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Late Starting Layers

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mjdtexan, Jan 20, 2009.

  1. mjdtexan

    mjdtexan Songster

    Sep 30, 2008
    I've been reading some of the post where some peoples hens start their egg laying rather late. It seems to be a theme that chicks that come of egg laying age during the cold months in states that acutally do get cold tend to hold off of laying. Is it me or does that seem to be the case?

    Would it benifit the chicken owner to plan his or her chick buying so that it coinsides with the pullet becoming 20 weeks old during the spring?

    Or am I just misreading the subject?

    Mike D
  2. katrinag

    katrinag Songster

    Some breeds are just prone to being late layers some not.
    But since it is normal for a chicken to rest during the winter and ready up for the big spring lay I would just leave nature do it thing.

    Or have hens of all different ages to better you chances of eggs in the winter.
  3. Squeaky

    Squeaky I squeak, therefore I am

    Jul 5, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    Quote:I don't have as much experience as some of the others, but I can definitely assure you my winter-maturing Rhode Island Reds started late, and that's a breed known for early maturity.
  4. SterlingAcres

    SterlingAcres Songster

    Apr 17, 2008
    Poconos, PA
    My BO pullets have started laying in the dead of winter. We got hit with -20 temps last week during the night. Depends on individual birds I'm sure.
  5. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Quote:Mike, I think you've got it just about right but for us way to the north of you, it's the light more than anything that presents the problem. Kind of like . . . one day the sun just never seems to want to go down - Summer will never end.!! A few days later (it seems), the sun comes up just before lunch, crawls along the southern horizon and disappears behind a southwestern hill before the kids get outta school in the afternoon.

    So, Chicken Little breaks out of the egg in June to endless sunshine. Within a matter of days, the light is beginning to fail . . . Shorter and shorter days - what's a pullet got to live for?? The world is turning into shades of gray and black. It's - SAD. We're all gonna freeze in the dark!!

    Chicken Little mopes her way to maturity. However, that delay in growing up may help a little considering the alternative.

    Chickie comes out of the shell with the New Year! Paaarttyy! The days get longer and longer. Heat builds and builds! Chickie wears the skimpiest of clothes. Slides on a tank top and shorts and starts hanging out with the Fast Crowd. Girls! Boys!! Hormones!!!

    Before you know it she's a teenage mom on welfare - - alone in the nest, dirt poor, no education, scratching around for groceries every month . . .

  6. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    I have two EEs that took forever and then only delivered cream colored eggs.

    The other EE started laying at 20 weeks. Beautiful bluish eggs.
  7. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    I bought my girls in the last batch the feed store had ordered. As a brand new chicken owner, I didn't know any better, plus it had entered my head fairly late in the game that getting chickens was a good idea.

    May 30 - got three standards
    End of June - got a two-month olf banty cochin
    Nov 27 - first egg from BSL
    Dec 27 - first egg from RIR
    Dec 28 - first egg from BR

    Still no signs of an egg from the banty cochin, plus the BR has stopped laying after 2 weeks. [​IMG]
  8. vermontgal

    vermontgal Songster

    You're supposed to raise pullets during hours of declining daylight. If you tried to time maturity before the summer solstice, I don't know how that would work. Early laying chickens would be likely to have their first molt and accompanying rest from laying in that first fall.

    I have never tried the different timings, I am just telling you what I have read, mostly in Gail Damerow - Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens.

    Getting chicks in ~April or May should lead to eggs by October/November when there is still enough light to lay. Many people also like to increase egg consumption in the fall. Chickens that have started laying that recently are less likely to take the fall molt.

    Getting chicks in ~January or February would lead to chickens laying before the summer solstice. I think those chicks would be likely to stop laying in Oct/Nov for a molt.

    Getting chicks in June/July (as I did) would lead to chickens ready to lay in late Nov/Dec when there may not be quite enough daylight, and so these chicks tend to be delayed in laying.

    My late June/early July chicks laid at 27-29 weeks, with the EE coming last. My first egg was 1/5, and egg production has been increasing since then. They were old enough to lay around Thanksgiving, but I did not want them to lay then because I was going away. I intended to start giving them extra light right after I got back, but instead I got sick. [​IMG] In the end, I started their light right around Christmas and started getting eggs after 1-2 weeks. They just get a couple hours of extra light in the AM, for an ~11-12 hr day. (Natural minimum day length here is 9 hours).

    It's a combo of light and maturity.

    Edited to add: My timing on chicks was based on the feedstore. Also, in April-early June I was too busy with planting the garden plus my work is always very busy at that time of year.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2009
  9. mjdtexan

    mjdtexan Songster

    Sep 30, 2008
    Thank all of yall for your responses. Our pullets were born October 29th. So, if I am correct, I might get eggs in late March or early April. Thats if the moon is just right and they've had their favorite yogurt snack, etc-etc

    Yall are great

    Mike D
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2009
  10. Indiana hens

    Indiana hens Songster

    Jun 25, 2008
    Pendleton, Indiana
    Here the problem was a dry summer/fall. It was too wet in the spring. Lack of bugs all year and no worms this fall. High protein feed was too costly. It took them longer to mature on lower protein diet.

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