How can I get my hens to lay?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by DirtyPete, Dec 12, 2010.

  1. DirtyPete

    DirtyPete New Egg

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    Dec 12, 2010
    Burlington, VT
    I bought 3 pullets in June, they were born in April/May. One started laying in early September, the other 2 have yet to start laying. How can I get them to start laying?

    They've been fed layer pellets since I bought them.

    The two that aren't laying are a Buff Orpington and an Ameracauna.

    I built a full coop a week ago, and have been keeping a 25w incandescent light on from 4am to 8pm. I'm in VT, getting only about 12 hours of sunlight. Before that, were living in a chicken coop with no supplemental light.

    They aren't laying anywhere else, they're contained in a pen all day.

    How do I get these girls popping out eggs? Is there a way to force them to lay like 24 hour light?
     
  2. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    Welcome to BYC. I'll see if I can help, but there are others who will help as well.

    Number one - pullets will lay when they are ready to lay. Some start earlier than others. That's just the way it is. I know it can be hard to be patient. With birds this young, you probably don't have to light the coop for extra hours either. Mine were born in April. Two are molting, but the other two are laying regularly with no extra light.

    Next, Layer feed should not be fed to pullets under about 16 - 18 weeks as the extra calcium can damage their kidneys. While they are growing they need the extra protein that chick starter/grower feed offers.

    Perhaps you could post some pictures and we could tell if they look close to laying.

    Good luck.
     
  3. RareBreedFancier

    RareBreedFancier Surrounded by Broodies

    Nov 5, 2010
    Australia :)
    They should have been getting grower food when you brought them home.

    Lower protein in the layer feed may well have caused them to mature slower than they would have on the proper feed. That said, it's winter so I wouldn't be expecting to much from them till spring.

    You defiantly can't force them to lay by subjecting them to 24 hour light. They need to sleep to grow and mature properly. I think you will just have to be patient.

    What breed is the girl who is laying?
     
  4. DirtyPete

    DirtyPete New Egg

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    Dec 12, 2010
    Burlington, VT
    Thanks for the responses. Sounds I'll like going to wait this out. Really just wanted to make sure they weren't in any danger by not laying.

    I just took a video for you, , Orpington and Ameracauna both have looked mature for the past couple months, red around the faces and not getting much bigger.

    Girl that is laying is a black sex link, great layer.

    I've had a few hens before, but these are the first I bought as pullets.
     
  5. swimmer

    swimmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 17, 2010
    Utah
    They will probably start when you least expect it. Mine did over Thanksgiving weekend when we had two feet of snow.
     
  6. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    I watched the video. They look good, but the BO has the appearance of being younger than mine when she started laying in August. You might give them some extra protein to help them grow more?
     
  7. DirtyPete

    DirtyPete New Egg

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    Dec 12, 2010
    Burlington, VT
    I mixed 1 cup of ground up dried cat food to about 8 cups of layer pellets. Think this is enough or too much? Are there better/cheaper sources for protein? Will cat food hurt them?

    Thanks
     
  8. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,787
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    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    I haven't ever given cat food. I've read though that you're supposed to give it in moderation, but I'm not sure what that means in terms of measurement. Black Oil Sunflower Seeds are pretty cheap. You can also give meat and fish scraps. Other sources might be yogurt, hard boiled (smash it up so it doesn't look like an egg) or scrambled eggs etc.
     
  9. Cavendish Chickens

    Cavendish Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 24, 2010
    Summit County, Ohio
    We spoil the crap out of our chickens. They get scrambled eggs, dry and cooked oatmeal, cracked corn, fruits (like bananas, strawberries, apples, etc), cottage cheese, cheese, yogurt, veggies (like canned corn, corn on the cob, green beans, etc.), and so much more. I never give them meat though. They would probably like it, but I worry about them getting too much of a taste for it. The closest to meat they get are crickets, meal worms, maggots, etc. that you can buy at the stores. No beef, pork, turkey, ... or chicken. lol

    Spoil the crap out of them and when they are ready to lay, they'll really lay some good ones. As if like a thank you. My girls are great layers, and I only have two hens. (and a roo) I have a light brown leghorn hen, a white rick hen, and a speckled sussex roo. Good luck, and just be patient.
     
  10. donsmit5

    donsmit5 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 30, 2010
    I have 5 Americana hens that were born in April and only 1 is laying she started on Dec. 9th, just be patient. As you have heard from others on BYC they will lay when they lay.

    Just enjoy them.
     

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