Hens growing too slow?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by KPhomestead, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. KPhomestead

    KPhomestead New Egg

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    Nov 20, 2013
    MN
    I have about 20 hens that are around 21 weeks old. They are a number of different breeds: RIR, Barred Rocks, and a couple other breeds that I cant determine for sure, but all brown egg layers.
    At this age I would think they are getting near ready to start laying, but as far as development they seem to be behind. They have very small combs. that are pale and don't seem to be growing much.
    I wonder if the extreme cold around here has slowed them down maybe. Or maybe I am just jumping the gun?
    Any thoughts would be appreciated.
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    21 weeks of age is borderline for onset of egglaying - the increasing day length will spur egg production shortly. Just be patient.
     
  3. 3chickchicks

    3chickchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you can post a pic, some here might be able to give you an idea.

    Mine waited until 24 and 25 weeks to lay. I know people post about their 14 week pullets starting but that's reeeally early so you just have to wait. Some additional light may speed them up or they may just wait until they are ready regardless. From what I understand, the longer they wait, the less problems you have.
     
  4. KPhomestead

    KPhomestead New Egg

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    Nov 20, 2013
    MN
    Thanks for the responses. What I am kind of wondering about is comb development on hens? At what age do they start growing a decent sized comb? I know they probably wouldn't be as large as those on my roosters, but the hens don't seem to have much of a comb at all.
    As far as the start of laying I actually hope that they can hold off of a while. With the rough winter were having up here I'd bet many of the eggs would freeze before I could collect them. Plus I tore apart my old nesting boxes and am still working to modify them into a roll out system.

    oh and Ill try to snap a couple pics tomorrow so you can see what I mean.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Some breeds just have very small combs...they might increase in size as they redden up when the girls start laying.

    How many nests and how big is your coop?
    Are all the hens the same age?
    Is there a rooster involved?

    The change to the nests can also cause stress....any change can.
    I keep a couple golf balls in all the nests all the time, they mix it up where they lay.

    One fine day you'll have more eggs than you know what to do with!!
     
  6. KPhomestead

    KPhomestead New Egg

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    Nov 20, 2013
    MN
    Quote: I am currently building the new nesting boxes, there are 8 nesting slots.

    The coop has two pens for a total of somewhere around 200-300 sq ft, so its plenty of room for the 20 or so hens and 3 roosters. All of these chickens were hatched in early October.

    The roosters all seem to be growing and developing at a normal rate (big red comb and plenty of crowing) I think I have caught them trying to mate some of the hens. ( lots of noise and a scared hen). So i'm guessing the hens are not quite ready yet.

    As far as comb development here are some pics showing what I mean.
    [​IMG]

    Full comb on roo, little to none on the hen.^
    [​IMG]

    No real combs on the hens.^
    [​IMG]

    Out of all the hens this one has the fullest comb.^
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    Have you had the birds their entire lives? I don't think they look that old, if I were to guess I'd say they were more like 4 months, even that rooster.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    One thought....when my youngers became mature the cockerel started harassing everyone, my egg count went way down...when I saw him stalking the nest boxes trying to nail both the pullets and the older hens, I secluded the jr rooster, and within several days, egg count went back up and the pullets started laying.

    You may just be going thru the adolescence stage.

    The biggest things I've learned with chickens...expect inconsistency and observation/patience can answer a lot of questions.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2014

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