How, When , and what to look for


In the Brooder
7 Years
May 16, 2012
My husband and I are new at the Chicken raising issue. We have hens and roosters all together, I know most girls lay around 20 weeks . Some people have said we have to have a Rooster for our girls to lay some say we do not. Some people say they will not lay in the cold . Since I am clueless what should I be looking for and do I really need these wacky Roosters?
Roosters are not needed for a hen to lay. LOL how silly would it be to have roosters in the large egg plants? Can you imagine the noise level. They will lay in the winter perhaps not as much as in the spring but lay they will.
When looking for whether yours are preparing to lay the combs will grow and redden. The nest box will become interesting and you will see where they have made a spot in it to sit.
First eggs are always fun. My hamburgs have just started to lay and the tiny first eggs are so cute.
Do expect small eggs at first. They will get bigger as the hens get into the swing of things.
20 weeks is the beginning of the range they start to lay. It can extend much later than that - they all mature at different rates.

You do not need a rooster for the hens to lay. A rooster offers protection as the guardian of the flock, and provides fertile eggs for hatching.

They will lay in the cold, but the decreased light in the shorter days will affect their laying. You can either deal with it naturally or add light to keep production up. In their 2nd fall, your birds will molt (regrow feathers) and they cannot lay during this time.
Well the only thing they are laying in their nest now are poo . I expect with the cold snap we have had here in NC they may not lay this season at all . Stupid question when the Roo mates with the hen will every egg be fertilized? and yes I am from the city lol

To the rooster-fertile egg question.... It depends on the hen to roo ratio somewhat. If you have one rooster and 10 or fewer hens then most would be fertile IF he is doing what roosters do. The more hens to the one rooster the less likely he will be to have mated with every hen.
Personally I prefer not to have a rooster in with the layers. Just a matter of choice.
Your hens look like they are getting close to laying. The combs are nice and red.
You have 2 perhaps 3 roosters?
How many hens total do you have?
Nice looking birds by the way.
You have an awful lot of roosters there. How many hens do you have?

A hen can store sperm for up to 3 weeks. It depends on your rooster/hen ratio on fertility.
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Im not sure what are ratio is right now , The Rhode Island reds went home to chicken heaven because they kept chasing me to the car, Now I think possibly 4 roosters and 5 hens . Which means they really need to go to chicken heaven too. :-( We normally take them to a friend who uses them for food. Those pictures were taken over the summer so I thought for sure we would have had eggs by now. We added what my husband thought were hens which to me to appear to be roosters. His friend has tons of birds that he has been swapping out.

Not sure where you live at but perhaps you can put some of those great looking roosters on a swap board at your local feed stores. Never know.... someone could be looking for just what you have.
If I knew which ones are roosters , I would gladly just give them away. They are all really nice birds not a mean one in the bunch. Our local sale is held every Thursday . I refuse to take them out there because in our area of NC we do have issues with cock fighting locally. I do not want to give them to someone who will fight them. I would rather them go to people who would love them and take care of them or that would use them as food if needed. Like I said I am a city girl with not a whole lot of knowledge other than what I read. My husbands idea for chickens but my idea of making sure they are taken care of appropriately. Any help in identifying the men in the crowd would be greatly taken.

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