I collected eggs the other day and found an egg that looks to me like a new layer has kicked in: My main flock will be a year old in July and Aug so unless something weird is happening to one of them, I'm rulling them out as candidates for the source. The candidates for a new layer come from my newest chicks which are 8 weeks old, and are blended in with the main flock. They are welsummer, black marans, and my hybrids (which are what looks to me to be mostly langshan-daddy babies with ba, ee, favorelle, cw, and rir or nhr moms. There is a possibility that a cw was a father but almost all my hybrids have feathered shanks). --Do some breeds lay younger than typical? (Wellsummer or Black Marans specifically) --I read that some people hybridize for younger layers - indicating a 'purposeful choosing of moms'. I know my one langshan pullet was the last to begin laying - probably at 7-8 months, and I hear that is normal for the breed. This means that my hybrids should be slower to lay due to langshan dad dna, doesn't it? --If it's not dna that began the early laying, mightn't it be caused by being surrounded by productive hens? For what it's worth: My Flock History: The 'first flock' was purchased as day olds from Estes July 8th 2009, consists of buff orps, rir, nhr, ee, ba, and br. Our 'second flock' of 5 day old ba was purchased from Estes on Aug 12 and the very next weds our 'third flock' arrived from Ideal as day olds on Aug 19th and consists of black langshan, cw, glw, dominique, and salmon favorelle. I managed to blend them all together when the youngest were about a week old. I have a note from Nov 25 stating that "many hens from the first flock are getting nice red wattles and a few are making some weird sounds". I don't know who did it, but we got our first egg on Dec 12 2009 so they started laying at 5 months. Our egg count jumped in Jan so the pullets from the second/third purchase kicked in at 5 months also. This year we purchased welsummers and black marans (not copper black) from Estes on April 7th, timing the purchase to coincide with the expected hatching of a hodgepodge of eggs fathered by our langshan and cw roos and brooded and mothered by our cw and bo.