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Lay time for Buffs and Americaunas?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by gadus, Oct 15, 2016.

  1. gadus

    gadus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 28, 2015
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    I bought red and black stars, buff orpingtons and Americaunas back in late April, first week of May. Two reds and one black are now laying daily, the reds having commenced laying at around the 20 week mark, the black within the last week.

    All of them are well over the 5 month mark. What is peoples' experience with start times for the other breeds?

    I'm still feeding all birds grower (15 %) until they all start laying, as I was told to do by my local feed store. Supplementing with scratch, compost and oyster shell (largely untouched).

    The three eggs I'm getting daily have super hard shells so it seems they're getting adequate calcium.

    For two weeks now also I've ben getting up and turning on a light for them when the sky starts to lighten; at that hour, it also helps them to see in getting down from the roost.
    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2016
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Sexlinks often start laying sooner than other breeds...
    .....average range of onset of lay for most breeds is 18-26 weeks.
    But nothing is carved in stone...and chicken can't read anyway.

    15% protein is low, IMO...and the scratch and other foods are diluting that further.

    I like to feed a flock raiser/grower/finisher 20% protein crumble full time to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat. I do grind up the crumbles (in the blender) for the chicks for the first week or so.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer. I adjust the amounts of other feeds to get the protein levels desired with varying situations.

    Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container. You can sprinkle a dozen or so pieces of oyster shell on top of feed to help get pullets to start eating it.



    Signs of onset of lay---I've found the pelvic points to be the most accurate.
    Squatting:
    If you touch their back they will hunker down on the ground, then shake their tail feathers when they get back up.
    Tho not all birds will do this, especially if there's a cockbird in the flock.
    This shows they are sexually mature and egg laying is close at hand.

    Combs and Wattles:
    Plump, shiny red - usually means laying.
    Shriveled, dryish looking and pale - usually means not laying.
    Tho I have found that the combs and wattles can look full and red one minute then pale back out the next due to exertion or excitement, can drive ya nuts when waiting for a pullet to lay!

    Vent:
    Dry, tight, and smaller - usually not laying.
    Moist, wide, and larger - usually laying

    Pelvic Points 2 bony points(pelvic bones) on either side of vent:
    Less than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means not laying.
    More than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means laying.
     
  3. gadus

    gadus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 28, 2015
    Maine
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    That's what I've used for 3 years...IMO it's fine for mature hens,
    you just have to provide oyster shells in a separate container for the extra calcium they need when they are laying.
    Don't believe verbatim everything the feed manufacturers tell you, remember that their primary business is selling feed.
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Great advice from aart, as usual.

    I'm just going to add, Orpingtons are slower to mature. Sex links are high production bred birds and are expected to start laying sooner. Orpingtons are slower growing, they haven't been bred for the high production rate so much. So 6 months isn't out of line for them.

    Ee are kind of all over the place. My hatchery birds from years ago started around 5 months, but reports on this board the last few years have been some are pretty late to start laying, like after 25 weeks.
     

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