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Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by timbowsr, Jan 23, 2015.
I have three hens about 8 months old. I know it's winter but shouldn't I be getting eggs by now?
8 month old birds should be laying but there's a lot to consider.
Are you adding light?
What are you feeding? Details
Well, I feel a little stupid. I just looked back at one of my earlier posts when they were 7-8 weeks old, that was in October. So that would make them closer to 5 months old .... Guess I'm anxious lol. But to answer your questions. I have two RIR and one Blue Andalusian. I have a light on in the coop for warmth and I swapped over to laying crumbles about a month ago. Don't know what I was thinking!!!
What type of light are you using? The lights used for heat (in SW LA and with fully feathered birds over 6-8 weeks of age supplemental heat is unnecessary, btw) are different from the lighting that would be used for adding hours of "daylight" to encourage production.
Honestly, it seems your birds just aren't ready yet - given that they are maturing during the time of year where light is compromised by season, a bit of a delay to the onset of production is not at all unusual and, even if this were the heart of summer, they are only just now at the age where you might begin to expect to see the onset of laying.
I'd lose the heat. Chickens (like all animals) need a dark period and don't need heat.
I'd go back to grower feed till you start getting eggs. 5 month birds in January will probably commence in a month or so.
As exciting as it is waiting for the first egg don't be surprised if they make you wait until spring My very first batch was split down the middle. Some started right before winter and the rest waited until spring.
Yeah, I was thinking about ditching the light ... that's just a habit I had when I first got em. Again, not sure where I got the eight months old from?!?! But after re-figuring their age I agree that it will probably be spring before I get any eggs ... and that's fine, until then I'll just watch and enjoy chicken TV.
Is there a big difference between grower and laying feed? Sorry ... never had chickens before.
Probably wishful thinking.
Days are getting longer so it might not be that long.
Watch for the combs and wattles to grow and get brighter red.
As for the difference between feeds, yes, huge difference.
Most chickens need similar nutrients but the difference in most feeds will be protein percentage and calcium percentage.
Most feeds range from 15-22% protein and that is intended for specific ages. Higher protein for young birds building bodies. As they approach maturity, not so much protein. When lay commences, 16-17% is good.
Calcium is a different matter. Layer feed is 4% calcium. All other feeds are about 1% calcium. A bird not actively producing egg shells shouldn't be getting the high percentage in layer feed. Their kidneys can be overwhelmed. Some birds can handle it but better not to take the chance because they show no symptoms if getting renal failure and gout. They just die.
Ok, I'll pick up some grower this weekend. BTW ... what about my rooster? Do I need to somehow feed him differently once I switch back to layer?
Same rules apply. Roosters aren't building egg shells. Broiler breeder roosters die at 4 times the rate of hens because they're getting excessive calcium.
With a rooster, the best bet is to feed a low protein grower or all flock feed to the whole flock and provide oyster shell in a separate container for those laying eggs. They should pick up what they need.
Another more difficult option is to position a feeder that only the rooster can reach with a low protein, low calcium feed but that won't prevent him from eating layer feed.