give it to them but I never see them eating it so I prefer to mix it in.

In my opinion if they are fed layer feed too soon they don't get adequate protein for their growing bodies which might stunt growth and/or delay laying.
I always feed chick starter (18%) or flock raiser (20%) to my birds from chick hood until I start getting eggs and just add some oyster shell since much of the time I have chicks so rather than getting several different kinds of feed I try to stick with 1 kind and cater to the specific needs of other birds.

On a side note - what time of the year they hatched is a key factor not as much the age of the bird. If you get chicks in spring they might not get into FULL production until the following spring due to a reduction of daylight and colder weather when they are laying age in the fall. For this reason I actually prefer to get chicks in the fall time because they start laying early spring and lay eggs like crazy at the usual age of around 5 to 6 months (depending on the breed).

With adequate light and optimum feed Leghorns and hybrids (Gold Sexlink, Black Sexlink, Novogen) "should" lay at 4 to 5 months of age and all other breeds typically start at 6 to 7 months of age and some EEs start as late as 8 months.


We fed Chick, then grower feed till approx 26 weeks (with very rare treats, so their diet was 99%+ chicken feed. Once they were about 14-16 weeks old, we provided them with free choice oyster shells, which they seemed to utilize. Shells for all layers have been nice and strong. We only switched to layer feed 6-8 weeks ago.

Feed stores/feed brands that I have access to are: TSC: fine, but I'm not as keen on them as I have gotten bad Purina feed there (not their fault, the feed was clearly milled with off grain as it was streaked throughout the crumbles with dark green-black streaks, and smelled different), otherwise they carry Dumor, which we find to be ok, but not optimum. The Purina is the only all-flock I have available to me. Must be careful with TSC dates on feed bags - often will find much older feed bags at this store (still OK, but might be 2-3 months older than another bag). Another feed store sells Kalmbach and Kraut Creek feeds. Another sells Hubbard feeds. Of these feed stores, my only all-flock option is Purina at TSC.

Chicks were hatched on Feb 28, 2018, so late winter.
 

Acre4Me

Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
6,440
20,234
867
Western Ohio
I stopped feeding layer, start with Chick Starter for a month then switch to Flock Raiser with Oyster Shells on the side. No problem with laying & shells are strong. Got a picture of the girls in question?


Here is what I wrote above:
We fed Chick, then grower feed till approx 26 weeks (with very rare treats, so their diet was 99%+ chicken feed. Once they were about 14-16 weeks old, we provided them with free choice oyster shells, which they seemed to utilize. Shells for all layers have been nice and strong. We only switched to layer feed 6-8 weeks ago.
So, we have gone this route, but no DBL eggs. These girls are hard to photograph as they are very flighty, the head cockerel often seems to chase them off if they get close to him, and even if he is not nearby, they run from us - very flighty. Of course, all the girls were very flighty until they got to laying age.... So, I don't have any recent pics of these girls, but I can try to take some today.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
97,961
134,760
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Must be careful with TSC dates on feed bags - often will find much older feed bags at this store
That is very true...in any store!

Also note the protein percentages of the feeds you cite.

I would think that the Leghorns have been the first to lay....but maybe the dark brown genes have inhibited their productiveness?

Do they look like they are laying(combs), have you checked pelvic points?
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/who-is-laying-and-who-is-not-butt-check.73309/
 

PirateGirl

Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist
Mar 11, 2017
7,203
18,533
632
South Park, Colorado, USA
Ok, apologies if this is an absurd question, but are your sure they are dark brown leghorns? There are other chickens with a similar color pattern that lay brown eggs, welsummer, bielefelder. I'm just thinking outside the box here. It's quite possible they just aren't ready to lay, some chickens, for their own reasons, lay much later than others and that's just the way it is.
 

Acre4Me

Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
6,440
20,234
867
Western Ohio
Ok, apologies if this is an absurd question, but are your sure they are dark brown leghorns? There are other chickens with a similar color pattern that lay brown eggs, welsummer, bielefelder. I'm just thinking outside the box here. It's quite possible they just aren't ready to lay, some chickens, for their own reasons, lay much later than others and that's just the way it is.

I would think that the Leghorns have been the first to lay....but maybe the dark brown genes have inhibited their productiveness?

Do they look like they are laying(combs), have you checked pelvic points?
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/who-is-laying-and-who-is-not-butt-check.73309/


Sold as DBL from a smaller hatchery that sells a smaller selection of heritage breeds. Here are the pics of one of the DBL in question. FWIW, all of them look the same, basically and they are hard to catch as they are so flighty. Red combs on all of them. I did not do a butt-check as my chicken-catcher tween put the DBL back into the run before I could check. However, this DBL was in the nest box, which is how we caught her.

Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 6.37.23 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 6.36.55 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 6.36.07 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 6.35.33 PM.png
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom