davidfchickens

In the Brooder
Oct 5, 2020
33
77
43
Hello,

I have six Buff Orpington pullets that are almost 20 weeks of age. Most of them have developed bright red comb and waddles, kind of squat when I pet them and then "shake off" after, I checked the most mature ones pelvic bone and it feels like an egg could fit. I wonder though with the shorter days coming if they will start laying in time? I really don't want to put a light in my coop, but it is nice to have farm fresh eggs during the colder cozy months. Anyways the wait is killing me. I have opened their nesting boxes, and there are golf balls in them, I have heard their egg song, and went out, no egg. They free range under supervision, so there aren't eggs outside. Any thoughts? I have made similar threads but I am literally dying for eggs over here.
 

Aapomp831

Crowing
Oct 4, 2017
1,453
2,055
251
Lincolnton, NC
Typical laying age is 21 weeks. With the upcoming winter, it might delay them, but if you are seeing all the signs then I’m sure they will start laying soon. It will probably be a little sporadic, but come spring you should see regular egg laying.
Make sure they are on layer feed and have access to free choice oyster shells; don’t be put off if you get some wonky eggs in the beginning as their reproductive systems are just getting used to this.
 

rosemarythyme

Crossing the Road
Jul 3, 2016
12,600
23,407
792
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
So should I put them on a laying feed?
You can switch to layer now, delay until you actually have eggs (which is what I do), or never switch at all if you're happy with current feed and supplement calcium on the side. No "correct" way to do it.

BOs tend to start laying on the later side, so you may still be several weeks out before you see eggs, though the squat and red combs and widening hips are all good signs. Have you seen them exploring the nest boxes yet? Exploring/messing up nests is another good indicator that they're close to laying.

I've never supplemented light but all my pullets have started laying in fall or winter, so while shortening daylight hours may delay laying, I would still expect most of the birds to start laying before next spring.
 

davidfchickens

In the Brooder
Oct 5, 2020
33
77
43
Yes! Actually went out today and one of the nesting boxes looked foraged up. The golf ball was buried, and it looked like she was trying to get to the darkest corner maybe?

And I think I will wait till my first egg, keep giving calcium-rich treats/veggies, and then slowly mix the layer and 20% for a little bit to give them time to adjust.
 

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