I've read that thier combs and waddles will turn red when they get to the point of lay. I have three pullets right around 6 mo that are just now having thier combs turn a really deep pink. So fingers crossed it should be any day now!
I have been feeding them layer feed since day 1...
I have some older girls who are laying big beautiful eggs, so it's not a food problem. They get a bit of scratch, they get to free range, they get protein-rich organic scraps and warm breakfasts... and those girls are big, shiny and healthy!
Wrote to the breeder who said the others from the same hatch have been laying for over a month. So weird. She told me to add a light timer in the coop, so I did that a few weeks ago. Still no change.
Unless they ARE laying and I just don't know but I doubt it. Eleven hens and an average of five to six eggs per day. Seven confirmed layers (I got them recently and the were laying for months before that).
I'll check their faces again and take pics, maybe I'm just clueless?
I think you answered your own question when you said "I have been feeding them layer feed since day 1..." There is not enough protein in layer to help them develop. you should have used starter/grower until they start to lay then change to layer feed.
Your hens are malnourished. Even though it is sorta too late, I would try switching them over to a higher protein feed, Starter/Grower. I use Start n Grow by Purina. I don't know if extra protein would help at this point, but if you think you wanted to get them some extra protein you could try turkey grower or game bird starter. Change their feed over slowly, over a week or two time. I don't think they are about to lay "any day now" because of their diet. Could still be months away, so it should be worth it to try to get them on balanced food formulated for young growing pullets. I would not switch them back to layer food until I saw them actually laying eggs.
The girls were over 4 months old when I got them and were eating layer feed by then, I doubt they're malnourished... they eat better than I do LOL!
I have 7 that are laying and I do get beautiful eggs, the flock is healthy and shiny and in great health. They get plenty of protein.
Is it true that some hens don't lay before 7, 8 and even 9 months of age??
PS: I did contact the breeder about this, she raises hundreds of hens (specialized breeds, mostly), a very lovely and knowledgeable lady. She said to just be patient, makes sure they get 14 hours of light a day (real and artificial) and that their diet seemed more than fine.
What if they are laying and I don't know? I never see them in the laying boxes but they might be laying early in the morning? Besides wattle color is there any other indication that a hen is actively laying?
I usually start mine on layer feed around 16 weeks never had a problem with it. Never understood the wait till they lay thing myself.
It is probably just a fall thing. It seems like they don't lay well in the fall, shorter days and all. Also I have bought pullets about 16 weeks old and it seems to take longer when they also have to adjust to a new home.
They will lay eventually. It does seem like sex links usually lay sooner but they don't all know the rules.
Sorry the waiting seems like forever. Good luck I hope they lay for you soon.