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38-40 week easter eggers not laying?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jsmith2952, Mar 9, 2016.

  1. jsmith2952

    jsmith2952 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi, I have two easter eggers that I bought last August. The owner felt sure that the girls would both start laying by fall, and assumed they were 10-12 weeks when purchased. However, neither have started yet, and they're nearing 40 weeks! It seems like a really long time to me, but I've no experience with EEs, as I have sex links who started laying at 18-20 weeks. I live in Ontario and get that the shorter days and winter will impact the egg laying but what the heck?! :)

    I've included some pics of them taken a few weeks ago..Any insight into why the wait is so long would be super appreciated!

    Thanks so much

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Overrun With Chickens

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    It's the time of year that they are maturing. Make sure that treats are limited, and they are getting plenty of grower feed. That's what their bodies need to mature and finish developing, not layer feed.
     
  3. jsmith2952

    jsmith2952 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmm...I've had trouble getting them to eat the grower feed because they want to eat what the other girls are eating. Any tips?
     
  4. junebuggena

    junebuggena Overrun With Chickens

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    Switch everybody to the grower. Offer crushed oyster shell separately from the feed for the layers. The higher protein content of the grower feed may be better for your whole flock than layer feed.
     
  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    If birds don't start laying by darkest days of the year it takes daylight getting back up to near 12 hours daily for them to begin. You can add lighting in coop on a timer turning on at 5 am and off 8 am if your in need of eggs (very low watt LED type bulb well secured). I'm in the same predicament as you with over 10 month old birds right now. I need the eggs to be in the incubator right now not still being worked on by the chickens. Should have used light back early Feb. Oh well. The good news is once they start laying at this late stage you wont have to deal with normal odd eggs from pullets. No rubber shells or goofy shapes or tiny peewee eggs. The one girl of eight in my flock that started few weeks ago is laying nice gram shy of Large eggs. Fully expect the others to stat up over next few weeks as we've a bout of warm weather upon us.

    The comb in first pic looks good, you should have eggs any day now.
     
  6. jsmith2952

    jsmith2952 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    thanks so much for the advice, both of you! I'm glad to know that it's not just me and I didn't end up with a pair of duds!

    @junebuggena : I switched them to the layer feed after giving up on them free choosing the grower feed once they were about 30 weeks or so. Do you think I should remove the layer feed altogether and go back to grower feed? I read that after 18 weeks layer feed is fine...

    @Egghead_Jr : thanks for the great info on the eggs. I had no idea that this lengthy wait could be beneficial to the eggs they produce! I'm okay with no light...I've had to buy a carton or two but no big deal.
     
  7. junebuggena

    junebuggena Overrun With Chickens

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    I've always got birds of different ages and cockerels and roosters in my flock, so I don't ever bother with layer. I keep everybody on a grower ration from the day they hatch to the day they die. It's just safer that way. And the higher protein content helps molting hens get through the molt faster, it reduces the chance for egg eating and feather picking, and I get good production even when I feed lots of treats.
    Most people that are fairly new to chickens think that their birds absolutely have to have layer feed or they won't ever lay. It's not true. There is no magic ingredient in layer feed that makes them lay. In fact, feeding something with so much added calcium to birds that aren't actively laying can eventually cause kidney damage.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Ditto on the not bothering with layer feed, I have never used it.

    I like to feed a flock raiser/grower/finisher 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. I do grind up the crumbles (in the blender) for the chicks for the first week or so.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer. I adjust the amounts of other feeds to get the protein levels desired with varying situations.

    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.
    That girl is pretty red ...is this a recent pic?
    EE's don't always lay blue or green eggs, sometimes they lay brown or pinkish eggs.

    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.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
  9. jsmith2952

    jsmith2952 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    @junebuggena , @aart wow, thanks for the info! I had never even considered using the grower feed past egg laying...this is my first time with a mixed flock so I was going on different websites I read. I'll give the grower feed a go. I was just worried that I would be malnourishing the laying girls...I already offer them crushed egg shells, but they never really take them, but maybe that's because their feed has enough calcium in it already!

    @aart : the pic of the EEs are pretty recent--within the last month or so. Both their combs have been pretty red since November/December. Right now, NONE of my 5 hens are laying (the 3 older ones are all molting and haven't laid since Christmas), so obviously there are no eggs to mistake the color of! And I've recently (last week) gave the coop a huge clean, and didn't come across any secret nests. Both girls will squat and kind of do that funny jiggle and brace when I walk by, but both are pretty skittish, so I can't actually touch them like I could my older girls. I'll give the fingertip test a go: if I can actually con one of them to stay still in my arms for a second! :)
    thanks so much for the help/info!
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    If you free range(I assume you are from your pics) they may be laying out in range area.
    Lock em up for a few days.

    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 3-4 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.
     

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