Is it normal to get a few eggs from a new layer, and then nothing for a while?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Dave TBG, Oct 13, 2019.

  1. Dave TBG

    Dave TBG Chirping

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    This is all new to me and have no idea what's normal. I also have no idea if I need to do anything other than wait. I brought home 4 "day old chicks" on 5/5, 3 of them were probably a few days old (they'd been there a couple days) and the 4th was noticeably larger and may have been left from the previous week. Two have started laying, laid a shell-less egg and then stopped. One is not laying yet and the last one is a laying machine.
    First up is Bea, a Black Sex-link, she was the larger chick and continued to be the largest until recently. She looks like a mature hen and her comb and wattles have been big and red for 2 months now. No eggs yet, i guess she's just not ready yet, I'm not concerned, I'm sure her time will come.
    Next is Penelope, a ISA Brown and the second largest of the bunch. Now she and Bea are about the same size. She laid the first egg (we knew it was her thanks to the coop-cam) about 4 weeks ago and laid a few more within the next few days. Then came a shell-less egg, she laid one more normal egg a few days later but nothing since then. It's been at least 2 weeks, I wasn't worried at first but now I'm wondering if I should be doing anything different.
    The third girl is Petunia, a white Leghorn. I was betting on her to be the last to lay but she fooled me. When Penelope laid her first egg, Petunia was still the smallest with a tiny pink comb and her wattles were barely there. Less than a week later she had a floppy red comb and big wattles and laid her first egg. It had to be her, I wouldn't expect any of the others to lay a white egg. 2 days later there was another white egg and yet another the next day. The following day my wife spotted something that looked like just a yolk in the run. She was talking to the girls and she spotted it when they went back to doing chicken things and she's sure it hadn't been there a few minutes earlier. She didn't see who did it, but Penelope had laid an egg a few hours earlier (possibly her last egg) and nobody else was laying yet. That night she was in the nesting box, after an hour or so I went to move her (thinking she was planning to sleep in the box) and found a broken egg under her. There was most of a shell and both yolk and egg white in the bedding and all over her underside. I cleaned her up and put her on the roost. She laid another egg a couple days later, but none since then. Again, I wasn't worried at first, but now it's been a couple weeks and I have to wonder if there's something I should be doing differently. BTW, she's still the smallest of the flock.
    Last, but certainly not least, is our RIR, Nugget. She was about the same size as Petunia but a recent growth spurt has her just about the same size as Bea and Penelope. She started laying around the same time that the other two stopped. Like the other two she laid her first egg, took the next day off and then laid regularly for the next few days. The difference is that her "few days" was almost 2 weeks. Today was only her second day off, 13 eggs in 15 days. Almost all of them were laid between 10 and 11 in the morning.
    So that's the history. One girl is doing great and another may be a late bloomer , no worries there. The other two I don't know if I should be worried or not. I understand that it can take a while for them to get everything synchronized and running smoothly and that shell-less eggs and other oddities can happen. The fact that two hens had almost exactly the same pattern, and neither has laid since, has me wondering if there might be more to it. Diet and especially calcium come to mind. I ran out of starter crumble around labor day and switched to Flock Raiser crumble. I also changed out the contents of their "grit dispenser" (the PVC feeder from their brooder) with a mix of grit and oyster shell. Since the shell-less eggs I've switched to a layer pellet, the oyster shell/grit mix is still there. Fresh water is always available in both the coop and the run, occasionally with a little ACV. They don't get to free-range but they do get some fresh greens and the occasional treat and I'm careful that it doesn't interfere with their regular diet, just a handful of corn/mealworm scratch or sunflower seeds when I clean the coop (keeps them busy and out of the way).
     
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  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

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    The couple of diet switches may have thrown them off for a bit. Hopefully that is the problem. They are a bit young for reproductive tract problems.
     
  3. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Enabler

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    You are doing everything correctly.:old I would not worry very much,,,,, and worrying will not solve anything ether.:thumbsup
    I think the shortening daylight hours are the main factor.
    My chickens stopped laying for a few weeks now. They will not resume really laying until early Meteorological Spring. Are any of them molting by chance?
    WISHING YOU BEST,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and :welcome
     
  4. Dave TBG

    Dave TBG Chirping

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    That possibility had occurred to me. I try to switch gradually by mixing the old and new foods so they get used to it, but twice in 2 months might be a bit much.
     
  5. Dave TBG

    Dave TBG Chirping

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    My wife just texted me, she found a thin/soft shelled egg in the poop tray under the roost. It was a good hour before sunrise, I'll need to check the video to see who is sleep-laying.
     
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  6. Dave TBG

    Dave TBG Chirping

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    Nugget is in a nesting box, she's been in there at least 45 minutes now. I'm anxious to see if there's an egg, if so I'll go to the camera to see who laid the soft one.
     
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  7. Dave TBG

    Dave TBG Chirping

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    Just an update:
    Nugget spent a good 2 hours in a nesting box this morning but no egg. She went back in a couple times but still nothing. I checked the video and it turns out that the soft shell was hers, she was on the roost at 4:30 AM and it just dropped onto the tray a foot below her. This is the second time we've had this happen, an apparently sleeping chicken, on the roost, laying an egg. I had no idea this was a thing. Is it common?
    There is some good news. There was a white egg in one of the nesting boxes. Petunia has finally laid another egg!
     
  8. Granny Hatchet

    Granny Hatchet Tastes like chicken

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    Time of year and new layers it sounds pretty normal for them to start laying then stop but they dont eat as much grit as they need oyster shell and I wouldnt mix them. Try the oyster shell by itself .
     
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  9. imnukensc

    imnukensc Crowing

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    It's just new pullets getting the kinks worked out. Nothing unusual at all. And FWIW, shortening daylight hours has never affected any of my newly laying pullets. I've had pullets not start laying until late November and continue laying regularly (4-6 eggs/week) all through the winter---once they got the initial kinks worked out.
     
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  10. trumpeting_angel

    trumpeting_angel Free Ranging

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    I had one egg and then nothing for two+ weeks. Then I searched the furthest reaches of the run. There, under/behind the ramp, was a nest with 16 eggs! I filled that area with big rocks!

    I have four pullets a few weeks older than yours.

    They tried this again in a different spot when I filled the run with soft, fluffy dry leaves. Oops! Now that spot is full of big pieces of bark, pine cones, twigs, and wood chips. Clever little gals.
     

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