Chickens not started laying yet

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jehaz, Nov 22, 2013.

  1. jehaz

    jehaz Out Of The Brooder


    Around Spring time we bought 4 hens from the Co-op (Australorps and Gold Laced Wyandottes), and they started laying 2 eggs a day pretty quickly.

    Then on May 21st, we got another batch of 30 hens from Murry McMurry.

    They are mostly Blue Laced Red Wyandottes (which all turned out to be splash :( shame on you McMurry!!), along with some other heavy breeds like Buff Orpington, etc. but none of them have started laying and its been 6 months now!!!

    I know its winter (it is currently about 60 degrees in Tennessee and 40 overnight)) with darker days, but does this stop them from starting completely??
    My orginal 4 that started in Fall are still going strong and laying 2 a day, and my ducks are laying one per day consistently.

    I was expecting to have dozens a day by now

    Thanks for your help,
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Temperature has little effect. The most important factor is day length (which happens to coincide with cold weather).
    The birds hatched in May reached POL in October when days are dramatically shorter. Chickens sense the presence of light through the pineal gland in their brains. Even a blind chicken can detect seasonal changes in light. Shorter days for older chickens is a signal to molt and shut down production for a while. Lengthening days is a signal to start producing.
    Young pullets that start to lay in summer usually lay right through the first winter. Chicks hatched later and coming to POL when days are short may take quite a while to lay.

    An important thing to take into account with various age birds when some are laying and others aren't is to feed a grower or finisher feed rather than layer (providing oyster shell in a separate container). Birds not actively laying and getting a 4% calcium ration can develop kidney problems.
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    It will take them longer to begin laying when the days are shorter. I'm still waiting on pullets that hatched 3/26.
  4. mithious

    mithious Chillin' With My Peeps

    Still waiting here also....mine are 31 weeks today and not one yet...I have some that are squatting, but nada on eggs...Mr Roo JUST started crowing this past week, and mounting some of the squatting chickens...caught him this past week trying with one pullet but she got away from him.

    I have Googled the heck out of this, and seems lots of people are having late laying pullets. I even had a guy at the feed store say the same.

    I do think the light has a lot to do with it, but I also think it might be more than that....mine spent a lot of energy and time growing out a good feather and down coat, so that might have delayed things a bit, and we are having weird weather this year. I know the cold isn't usually the reason, but if we are going to have a cold winter, and the birds bodies are busy making feathers and down...that could, I think, delay them a bit also....animal instinct is something we don't fully understand, yet...but I have been giving this a lot of thought and research and think more is going on with this years spring chicks....

    Best of luck and hope you get some eggs soon....still waiting here also, but not holding my breath [​IMG]
  5. FrozenWings

    FrozenWings Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 20, 2013
    My youngest girls are 27-28 weeks, my oldest girls are just about 32-33 weeks, and still no eggs. I would imagine that any day now, we will see our first egg.

    -Frozen Wings

  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Good point about the feathers. They're 90% protein and the egg is mostly protein. Increasing the protein sometimes stimulates egg production but with healthy birds, light is the primary factor. "No eggs yet", out of late spring/summer hatched pullets is a common lament this time of year - EVERY YEAR.
    If one wants, they can jump start them with slowly increasing the light.
    The pineal gland in the birds brain detects light and therefor, season - even in blind birds. Increasing day length means to start laying.
    Most birds combs and wattles will grow and become bright red when laying is imminent.

    Roosters sexual maturity is also light stimulated.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2013
  7. mithious

    mithious Chillin' With My Peeps

    Great post!!! I don't have electric in the coop and won't till spring, now that the ground is frozen, so adding light is not an option here, this year. I'm still on the fence on natural, letting them have the winter rest, or light and stimulating egg production...Over 30 weeks is near what heritage birds lay at...actually they are nearer to 36 weeks to start. Mine are hatchery, this year will be the heritage...Yup on the protein too...I added some meal worms, every so often, and some scratch late afternoon, for warmth at night. It's going to go down into the minus 0 this week and not get above freezing at all....wonder how these birds bodies know this???? Amazing, isn't it? I also give them 2-3 whole apples, once a week, and it seems to work better than the apple cider vinegar, as it gets their whole digestive system, not just the crop and their poo is MUCH better! Plus it gives them something different and eases the squabbling a bit.

    I've heard of people feeding dried cat food, for extra protein, but I don't recommend it, as it's not made for chickens and has things that are not great for them...but that is a personal choice and if I did feed it, would only give a little and not everyday. I think the meal worms are just fine for the added protein! Mine have free access layer the rest of the day and some outside time, until they decide not to go out! I tend to watch the birds and let them tell me what they need...seems to work! Well, off again to check on them...pretty cold and windy today and they are outside...well maybe inside by now? Waiting for that first egg is soooo hard!!!!

    Just have to wait here, for this year, and deal with light or no light, next year! Thanks for the links also!!!!
  8. Country girl 76

    Country girl 76 Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 22, 2013
    The chicks that we have we're hatched on 06/14/2013 (makes them 24 weeks old) still no eggs. Have tried the Ping pong ball and golf ball trick. The play with the Ping pong balls, and took the straw out of the laying boxes. Having read a few threads I see that a few others are having the same issue.[​IMG]

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