How long do they shut down?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by epona4, Nov 30, 2008.

  1. epona4

    epona4 Songster

    Oct 14, 2008
    Central Indiana
    I was wondering what your experiences were with relocating chickens. We bought some at the Ohio National a few weeks ago. The seller said give them about 6 weeks before you expect to see any eggs. Does this run true to what you all have experienced?

    I'm not getting impatient. I honestly didn't expect to be getting anything over the winter and was surprised that he expects us to see eggs in Jan.

    When would you suggest i put a golf ball or false egg in the box?

  2. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    Chickens need 14 hours of light to lay so, until they get roughly that I wouldn't expect them to lay much. Some breeds,generally your high production breeds, do lay better in the winter months then others.
  3. swtangel321

    swtangel321 ~Crazy Egg Lady~

    Jul 11, 2008
    I think it all depends on the bird, maybe try giving them some extra light to get them up to 14 hours of light a day (not 24/7 light)

    Ive never had a problem with this, the last hens I added to my flock layed an egg on the way home, hubby put the box on its side to let them out (there were 2 in a big plastic tote) and there was an egg. [​IMG]

    My first RIR's (that I no longer have) layed an egg the very next day !!

    How old are the ones you got ?? Were they laying for the guy who owned them before ??
  4. epona4

    epona4 Songster

    Oct 14, 2008
    Central Indiana
    Unfortunately, I don't know the hatch date. He told me they were hatched this spring. He told my husband that they had not started laying for him yet. And he said not to expect anything till about Jan or so.

    Here's another question (maybe I should start a new thread) How old before leghorns start to lay? I just got 7 six day old chicks today! Totally unexpected. Kids bus driver raises all sorts of birds and had someone give her chicks from a local schools science class. She called and asked if we wanted them because they just don't have time for chicks right now.

    What have I gotten myself into? [​IMG]
  5. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    My girls started laying at just over 4 months old. The last to start laying was nearly 8 months old. I would expect them to start laying in sometime in March/April. I put golf balls in my nest boxes. I have been lucky and never had any lay outside of the boxes except in the very beginning when some first started laying. I found one egg under a bush. It was very warm when I picked it up so it was freshly layed. Another time I had a couple of soft eggs under the roosts.
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I can understand why the seller would say that you might expect eggs in January. What you have to keep in mind is that although winter lasts a long time (too long in my opinion), December 21st is the shortest day of the year. After that the days start getting longer again. So, January eggs would not be impossible. I'd think more like February - March though.
  7. epona4

    epona4 Songster

    Oct 14, 2008
    Central Indiana
    Quote:My DH and I were talking about that last night. It was 6:30 and felt like 10pm! He said "I know why pagans celebrated the solstice!" We're looking forward to the longer days.

  8. dancingbear

    dancingbear Songster

    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    Quote:Moving my chickens has never put them out of lay, not even for a day or two. So my guess is the seller's hen's have been slow starters. He may just not want you to expect eggs too
    soon, from young pullets.

    I've usually moved chickens at night. Take them off the roost at the old place, put them on the roost in the new place. They wake up in a new home, new nests to explore, fresh straw on the floor, they love it. I keep them closed up the first day, if it's the whole flock, then let them out to range after that. If it's just a few new birds, I let them out with the rest the next day, they follow the old timers in at dark.

    It is recommended to quarantine new birds away from the rest of your flock, for a couple of weeks to a month, to make sure the newcomers are healthy before you expose your old birds to them.

    What breed are they? Or are they mutts? Some breeds begin to lay at around 20 weeks, others may take nearly a year to start. Some of my pullets from this spring just started laying abut a week ago. They were early spring chicks, and molted before they started laying. Yours might go through a molt before they lay. Some of my other young ones don't seem to be molting, but it's not always obvious, if they are "slow molters", shedding and replacing only a few feathers at a time. Others look like they exploded.

    I'd say just leave a handful of golf balls in the nest boxes, and don't worry about it. Seeing egg-ish items before they're ready to lay won't do any harm. Seeing eggs may actually trigger the production of hormones that start them laying. Some hens do get a hormone shift triggered by the sight of a nest full of eggs, that causes them to go broody. That won't happen until after they start laying, though, and with most hens (note I said most, not all, there are always a few oddballs around) they won't brood in the winter.

    Whenever the hormones kick in, and they get the urge to lay, the sight of the fake eggs (or golf balls, or whatever) will be a visual trigger for their instinct to lay in a darkened, sheltered, spot. They might lay outside the nest the first few times, until they figure out what's happening. I give them a 16% protein ration, but not layer feed, until they start to lay. Then switch to layer feed.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2008

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by