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Frustrated with new hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by tdepointe, Nov 28, 2015.

  1. tdepointe

    tdepointe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am becoming frustrated with these hens. I have 12 that are 6 months and have been getting one egg a day for the past 3 weeks. one day I had 2. It only appears 3 of the hens are laying, because the others combs are still pale.

    I forgot to mention for a couple of days they were flying over the fence and laying somewhere in the woods. They would only fly out at about the time they had been laying. I fix the escape issue and I am getting my one egg a day again.

    This is the first time have not been raising hens without supplemental lighting and heat and it and such a small flock. This is also the first time I had production red.

    At what age would you expect the majority of the flock mature with these condition. I am feeding 20% protein feed with oyster shell free choice.

    I pray they more start laying soon.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Sexual maturity and the ability to produce sperm and ovulation in most animals is closely related to season.
    At 6 months I would expect most to be laying if they reached that age between the winter solstice and the summer solstice. However, chickens maturing when nights are getting longer and days shorter, they can take from 1-4 months longer.
    You are feeding them fine and at 6 months. they are fully grown so you can probably cut them back to a 17-18% protein.
    To kick start them, since you're frustrated, add a light on a timer slowly increasing the day length. By the time you reach a 13 hour day most should have started laying.
    Otherwise, you'll just have to be patient. They'll lay eventually.

    To take the mystery out of it, here's a brief rundown of the science.
    Light exposure to the retina is first relayed to the nucleus of the hypothalamus, an area of the brain that coordinates biological clock signals. Fibers from there descend to the spinal cord and then project to the superior cervical ganglia, from which neurons ascend back to the pineal gland. The pineal gland translates signals from the nervous system into a hormonal signal.

    The gland produces serotonin and subsequently, melatonin. That's the hormone that affects the gonads for sperm production and ovulation in females. An increase in melatonin causes the gonads to become inactive. As photoperiod in relation to day vs. night is the most important clue for animals to determine season. As light lengthens, the gonads are rejuvenated. The duration of melatonin secretion each day is directly proportional to the length of the night because of the pineal gland's ability to measure daylength. Besides reproduction, it also affects sleep timing and blood pressure regulation.
     
  3. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    They may start laying soon, but with the shorter days, its possible they could wait until spring. If it were me, I'd step down to a lower protein (less expensive) feed while they're not laying. They're bodies aren't being taxed by egg laying, so the extra protein isn't necessary right now. It'll save you a bit of money and take the sting out of having to buy those eggs at the store.
     
  4. Leisure105

    Leisure105 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 28, 2015
    Sorry to hijack this thread but I'm trying to start a new thread and can't. Any advice where to find the "start a thread" button
     
  5. tdepointe

    tdepointe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the science part of it.
    I know I could add light but This is a new home, when built the coop I chose not to put power understanding the production would be down.
    This is more of a rant than anything else.
     
  6. tdepointe

    tdepointe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There is one next to the Post a Reply button and also at the top of the specific Forum page i.e. Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2015
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Feel free.
     
  8. slordaz

    slordaz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You need to have so many posts before you can start threads, I think it's 10. So introduction section would be a good place or asking questions in one of the sections you have an interest in

    Some take longer than others to mature just have patience. this late in the year unless your in the south without providing supplemental light they won't lay everyday anyways. My Barred rocks are even sporadic and supposed to be good winter layers but the leghorns really cut down. They did lay a lot longer than others around the area as when it's really cold would make them some oatmeal with cayenne pepper and before cold set in to bad had put the nesting box in between bales of hay for added insulation.
     
  9. Leisure105

    Leisure105 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the info. I guess this counts as 2 posts now. But looking for advice. I have a hen that molted in late summer and then got the sniffles. She recovered but did stop laying eggs and started acting a little like the rooster does(chuckling when finding food and she was staying away from the group if the rooster was around). Since then the rooster has been picking on her quite a bit. No open wounds and she knows how to avoid him but they are now enclosed in the heated side of the coop and I'm worried he might hurt her. Do you think he will quit eventually or what should I do.
     
  10. tdepointe

    tdepointe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the response. as I said to ChickenCanoe, I know the production will be reduced without lighting. I built the coop with insulation on all six sides, surprisingly it has been stayed above freezing on the nights it got down into the upper teens. And yes it dose have good ventilation that is why it surprised me. The nesting boxes are also against the south side of the coop and at this time of year it gets full sun for what that is worth for heat on cold days.
     

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