Egg Laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by tour1018, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. tour1018

    tour1018 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 4, 2011
    This is my first year having chickens and I have a group of 6 (2 Dominques, 2 Marans and 2 Spanish) that were hatched on June 21st, they are 21 weeks old today. My question is, does the time of year (Season) affect the beginning of egg laying. I'm adding 4 hours of extra light in the mornings also to help. Thanks, Michelle
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2011
  2. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    From what I understand, pullets in their first year are not deterred by the shorter daylight hours as older hens are.
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    You're doing all you can. A pullet will begin to lay when her body is ready and it tells her to lay. I'll happen.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    [​IMG] Welcome to the forum! [​IMG] Glad you joined us! [​IMG]

    You are talking about starting laying. That's a bit different than continuing to lay through the winter. My first year pullets that start to lay in summer or fall usually lay through the winter and all the next laying season. So if yours start laying, I'd expect them to lay until they molt in fall/winter of 2012.

    The latest I have had come into lay was mid-October. Days were shorter than 12 hours, but not by a lot. I've never had any the right age to start later, so I have not experienced that. I've got two this year that should be the right age to start laying sometime in December. Guess I'll find out for myself in another month. Days don't get much shorter than in December and I don't provide extra light.

    Commercial operations don't want their pullets to start laying too early. They want the pullets to get mature enough so they will lay decent sized sellable eggs when they lay. The commercial operations control that by keeping the hours of daylight pretty short, 8 or 9 hours maybe, I'm not real sure, then expanding the light to 14 hours a day. The increase in daylight hours tends to start them laying when they are old enough to start laying. With a commercial breed specially bred to start laying at an early age, they know when that is. With our chickens not being those commercial breeds, they can start laying any time, early or real late. We just don't know when ours will start, even in the Spring/Summer.

    Don't get hung up on the 14 hours of light the commercial operations use. It works for them with 5,000 laying hens of a certain commercial breed in controlled conditions. The 14 hours is about their feeding schedule and other things than just an absolute requirement of light to lay eggs. Hens fairly close to the equator never see 14 hours of light and do fine. Hens far enough from the equator to see more than 14 hours of light will sometimes molt when the days get shorter, even if 14 hours of light is provided. Chickens adjust. If the four hours extra you are providing was an incease in light, I'd think that will work, regardless of how much light they actually see.

    Bottom line is that I do not know if yours will start laying this winter or not. With the extra light you are providing, I expect they will, but mine sometimes slow down in high heat in the summer and those cold spells in the winter. Light is not the only thing that seems to affect laying. I agree you have done what you can. When they are ready to lay, they will.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2011
  5. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    I was under the impression that "commercial operations" kept their lights on a lot longer than 14 hours. I think saying that people who keep 14 hours of light on their laying flock are like commercial operations is not fair. JMHO
  6. tour1018

    tour1018 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 4, 2011
    Sounds like the real question here is whether or not they will start laying due to the shortened days if they never started! Has anyone had their pullets start laying in November or December?
  7. Tracydr

    Tracydr Chillin' With My Peeps

    My Pullets, all different breeds, just started laying this week. Most of them started all on one day! I have 18 Pullets. Egyptians, Buttercups, Hamburgs, Silver Leghorns and Easter Eggers. I think there are just a few who haven't laid yet.
    Hatch date was June 10. They are getting added lights in the evening.
  8. silkymom1986

    silkymom1986 The Silkie Villa

    Sep 28, 2011
    Byhalia, MS
    I have 3 RIR hens that were hatched in MArch and still aren't laying, some just take longer then others in my opinion, I have a silkie younger then them that started laying last week, [​IMG] it will happen, I understand your frustration though, I keep saying my RIR should start anyday now, lol, it's always 1 more week.
  9. Terri O

    Terri O Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mine were hatched in April and several have not started laying yet...I am providing extra light too. THe breeds are marans, ameracaunas and buckeyes. THe eggs do seem to be coming better now that I have added the lights. The buckeyes laid their first eggs at the beginning of November. I am hoping all 5 start laying--I think only 1 is at present! Terri O
  10. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Quote:Yes. We just had our youngest batch of BR pullets start this week. I've also had production reds, Bovans, start on New Year's Day, one of the darkest weeks of the year. Yes, I use light, I have to do chores at 6 am and I have to see. Pre-dawn only. On a 5 am and off at 10 am.

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