Immature RIR's and Lazy Flock

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by shaky6, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. shaky6

    shaky6 Out Of The Brooder

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    My RIR hens are 10 months old now and still aren't laying. I decided to lose some of the dead weight yesterday because my chickens are feeding me one way or the other. While butchering it was as if none of them had matured yet, there were no eggs in any sort of development phase. Anyone ever dealt with this before? I'm just trying to figure out why my flock is the least unproductive of any in existence. I had 13 hens yesterday(RIR, Black Aust, White Rock), one rooster, and one 3 month cockerell (one of their chicks, last one from an incubator batch). They are free range, fed layer pellets as a daily supplement, gorge themselves on plums, pears, and whatever is growing around the farm, and won't sit on an egg to save their life. I seriously have the laziest, spoiled rotten flock known to man. When I confine them in the coop for a few days to get an egg count, I get maybe 2 eggs a day, usually 1. Where did nature go wrong on this batch?
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    They may simply be a slower maturing line. Did you buy them from a farm or breeder? Did you talk to the seller about this?
     
  3. shaky6

    shaky6 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mt. Healthy Hatchery, hatched on Jan 3rd of this year. Never considered calling them, but I have just sent them an email with all the details. This is actually going more into the weeds than I ever wanted for chickens. I really just wanted to keep it simple, cross them with my New Hampshire roo so I could have my own production line and endless supply of meat and eggs. This isn't really a cherished pet kind of thing.
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Hmm, interesting. I'm a LONG way from an expert about heritage breeds, but when I've heard of problems with production or late laying, its been with breeder quality or show birds (I don't even know what the difference is.) It will be interesting what the hatchery says.

    One thing, chickens have a set number of eggs at birth. If they start laying late, they should lay longer. Just as, many people add light to keep "daylight" 14 hour year round, to increase production. In the long term, though, it shouldn't change the number of eggs you get from a hen, just the number you get in a certain time frame. (Forgive me if I'm saying things you already know.)
     
  5. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    I agree that it's a strange thing, but one thing in your description did jump out at me; "fed layer pellets as a daily supplement."

    I'm wondering if they aren't getting enough to eat. Layer pellets aren't a supplement, they are the main food source. Foraging is the supplement to layer pellets, not the other way around. Are you feeding them layer feed free-choice, or are they eating all of it every day? If they are not getting enough food, then I could well imagine that the flock would be the way you describe. Pears, plums, etc. would not give them a balanced diet, and they'd be WAY low on protein and calcium.

    Laying hens should never, ever run out of feed. Even a few hours without feed can mess up their laying for days.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013
  6. shaky6

    shaky6 Out Of The Brooder

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    The key take away is, they haven't layed yet at 10 months old. The hatchery said they have never spoke to anyone about this kind of issue before but they hatch thousands and don't really keep up with that kind of thing. They suggested 3 doses of worming to see if there is some parasite infestation.

    As far as their food, I live in southern Alabama where their cockroaches they feast on grow the size of your thumb. They are certainly not underfed birds given the season we've had. They get half of the weight per pound of bird recommendaiton in layer pellet. If the wormer treatment has no results after a few weeks, I will experiment for two more weeks by allowing them to gorge on feed with their free range. Another point to remember, the Black Australorps are laying still.
     

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