1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Egg Laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mdshec, Nov 12, 2014.

  1. mdshec

    mdshec Chirping

    May 18, 2014
    Abilene Texas
    I have 5 hens. 1 Leghorn (white egg layer), 2 Rhode Island Red (Brown Egg layer) that are 20 weeks old and 1 Barred Rock (Brown egg layer), 1 Marans (dark brown egg layer) that are 16 weeks old.

    Started getting eggs 2 weeks ago. Since last Friday (7 Nov 2014) I started getting 2 brown eggs per day. Today I picked up 3 brown eggs. I am assuming right now that the RIR and Barred Rock are the laying hens right now and maybe the Marans. Have not gotten any dark brown eggs but have gotten some eggs a deeper brown than the others. No White eggs as of yet.

    Could the Leghorn be a late bloomer or maybe a different breed? I am beginning to wonder if it might be a White Plymouth Rock.

    With 5 chickens I was expecting 2 - 3 eggs per day, but was hoping for some white eggs and dark brown eggs just to identify which hens are laying.

    Is there a way to tell which hens are laying besides using a video camera or separating them out. All hens except the Leghorn take a submissive squat when I pet them. The Leghorn occasionally will do it but not all the time and being that the Leghorn does like to lay on the eggs I am rather sure it is not a young rooster but most likely some other breed. Any suggestions on identifying the bird I bought thinking it was a White Leghorn?

  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Post pics of the leghorn and someone can tell you.
    Leghorns have white earlobes and Rocks have red earlobes.

    Also posting pics of their heads can help.
    A hen in lay usually has plump, bright red, almost shiny looking comb and wattles.
    It's hard to tell until you've seen it and it doesn't always hold true.

    Another way to tell is to 'measure' the distance between their pelvic bones.
    Sharp points of bone on both side of their vent, take a bit of practice to locate them.
    Less than about 2 finger widths apart = not laying, 2 finger widths or more apart = laying or close to it.

    Some folks put a dab of food coloring on their vents at night, then the next day match up corresponding vent color with color of smear on egg.

    All chickens are individuals and can mature at different rates, anywhere between 18-24 weeks is the norm.
    Some breeds, like Marans and Welsummers, can be notoriously 'late' layers.....like up to 30-40 weeks.

    You're also dealing with the shortening day length:

    The not laying could be because of lack of daylight. Sometimes first year layers will lay all winter without supplemental lighting, sometimes they won't.
    Older layers need 14-16 hours of light to lay regularly thru winter. Last winter I used a 40 watt incandescent light(this year I am using a CFL) that comes on early in the morning to provide 14-15 hours of light and they go to roost with the natural sundown. Last year I started the lighting increase a bit late(mid October), the light should be increased slowly, and the pullets didn't start laying until late December. Here's pretty good article on supplemental lighting. Some folks think that using lighting shortens the years a hen will lay, I don't agree with that theory but I also plan to cull my older hens for soup at about 3 years old.
  3. mdshec

    mdshec Chirping

    May 18, 2014
    Abilene Texas

    This is what I originally thought was a Leghorn (so said the feed store). But after reading I really think it is a White Rock.
  4. rachpatterson

    rachpatterson In the Brooder

    Oct 28, 2014
    Charleston, SC
    She looks like my Bernadette which people seem to think is a California white (a leghorn mix)
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2014

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by