Chicken won't lay

LeGardenChicken

Chirping
Jan 23, 2017
66
25
51
Australia
Hi there yet again. I have a beautiful 21 week old Australorp but she won't lay. 4 weeks ago we got 2 more chickens but since then they have all been happy. They have plenty of space and shes not stressed. Is this normal because they say they normally lay at 16-18 weeks. Please help!
 

wamtazlady

Crowing
7 Years
Jul 18, 2013
1,695
2,072
306
Kalispell MT
Hi there yet again. I have a beautiful 21 week old Australorp but she won't lay. 4 weeks ago we got 2 more chickens but since then they have all been happy. They have plenty of space and shes not stressed. Is this normal because they say they normally lay at 16-18 weeks. Please help!

Hens do not normally lay at 16-18 weeks old. The "they" who told you that is wrong. I got a variety of breeds last time I ordered chicks. One, a Leghorn (which are known for laying early) had her first egg at 20 weeks. The others started to lay over the next couple months except for one. She didn't lay until she was 11 months old. Yes, occasionally you get a pullet that will lay at 18 weeks but that is early. You will know when they are ready to lay. First, their combs will get bright bright bright red. Then they will start to squat when you put your hand on their backs. Until this happens they are not ready to lay.

Also, do not feed layer feed until they are laying. Some people feed the layer feed thinking it will encourage the pullets to lay. Layer feed contains more calcium than their bodies can process when they do not need the calcium for eggs.
 

JaeG

Crossing the Road
6 Years
Sep 29, 2014
7,682
22,222
941
New Zealand
A production type (eg. Red Star, Black Sex-link - which are crosses, not 'breeds') pullet can lay from 16-18 weeks but your heritage breeds will start to lay later. 6 months old is probably a good average for heritage breeds. So there's nothing wrong with your girl. It's so much fun finding that first egg! Their eggs will start out small and gradually get bigger (just so you know).
 

wamtazlady

Crowing
7 Years
Jul 18, 2013
1,695
2,072
306
Kalispell MT
I just remembered another way to tell when your pullets are getting close to laying. You need to feel for the pelvic bones of the bird. If the distance between the bones is only a 2 finger width or less, they are not ready to lay. If the distance is 3 fingers they are ready to lay. Hard to explain how to find the bones, but you'll locate them just below the vent. You'll know them when you feel them.
 

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