Girls laying soon...?

concrete_boots

Songster
Apr 7, 2019
133
176
121
NJ
First time chicken’ers here..our hens are 18weeks now...for the past month or more they have been going into their coop themslves at night, roosting for bed, and happily freeranging for a few hours almots everyday...we have switched to layer pellets, opened up the nesting boxes (they were blocked off), they do squat when you pet them, but some have more developed combs and wattles than the others..all same exact age..2 Orpington, 1 australop, 1 EE, 1 BR...
Should we be looking for eggs soon or is there anything else we can be doing...?



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oldhenlikesdogs

I Want Ice Cream
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Jul 16, 2015
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They look close, especially the barred rock. Sometimes the switch to a layer will delay development as often it's lower in protein than a starter grower. I generally leave them on it and put out a separate bowl of oyster shells for the calcium needs. The ones not laying don't need the extra calcium either that a layer contains.
 

concrete_boots

Songster
Apr 7, 2019
133
176
121
NJ
Thanks !
They started on dumar chick starter until 10weeks, then moved to the grower/finisher that was still crumbles..we just switched over to purina layer pellets with the oyster calcium..but I actually mixed the finisher crumble with the new pellets..they have a 4ft long pvc feeder that goes into the coop so I introduced the pellets by mixing the current food with the new...
Maybe a little early but we’re anxious and added the ceramic eggs to nesting boxes, I’m really curious to look in the morning if they explored the boxes at all or pooped in them
 

gtaus

Free Ranging
Mar 29, 2019
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Northern Minnesota
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Very nice pictures or your birds. My girls are a couple weeks younger than yours, but I am getting anxious too for that first egg. Wish I could let them free range in the yard, but I live on a lake and we have too many Bald Eagles and hawks overhead all the time. Had to settle for a chicken run with bird netting overhead.
 

concrete_boots

Songster
Apr 7, 2019
133
176
121
NJ
Very nice pictures or your birds. My girls are a couple weeks younger than yours, but I am getting anxious too for that first egg. Wish I could let them free range in the yard, but I live on a lake and we have too many Bald Eagles and hawks overhead all the time. Had to settle for a chicken run with bird netting overhead.


We live on the bay (salt water) so there are plenty of predators to be aware of also...I’ve seen..racoons, red fox, opossum, red tail hawks, bald eagles, etc...our neighboring town also “employs” falcons to patrol the coastline during the day to chase off seagulls....but most common tho are osprey and herons wich both eat fish. We stay outside with them or keep a very close eye when they are free ranging..
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
97,737
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SW Michigan
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A few sure look ready...put some fake eggs in the nests.
Might be time for some exams...
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/who-is-laying-and-who-is-not-butt-check.73309/

Then might want to keep them confined until they start using the nests.
Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop for a week or so can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop and maybe run 24/7 for a few days to a week, provided you have adequate space and ventilation, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.
 

concrete_boots

Songster
Apr 7, 2019
133
176
121
NJ
A few sure look ready...put some fake eggs in the nests.
Might be time for some exams...
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/who-is-laying-and-who-is-not-butt-check.73309/

Then might want to keep them confined until they start using the nests.
Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop for a week or so can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop and maybe run 24/7 for a few days to a week, provided you have adequate space and ventilation, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.

Thanks !
I did add the fake eggs to the nest boxes..I understand they don’t “know” to lay in the boxes right away but I would feel so bad to lock them in the coop. Their small coop door has been open for over a month now. The run is very secure, but maybe I can start shutting it again at night and not open until late morning ? Then don’t let them free range too much for a little while..coop is more than adequate I just feel bad haha. It’s got 2 small 3” round vents and a window..run is plenty big for them to stay in there, we were just having so much fun starting to let the, free range but obviously don’t want to be chasing eggs around the yard.
 

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