Does free-ranging delay egg laying??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by rainbowgardens, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. rainbowgardens

    rainbowgardens Songster

    Nov 19, 2008
    Central Virginia
    I'm still waiting for my speckled sussex to start laying. They are 24 weeks old today. I split this order of hens with a friend and hers have been laying for over a month. Mine are free-range and hers are confined. We even use the same feed.
    I wondered if mine could be laying out in the forest, so I rigged up a run and have kept them closed up until about 1pm each day. Still no eggs. I don't think they're eating them because I still get eggs from my dominiques. I would think if I had egg-eaters they'd go for the dominiques eggs as well as the sussex.
    The only difference in our two flocks is mine are free range and I have older chickens in with them.

    My chickens hate me![​IMG]
  2. knittychickadee

    knittychickadee Songster

    Mar 12, 2009
    Even though you are both using the same feed, yours are probably getting less protein content overall in their diet by free ranging. So your girls may be growing/maturing a bit slower than hers.

    These Sussex seem slow to mature [​IMG]. My group is 19 weeks and a few of my Barred and Buff girls are laying already and others close to it, but not one the Sussex combs have changed a bit. I think I have a long wait with them. Mine free range too, and get a 20% protein feed.
  3. lilmouthy

    lilmouthy In the Brooder

    Jul 15, 2009
    Mine have been free ranging since they had gotten all of their feathers. Mine started laying at 16 weeks old. (mine aren't the same breed as yours though) I'm going to say that yours probably are laying,but just not in their nest boxes. Mine rarely ever lay an egg before 2 pm. Mine are evening layers. I've even had mine laying at 7 PM. Mine NEVER lay in their nest boxes though. I have one that lays all of her eggs on my front porch,one that lays under the 4 Wheeler,one that lays inside of the dog house,one that lays in the bushes...I could go on and on,but you get the picture. I say start looking any where and every where for yours. Oh yea...and that egg song that everyone goes on and on about...only one of my chickens do that. None of the others even make a peep when they lay an egg. I was thinking that I could just listen out for that,and follow the noises to the fresh egg...but that doesn't happen here.
  4. I have 15 chickens ranging from 24 to 17 weeks old. Only one of the 3 24 weekers is laying. She'll lay ( on the coop floor - ignoring the nice boxes!) anywhere from 12-5pm. She made quite a ruckus for her first lay - talk about an egg song...we had an opera![​IMG] But she has not made much, if any, noise since. I also let my girls free range in the afternoon...but only for a couple of hours before dark. Hopefully no one has decided to begin their laying adventures outside!
  5. rainbowgardens

    rainbowgardens Songster

    Nov 19, 2008
    Central Virginia
    I thought hens layed their eggs a little later each day, working up to a day off and then starting all over again in the morning. At least that's what my dominiques do. They've never laid in only the morning or only the evening.
    Can they " hold it" until they can get to their hidden nest out in the yard? Can they hold it for hours?
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    My chickens have technically free ranging since they were 2 1/2 weeks old, since that's the age they were when we first started letting them run around in the yard.
    My first hen to lay did so at 19 weeks old, very young for a LF brahma.
  7. chicks4kids

    chicks4kids Songster

    Apr 22, 2009
    Northern Indiana
    My BR's didn't lay their first egg until they were 25 1/2 weeks, and still at 27 weeks, some still aren't laying. Mine free range as well in the afternoon. I used to let them out when I woke up, but found that keeping them in until after lunch may encourage them to lay in the coop and not the woods somewhere.
  8. missfitch

    missfitch Songster

    Mar 23, 2009
    Marysville Ohio
    not to be discouraging but I have 33 weekers that have not started laying yet, time of year, day light and lack of motivation (they think they are dogs and just follow us around everywhere, what other purpose is there, egg what???) so were installing a light and they are molting (look for feathers around the coop) they dont lay when they molt.
    Well I'm off to the neighbors to buy some eggs for eating!!!! [​IMG]
    [​IMG] word of wisdom "don't tell them they are family or they might start to think perhaps they are not chickens" LOL [​IMG]
  9. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    What missfitch said. Last year I had a couple pullets wait till about 30-36 weeks old. They started second week of December.

  10. rainbowgardens

    rainbowgardens Songster

    Nov 19, 2008
    Central Virginia
    Alright, maybe 24 weeks old isn't unusual to have "barren" hens.
    I think I got spoiled by the fact that the dominiques I started out with last year started laying at 17 weeks. They were my first chickens, so I guess I got the idea that 24 weeks was way too long.

    I still don't understand why my friend's have been laying for so long. I thought free-range was better for the chickens... a more natural diet. Maybe the larger amount of feed in a confined bird's diet causes them to develop faster than they naturally would.

    Okay, I'll give them another week, but if I have no eggs next Monday You'll see me posting again.

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