6 month old hens not laying. Help!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Sppwalker, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. Sppwalker

    Sppwalker Just Hatched

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    We got 60 chicks at the end of September. They're a mix of Rhode Island Reds, Anconas, Australorps, and Delawares. They live in a massive coop and get fed mostly food scraps (3-6 trash bags full every day) and garden scraps (1-4 baskets a day) along with standard chicken feed (about 1/2 a bag a week). The coop is located on a hill in Portola Valley and the average temperature in the winter is about 55ish degrees. They get meat, vegetables, bread, and, besides chicken feed, everything else they could possibly need. Does anybody know why they aren't laying? I don't think it has anything to do with the temperature or the location because my two 5 1/2 year old hens live in the same coop and are laying and my friend's eight/nine year old hens are also laying. The rooster we got (same batch of chicks) has been mounting hens for almost 3 months now, so I have no idea why the hens haven't started laying. All our hens look healthy, pictures below are kinda old (from my last post) but their health hasn't changed at all. Rooster is the pretty black/beige boy on the far right of the cuddle puddle. Thanks!
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  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Too many treats can dilute the overall protein intake, causing them to grow and develop more slowly. Giving layer feed before they are fully developed can also slow down their development rate. Also, since you do have cockerels in the flock, layer feed is not a suitable choice.
    Keep them on an unmedicated starter/grower feed and limit goodies to no more than 10% of the total intake.
     
  3. Deltabwa

    Deltabwa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am certainly no expert however, I got a batch of 14 hens mid September and they just started laying a week ago. Out of 14, I have a total of 5 laying. 1 started today. From what I understand, it's not the temperature so much as the length of daylight. If you light your coop then I don't know why they aren't but I don't have any extra lighting. I also have 2 older girls that are almost a year old and 1 has laid right thru winter but my 2nd quit laying mid December and just started back laying about 3 weeks ago. Still not laying like she used to, 5-6 a week, but at least I'm getting something from her now. I have also read that when they come to laying age during the winter, it slows them down a month or 2. But again, no expert!
     
  4. AmandaKyle

    AmandaKyle Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    I live in New England, so we have long, cold, dark winters and my hens stop laying mid-October and don't usually start up again until February. Supplemental light only gets us a few random eggs here and there, nothing we can count on. I got chicks last spring that hatched around April 25th and the majority of those hens have NEVER laid and they're 10 months old. I think it's the fact that the days got short just as they would have come into lay. I have about 23 hens and the only ones I can confirm that are laying are our older girls. I've yet to see any of the younger ones in the nest box!

    The only advice I can give you is that it sounds like you're feeding them way too many scraps and not nearly enough nutritionally balanced pellet. I'm sure everyone is different, but the only scraps I have ever given my birds is produce. I do not give them pasta, rice, and definitely not bread. None of it has any nutritional value for them, but it will fill them up and cause them not to eat what they should be eating resulting in less egg laying, and probably less nutritious eggs when they do lay.

    Good luck! I know how you feel on the lack of eggs!
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I think they're just young, and it's the time of year. I'm thinking you'll have eggs within the next month or so, as spring hits. Your birds are just barely 6 months old, that's about when they start laying.

    can you post current pics of them? So we can see comb development, that's a good indicator for sexual maturity.

    I agree you might back off on the non-feed food for a while, see if that helps. Then gradually re-introduce.
     
  6. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I doubt that their current diet is a problem for the cockerel, seeing as they are getting predominantly food scraps and very little layer pellets, so no concerns about high calcium levels. Your problem may be that the pullets are not getting the balanced high protein diet they need to come into lay as early as they would if they were getting a grower ration. You will also need to supplement with a calcium source like crushed oyster shell once they do come into lay, if you continue with the current feeding regime, otherwise you may end up with soft shell eggs and associated health problems.
     

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