Flock integration and egg laying


Nov 6, 2021
Can the presence (and intimidating behavior) of older chickens keep younger chickens from starting to lay eggs?
We have 5 chickens who are around 7 months old and have been laying for 3 months. About 5 weeks ago we added 5 more chickens who are around 5 months old; as far as we know, they aren't laying yet. Each group has its own coop, food and water, but they share a pretty good-sized run. The chickens are finally starting to really mix, which is really great. But today we found 3 eggs in the new coop--and we're guessing they were laid by the older chickens, who have been going in and out of the new coop. It seems like it's past time for the newer chickens to be laying; are they being intimidated by the older chickens coming into their home and therefore aren't laying? Should we separate them, temporarily or permanently? Thanks.
:welcome It sounds as if the integration is going well. Separating them will only result in more problems in the future. Depending on the breed, the shortening day light period, and given the transfer to a new home it is not unusual for the 5 month old birds to not be laying yet.
Point of lay is tricky. And mine seem like they should be laying a long time before they do. I now generally figure, 4 weeks AFTER the combs and wattles turn red. Different breeds begin to lay at different times, and there is a huge variance within the breed too.

To compound it, they may not lay till late January if you are in the north. If pullets start laying before the dark days of winter, they tend to keep laying, but I have had the lack of light delay the hormones for laying until the days start getting longer towards February.

I don't think the stress of the other birds has anything to do with it.

Mrs K
Can the presence (and intimidating behavior) of older chickens keep younger chickens from starting to lay eggs?
Not in my experience.

I agree that trying to guess Point Of Lay can be tricky. Even if they are all the same breed, each flock is different. Each individual pullet is different. They are going to lay when they lay. That can vary widely.

I agree that separating them would be a bad idea. It sounds like your integration is going great. Separating them could easily disrupt that and cause problems when you try to integrate them again. Chickens generally don't like change. Separating them could easily cause stress from the change and delay them starting to lay.

I personally don't see any reason life would be better for you or them if you separate them.

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