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Black Australorp in northern hemisphere just becoming laying age

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jjdent, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. jjdent

    jjdent Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 20, 2013
    Rustburg, VA
    I've got an Australorp hen just coming into laying age (6 to 7 months old). She shares a small coop only at night with a rooster and three other medium-sized hens, and free-ranges during the day in the backyard. I don't feed them anything except a significant amount of household scraps every day, and they pick at the compost bin as well. She has not yet laid her first egg, and the other three have not laid since I introduced them a week ago (They have already begun laying - about 1 year old). Five nights ago I began putting additional light in their coop. There is only room in the coop for three roosting bars, a very small floor, and three laying boxes. I close them in the coop and they sit on the roosting bars for the 4 hours the light is on, looking like they wish they could go to sleep. I'm not sure whether I'm capturing the essence of the idea of using extra light. Is this only for large coops with a large social area? Might I be better off putting a flood light in the yard for 4 hours and not shutting them into the coop? Just wondering. One of the other hens is a red sex-link, and she has investigated the laying boxes, but not yet used them. The other two are Wyandottes. Any advice?
     
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    You need to give them more to eat than just kitchen scraps. They need a good protein source. Why are you not feeding them a layer type feed?
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I do my extra light in the early morning, so they can go to roost with the natural sunset.
    The light is best increased slowly, in 15 minute increments..... not just 4 hours added, bam, in one day.

    Agrees they probably need more nutrition if you expect them to make eggs for you.
     
  4. jjdent

    jjdent Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 20, 2013
    Rustburg, VA
    I'm trying to have them free-range. I have a decent-sized fenced in backyard that includes my garden area (which this year was FULL of bugs and worms) and a heavily wooded area they like to hide and forage in. But I need to add some feeder, eh? I appreciate the advice. Had someone else tell me about the light, but I've already been doing it that way for a bit, so....
     

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