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Egg laying question from a newbie

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Cel45, Nov 5, 2015.

  1. Cel45

    Cel45 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All, I hope this is the forum to post this on. I am new here and it seemed like the right match. I raised various poultry as a kid during my summers off, but new to raising chickens for eggs. I bought two production reds and was told that they were 18 weeks old. That would make them close to 21 weeks now. I had them on layer crumbles, but when I red the label, it said to use from the time the first egg is laid. I now have them on grower. I have posted pictures. Their combs and wattles are not very red at all. So here are my questions:
    1. Do they look 21 wks. old?
    2. Any expert opinions on whether they might lay soon?
    3. Was the feed idea a good thing?
    Thanks,
    Chuck
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    They are probably a few weeks away. You did the right thing changing back to grower feed until they lay. This time of year with shorter days, one never knows when lay will commence.
     
  3. Cel45

    Cel45 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks

    --Chuck
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Hard to say age, especially if just a matter of a few weeks.
    Were they laying before?
    Moving stress can halt laying for awhile.

    Signs of onset of lay---I've found the pelvic points to be the most accurate.
    Squatting:
    If you touch their back they will hunker down on the ground, then shake their tail feathers when they get back up.
    This shows they are sexually mature and egg laying is close at hand.

    Combs and Wattles:
    Plump, shiny red - usually means laying.
    Shriveled, dryish looking and pale - usually means not laying.
    Tho I have found that the combs and wattles can look full and red one minute then pale back out the next due to exertion or excitement, can drive ya nuts when waiting for a pullet to lay!

    2 bony points(pelvic bones) on either side of vent:
    Less than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means not laying.
    More than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means laying.


    My Feeding Notes: I like to feed a 'flock raiser' 20% protein crumble to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer. I adjust the amounts of other feeds to get the protein levels desired with varying situations.

    Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    Animal protein (mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided during molting and if I see any feather eating.
     
  5. Cel45

    Cel45 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Aart, I bought them at 18 was and they had not started laying yet to my knowledge. I am building them a larger permanent coop and run, so laying may take awhile.
     
  6. chickmomma03

    chickmomma03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm learning this. They start laying when they start laying. I have some that started "early" and some that are holding out on me. My cochins are 6 1/2mos and not laying yet while all the others that are 6 1/2mos are laying. 1 of my easter eggers is laying (she laid her first at 5mos) and they are only 21wks. My cochins keep going back and forth between pink and red. Since I have a rooster mine are all on grower feed and I supplement oyster shells.
     
  7. chickmomma03

    chickmomma03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, and my leghorn who is 6 1/2mos old started laying when she was only 17wks old (4mos 1wk), no, I'm not kidding. I got her as a day old so I'm positive of her age when she laid.
     
  8. Spartan22

    Spartan22 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had my 3 leghorns lay eggs @exactly 17 wks too, which was early. I expected others to do so, not the case most laid eggs @20-22 wks. I have love hate relationship with leghorns, they don't skip a day in laying yet they bully others off the roost and nests.
     
  9. chickmomma03

    chickmomma03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote: Mine doesn't do that, but she's usually first to lay in the morning! I have 2 that are same age, and still not laying (6mos 3wks), they are cochins, and they are taking their sweet time *eye roll*. My EE are younger 5mos 2wks and I have 1 of the 4 laying already, she started at 5mos. I have 10 pullets and 1 cockerel, 5 of the pullets are laying, in the same nesting bin too lol.
     

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