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Laying early?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by BirdLady14, Sep 3, 2014.

  1. BirdLady14

    BirdLady14 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 17, 2014
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    Hi,

    I have 5 hens (we're new at keeping chickens.) Hatch dates 4/9 and 4/16. My Buff Orpington laid her first egg on Sunday. I found her egg quite by accident and what a pleasant surprise it was! My concern is that she's not quite 5 months old yet and I've heard they start laying around six months. Obviously she's early and I'm assuming Mother Nature is doing her thing but just want to be sure. Today, she laid another egg and the whole neighborhood knew about it, lol! Come to think of it, they knew about it on Sunday also but I've noticed the hens becoming more vocal as a whole and just figured it's hormones, ha ha. When the commotion died down I went out to check and yep, there was another egg. My other question is, her eggs are definitely considered small. Is that typical for when they first start laying?

    Thanks!
    Dawn
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    All normal. They're 20 weeks, that's normal. Pullet eggs are tiny, that's normal too. They'll be bigger in a couple months.
    They'll also lay all through the winter, spring, summer and then molt at the end of next summer or fall and quit laying for a few months. That routine will continue each year thereafter.
    Are you providing oyster shell or switching to layer feed now?
     
  3. BirdLady14

    BirdLady14 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All good news! I figured it was normal but I only have one that's laying. I need to get a book and read, I feel silly relying on others for these basic answers but am glad you all are here! All the the other pullets don't seem to have a clue, although, I think my Barred Rock was mid-wifing yesterday, LOL! Yes, we switched them to layer feed about 3 weeks ago and we have been feeding them half and half of the layer feed and chick feed to use up the chick feed. We also put the oyster shell in their run when we switched so they can eat it free will and they have. The eggs definitely have a hard shell, no two ways about that.

    Actually, it wasn't until last night that I was certain it was my BO laying. There's a sticky post that shows the different egg colors and the color we have is definitely in the BO category. Her back end is also the widest out of all of them. I was noticing that the other evening when we had them out of their coop.

    Yes, all very exciting...and very unexpected, lol! I wasn't expecting anything until around the end of the month.

    Thanks for the reply!
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  4. Strader

    Strader Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ive just gotten my first egg from a Delaware that is 18 weeks old.
     
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    2 books I recommend are 'The Chicken Health Handbook' by Gail Damerow 2nd edition came out this year but the first edition can be gotten on Amazon for a couple bucks
    and 'City Chicks' by Patricia Foreman for owners of micro flocks

    Good plan on mixing the feed. That will give 2.5% calcium to those not yet laying. Not overwhelming the kidneys.

    Small eggs will normally have harder shells unless the pullet isn't getting enough calcium. They deposit 2 grams of calcium in each shell regardless of the size so larger eggs will be thinner.

    Great observation.
    For me 18 is young but I've heard as young as 15. I'm not sure that's a good thing. I lost 2 pullets once to egg binding.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  6. NC118

    NC118 Out Of The Brooder

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    Welcome NC
    I have 3 Golden comets and 1 RIR. Their hatch dates were 4/13 and all 3 of the golden comets have been laying since 8/23 but the RIR hasn't started laying yet. The eggs I'm getting are all small except for a couple double yolks that were huge. Like you said the eggs are small and they have a hard shell. I can't wait for the RIR to start laying because she is a lot bigger than the golden comets. She has been squatting for about a week now but haven't saw any eggs yet.
     
  7. BirdLady14

    BirdLady14 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chicken Canoe, Thanks for the book recommendations! There are so many of them and the first one I purchased, although fun to read, it was a VERY basic overview.

    I'll keep that 50/50 trick in mind when I add to the flock. I just did it so I wasn't wasting feed, ha ha.

    Very interesting on the 2g of calcium. That must be the same for the membrane too. We cooked the egg the next day and the shell cracked fine, it was getting through the membrane that took some muscle, ha!

    Strader, my BO is 18 weeks right now also which is why I was SO surprised. I guess it was all that watermelon I fed them, ha!

    NC118, I have a RIR also and she's still pre-teen, lol! If the wideness of the rear is any indication of readiness, then I suspect my Cuckoo Maran will be next she looks like a young turkey. She's huge and her coloring is sort of turkey color. I named her Godiva (because of the chocolate colored eggs) but I've been calling her Butterball of late. :)
     
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    The inner and outer membrane is a different issue. Many people are accustomed to store eggs that aren't fresh. The older the egg the easier it is to peel as the bond between the shell, outer/inner membrane and albumen breaks down. If you want to hard boil eggs, let them sit for a couple weeks or immerse them in an ice bath after a brief boil. Over cooking is a problem too. We bring them to a boil, turn the heat off, let them cool slightly and then the ice bath.
     
  9. BirdLady14

    BirdLady14 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm going to enjoy the "City Chicks" book for sure! I ordered a used one from Amazon. Gail Damerow's 2nd edition won't be available for another year, from what I can extract from the internet. I'm going to order the 1st edition also. Thanks for your book recommendations ChickenCanoe!
     
  10. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Glad to hear it. You'll love them both. Gail's book is IMHO indispensable for any chicken owner. Besides the health part, disease, parasites, nutrition, etc., which is awesome, there's great management information.
     
    1 person likes this.

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