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My hens aren't laying, but other chicks I sold from same batch are!?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ptig78d, Nov 6, 2008.

  1. ptig78d

    ptig78d Songster

    Apr 28, 2008
    Bucksport, ME
    Good evening, all. I have a question for all you BYCers. I have 2 hens who are BR mix, and 5 RIR pullets. Now, the pullets were hatched on Jun 4 from hatchery, and the BRs were hatched at a local farm around beginning of March. Oh, we also have 2 BR mix roos.
    My BR girls have bright red wattles and combs, and the RIR's are getting there. The two roos have been mating with the two BR hens for at least a couple months.
    I was feeding them a mix of cracked corn and starter mix while they were younger, then switched to a mix of cracked corn and layer pellets about 3 months ago. As of the middle of last month, I switched to 100 % layer pellets. They get veggie food scraps as it's available.
    We live on the central coast of Maine, so daylight and temps are going down. They have an enclosed nesting box with a curtain over the door, with two plastic Easter eggs nestled in the straw.

    My wife told me this evening that her coworker, who we sold eight RIR pullets from the shipment of 25, says that the RIRs have started laying as of last weekend.

    So, my question is this: I have seen posts saying that 16% layer feed should be given.....but I think that's for people giving more scratch than feed to their chickens. Should I not be giving my chickens straight layer pellets, and add some cracked corn? The last time we fed the cracked corn mix with the pellets....they were only going for the cracked corn....so we switched to 100 % feed.

    Could the diet I am providing them be the cause of their delaying to lay? Also, do I still need to provide a container of oyster shells or egg shells for calcium?

    Thank you in advance for your answers.

  2. Southernbelle

    Southernbelle Gone Broody

    Mar 17, 2008
    I give mine just layer pellets and water. I have grit and oyster shell available in small containers hanging from the wall.

    I save corn and scratch as a treat, small amounts and not every day, it's like candy to them. If I mix it in their food, mine will throw the nice, expensive layer mash all over the place to get to the scratch and I hate it when they waste food like that! I usually just spread scratch right on the shavings in the coop to give them something to do.

    I also feed leftover kitchen scraps in a seperate pan to my birds. Stale bread, soggy cereal the kids didn't finish, scrapings from the dinner plates, apple cores, etc.

    Diet does impact how soon they'll lay, but it doesn't sound like you're doing too bad, maybe cut the scratch and corn to treat status. The red combs sounds like they'll be laying soon, usually a few weeks after they start "squatting" for the roosters they start laying. Are you checking all the potential hiding spots. My girls starting laying while I was out of town. My husband called to tell me he found a few tiny eggs and I'd had no idea because they were laying in a spot I didn't normally check, so they might have been there all along and I never looked! [​IMG]
  3. jonbanks

    jonbanks Songster

    Aug 12, 2008
    let me ask when the combs get red they are close to start laying if so im so mad cause my hens combs are red and they are definetly not laying, lol
  4. sara

    sara Title Needed Here

    I can relate. I sold my silver bantams to a nice lady on here and they are laying for her. All the rest of the bantams from the same hatch that I kept refuse to lay. [​IMG]
  5. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Are you saying that none of your hens are laying . . . neither the 8 month-old BR mix birds, nor the 5 month-old RIR?

    If the BR's are laying and the RIR's are not, I don't think you've got much to worry about. If those 34-35 week-old BR's aren't laying either, wow!

    An egg is 13% top-quality protein. The hen can't get there from the starting line without good feed. And, the crude protein in her feed may not be close to what she's putting inside an eggshell.

    She needs about one-half of the protein she eats for her own maintenance. Additional protein and other nutrients can be used for egg production. If she doesn't have surplus (& quite a bit of it), we can't expect her to produce an egg.

    My birds probably don't have the very best diet in the world. They probably get too many treats. But, there was a cockerel that showed up with this batch of pullets back in June. After we discovered the little stow-away, we gave him to a friend with chickens. She's got LOTS of birds and buys wheat and cracked corn by the barrel to cut down on feed costs (I guess that's what she's trying to do. [​IMG])

    I was out to visit the little guy a couple of weeks ago - and little guy he is! He was bigger than the pullets when we took him out. He now may be just a little better than half their size! I didn't say anything about his slow development but it was a little startling. If I adopted the friend's diet for my birds, I think there would be zero chance that they would lay this Winter.

    edited to say, cracked corn may only be about 8-10% protein and it isn't all that well balanced, either
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2008
  6. Karlachix

    Karlachix Songster

    Apr 21, 2008
    My friend and I split an order of chickens this year. Mine have been laying like crazy since early October and hers haven't produced an egg yet. We were talking about it last weekend and the main difference that we found is that she was mixing cracked corn with the feed (half and half) and I'm feeding straight feed free choice. Mine also get vegetable scraps and I started giving them scratch as an occasional treat after they started laying.

    I think mixing in the corn must make a difference.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2008
  7. ruby

    ruby Songster

    Apr 10, 2008
    Gold Hill, Alabama
    Get this egg story,,,,, My hens I raised since March were laying like crazy. I was getting 8 to 10 eggs a day! Just in the last week or so I'm down to 2 to 5. I know it's getting dark earlier and all that, but it doesn't get that cold here. We did have a cold spell. The new hens are Rhode Island reds. My other hens are Plymouth Rocks, a couple of Golden Comets. The food has not changed. Scraps from the kitchen. Oh a pumpkin !

  8. kstaven

    kstaven Crowing Premium Member

    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    I would remove the corn and any scratch grains from the diet for a couple weeks.

    Does your friend have windows on the east side of the coop or have lights on inn the evening? Light more so than heat will influence egg laying.
  9. ptig78d

    ptig78d Songster

    Apr 28, 2008
    Bucksport, ME
    Thanks for all the great suggestions. I have removed cracked corn from their diet and only give it to them as a treat. We are using Blue Seal Feed layer pellets, which the bag says has 16% Crude Protein, 2.5 % Crude Fat, and 4.0 Crude Fiber.
    My DW is picking up a bag of crushed oyster shells to add into their feed as well.
    I checked one of the two BR hens, and her vent is large and open looking...so it should be any day now. I guess I'll just have to be patient.

    My wife had a question. If the chickens were eating the eggs....would they eat the entire thing, or would there be bits of egg shell laying around?

    I don't think they are eating them....just late bloomers.
    Thanks again, BYCers!
  10. jossanne

    jossanne Songster

    Jul 11, 2008
    Gila, New Mexico
    My BR pullets that hatched March 29 have been laying for probably 6 weeks. I'm sorry yours aren't!

    When I've had eaten eggs in the past, the only evidence I'd find was an occasional bit of yolk stuck to other eggs or in the straw in the nest.

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