New chicks not laying eggs...please help!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by UrbanRoots, Oct 12, 2016.

  1. UrbanRoots

    UrbanRoots Out Of The Brooder

    12
    3
    21
    Oct 12, 2016
    Hi there! My friend got some baby chicks, which should be laying by now but aren't! Hers are older than mine and mine have started laying but not hers. She is concerned so I told her I would reach out here to see if I can help get her answers. So, she has hens that are a year old and then she has baby chicks that are approx. 20 weeks. She never did introduce them in the same coop, however they wander the yard together when they are out. So each set of hens has their own "home" away from each other. The new hens are in a temporary home while they add on to the existing coop to make room for all of them. Therefore, there are no nesting boxes and no actual coop for them to go into. Where they are kept is more of just a run...it's where they stack their wood but it's closed in with fence. They should be laying by now but aren't, any suggestions? Thanks in advance for the help!
     
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    25,645
    1,834
    463
    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    A couple of possiblities...are hers a different breed? They all start laying at different ages...maybe hers are just a little later?? Secondly, is it possible that hers are laying outside the coop somewhere? They can be crafty where they lay until they learn about the nesting boxes.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,108
    3,312
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    It’s a good question but there can be many different possible reasons. I’ll see how many I can come up with.

    Is there a difference in breeds? While each pullet is an individual and will lay when they start to lay, different breeds have different tendencies. Also, were they sourced from the same place even if they are the same breed? Strain can make a big difference in breeds. If yours come from a flock that normally lays early and hers come from a flock that normally lays later, yours should start laying earlier than hers, even if they are the same breed.

    Have you been feeding them differently? If yours are getting higher levels of protein, yours will probably start laying earlier.

    How many do each of you have? Each chicken is an individual and will lay when they lay. There are breed and strain tendencies but you have to have enough for the averages to mean anything.

    Are you providing extra light to lengthen the day? Light is very important when chickens start to lay or molt and quit laying. I don’t know if you are north or south of the equator. If you are north of the equator the days are getting shorter. If you are south, days are getting longer. Some chickens are very sensitive to that, some not so much.

    20 weeks is fairly young for pullets to start to lay. I’ve had some start at 16 weeks but that’s pretty rare. With production breeds 20 weeks would not be that unusual but I’ve had some of the production breeds start much later than 20 weeks. Decorative breeds typically start later. Yours laying early may be the unusual ones.

    Are they hiding a nest? They can be really sneaky about that. Often pullets will learn from older hens where to lay but not always.

    I’m sure I’m missing some possibilities but at 20 weeks there is no cause for alarm.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Yep, I agree with other posters. There is nothing to worry about. My white leghorn that I was told would lay at 16 weeks barely started at 22. [​IMG] My barred rock, all from the same place started laying at 20, 22, and 24 weeks. So I would say it's still early for your friend and you just got lucky. [​IMG] Mine have also been very crafty about hiding spots. [​IMG]

    Also, your friend is lucky to have not had any predators dig into that run. There are so many predators. Maybe not as many where y'all are though. [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Waiting on eggs can be so hard! [​IMG]
     
  5. UrbanRoots

    UrbanRoots Out Of The Brooder

    12
    3
    21
    Oct 12, 2016
    I will be checking for hidden eggs! She has had a terrible time with hawks!
     
  6. UrbanRoots

    UrbanRoots Out Of The Brooder

    12
    3
    21
    Oct 12, 2016
    We are gonna look into not having enough daylight. Where they are being kept they get little to no direct light!
     
  7. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    They don't need direct light, in general if the light intensity is enough for you to easily see clearly (comfortably read a book at arms length) then it's enough to stimulate their photosensitive glands...
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2016
  8. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Predator stress does have an impact. Sometimes they may not lay from stress for a while. Or it can cause little blood or meat spots in the eggs.

    Speaking of hidden nest.... well one thing is you would notice 1 bird missing from the group for a period of time, that would likely be a layer. Well, my BO went missing but with zero signs of predation. [​IMG] Told my family to look out for her to randomly show up, and she did yesterday!! But quickly disappeared again. So she IS sitting on a nest somewhere... and 14 inches of rain expected over the next 2 days! [​IMG]Glad she isn't dead and hope to see some chicks. [​IMG] (even though it isn't the preferred time of year)

    Also, I'm of the camp that thinks natural lighting is better for a bird then extra light adds stress. Though there are some better methods, for example not leaving the light on ALL night and adding it in the morning hours. Personally, what comes natural is good enough as I am not trying to turn a profit. But I do understand wanting to get eggs sooner!

    There are some sign if her chickens are even close. The combs will redden up quite a bit. And many will squat when you quickly put your hand over their back. Mine are usually within about 1 month or less to start once I see these signs. Putting fake eggs in the nesting boxes allows them to see where they SHOULD lay and that others think it's safe to lay there. They will practice moving the egg around and adjusting the nest, it's really cute! They usually show zero interest in the box and egg until they are getting close. Fake eggs are quite effective for me.

    Are you and your friend using the same feed? A higher protein feed like flock raiser with oyster shell on the side is good. If you start layer too soon it can have long term side effects on non layers as the calcium is too much and CAN cause kidney issues. Layer is lower in protein and the bare minimum amount to keep birds viable while laying. And if using layer it is still advisable to have oyster shell on the side. Good luck!
     
  9. UrbanRoots

    UrbanRoots Out Of The Brooder

    12
    3
    21
    Oct 12, 2016
    I'm a fan of natural light as well. We were just wondering if they aren't getting enough natural daylight? The spot they are located has little to no sunshine on them, so to speak. She has about a dozen chickens and they are about 6 1/2 months old and still not laying. We did use the same kind of food but I recently switched to a more specific mix of food with our local farm supply store. But she is using the same stuff she has always used, even with her chicks that are a year old. They are not being kept in an actual coop as of right now, but they are getting it finished up and I'm wondering if they will start laying once they are in a more natural habitat. I think it's cool that you'll have random baby chickens running around! Thanks for the reply!
     
  10. UrbanRoots

    UrbanRoots Out Of The Brooder

    12
    3
    21
    Oct 12, 2016


    I'm new at how all of this works, so I replied to you but I don't think I directly reply to you LOL! Am I supposed to hit quote when I want to reply directly to someone? That is what I did this time.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by