Newbie questions on egg laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MelissaJo, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. MelissaJo

    MelissaJo New Egg

    Jan 27, 2012
    I have three EE and I believe they are going to be four months the end of February. We bought them last fall from a chain feed store. They are getting feed meant for layers and added oyster shells this week. (different feeder)They are in large coop, cement floor with shavings. We also have been running a heat lamp all day over their water to keep it from freezing and to keep it a bit warmer in the coop though it's a pretty nice coop, (old but sturdy). I have three plastic crates, the kind you can get at walmart to store things in and they stack. The crates are right side up right now. The ladies are all roosting on the edge of an old rubber tub right now.

    So some questions:

    Should I do something different for their nesting box? Maybe something more "private" I saw a suggestion for a covered kitty litter box. I also have a large carrying crate that is less open then the storage crates that I could put in there. Should I put the nesting box in the corner, on the ground, hang it up?

    Will it trick them into laying sooner if that lamp is on 24hrs, we are getting about 8 hours of sunlight a day right now, they have big windows along the front and one side of their coop, it's pretty sunny in there during the day or should we turn the overhead lights on at night for a couple of hours

    Any suggestions on things I could do different? We are very excited to get start getting our own eggs. I have a three year old boy that does the chicken chores and is going to be pretty excited to go get eggs, hopefully they survive the trip to the house!

    Thanks for the tips!
  2. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN
    4 months the end of next month would mean they're 3 months old now. That's too young for layer feed! The bag probably says to start using it sometime around 20 weeks. They should be eating either chick or grower feed at this point.

    FWIW, mine lay their eggs in open-top plastic bins on a shelf. That's what they're used to. I used a shelf to preserve precious floor space (the feeders hang below it).
  3. allpeepedout

    allpeepedout Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 2, 2011
    Southern Indiana
    They would be very special indeed if they started laying at 3 months! Possibly 5 or 6 months or in some cases much more is a reasonable expectation. I think if they can mature under normal conditions such as natural light (so they get good rest for growing!), especially since it is winter anyway, you will be well rewarded with eggs come spring.
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Flock Master Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    I agree with above posts. Only certain breeds will lay at 16-20 weeks, most by 20-26 weeks, some breeds later. No need for extra light at their age, and when they do start laying, you only need to put light on a timer for about 2-3 hours in the morning, say 5 AM-8AM to get eggs in winter. Chickens need to go to bed and roost at nighttime, and they need to see to get to their roosts. If you have a light on in the evening and suddenly it goes off it will leave them in the dark not being able to see. They don't sleep well unless it is dark. Roosts always need to be higher than nest boxes, and if you look through the many pages of nest box posts on this site, you will probably get an idea of what works. A wooden box 12x12x12inches works well, and putting golf balls or fake wooden eggs in the nesting material usually gives them a hint.
  5. MelissaJo

    MelissaJo New Egg

    Jan 27, 2012
    Great! Thanks for the info. I messed up on the feed. I had gotten some advice to start them on layer feed at two months but I should have double checked the bag or on the web. I am normally more diligent. Will go back to chick starter until they start laying.

    Will check out the nesting boxes and not worry about turning lights on until next winter (in the morning) and we won't hassle the ladies too much if we don't start getting eggs until April or May :)
  6. LittleFarmInWV

    LittleFarmInWV Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 30, 2011
    My barred rocks and easter eggers are going on 5 months now and still no eggs :'( I'll give it another 2 1/2 weeks before we all gather around for a serious talk about what the young ladies should be doing. I had never heard 26 weeks before, so thank you!
  7. MelissaJo

    MelissaJo New Egg

    Jan 27, 2012
    Well, leave it to ladies to surprise you....we got an egg last night! We were so excited and surprised, I am pretty sure on their age of when we bought them so I guess at least one is an over achiever. We are pretty sure which hen it was. We had a make shift pen set up in the coop from when we had ducks in there and she had been hanging out in there during chore time the night before. Then the next time we did chores there was a egg. I moved the nesting boxes in that corner with a golf ball in one. Thinking I will go find something with more privacy, there isn't a dark corner in this coop.

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