No eggs at 5 months & could a 18% protein layer feed?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Karen1958, Sep 20, 2016.

  1. Karen1958

    Karen1958 In the Brooder

    Sep 20, 2016
    Eagle Creek Oregon
    5 months old, no egg yet. I have been feeding them 18% protein layer feed at recommendation. Is that to high protein & could that be playing a role to no eggs as of yet?

  2. LRH97

    LRH97 Songster

    Jul 29, 2013
    Southern Illinois
    [​IMG] I'd say she just needs a bit more time. I feed an 18% all-flock and the only thing that has affected egg production is the heat and humidity. That being said, I wouldn't worry about the feed. I know it's hard, but as they say....patience is a virtue! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    5 months old is just the early point when birds start laying. So, I think you just need a bit more time.

    That said, what breeds do you have?

    Are combs getting plump and red?

    Do you free range? Any chance they're laying out and about?

    The feed sounds just fine. I feed an all in one that has just a touch more. My spring pullets have just started laying the last few weeks, some still have not.
  4. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Songster

    Jul 18, 2013
    Depending on the breed and considering the time of year, days getting shorter so less light, it's probably too early at this point. While I have had some birds start before 4.5 months, they were from an early laying line and hit that age around the middle of June when days were longest. Some others related to that line started laying at five months even though it was November. The vast majority seem to start exactly at six months while I've had a few purchased birds wait until the days started getting longer and they were 7 - 8 months.
    I have some 4.5 months old now and I'm really anxious, but their combs haven't turned red yet so I know they're not ready.
    I don't start layer food until they start laying,(Don't want them overloading on calcium) but I don't think your food has anything to do with it. I think it is age and time of year.

  5. Agreed. My white leghorn that was supposed to lay at 16 weeks is just thinking about starting at 22. My BR all from same place started at 20, 22, and 24 weeks. And my BO that was supposed to mature later has started at 22 weeks.

    I wouldn't feed layer until I saw the first egg as too much calcium can cause kidney issues long term. I feed an "all flock or flock raiser" at 20% protein and provide oyster shell on the side. It is appropriate for all ages chickens, laying or not, including molting and roosters. They will use the oyster shell as needed and those who don't... wont. You should provide it on the side anyways in addition to layer feed, just in case. It is more important not to go too low on the protein content than to worry about a couple grams more. Wally sells layer with 15%. I also think slightly more protein helps with feather replacement during molt and while growing chicks.
    In closing, your feed is not changing the time with witch they will lay. Who made the recommendation for 18% layer? I suspect breeds that are not good winter layers won't be starting up this late. But all chickens regardless of breed are individuals and will function as such no matter what may be typical for the breed. Also, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Waiting for eggs can be excruciating! [​IMG] [​IMG]
    2 people like this.
  6. carlf

    carlf Chirping

    Jul 2, 2016
    Mobile, AL
    Be patient.
    The people who wrote the books on chickens forgot to give the books to the chickens.
    They will each start laying when they are good and ready.
    Might be tomorrow, might be another 2 months.

    My 3 pullets are now 19 weeks.
    The only sign I have of them getting ready to lay is one sings every couple of days and finally this week they all stopped scratching all the bedding and fake eggs out of the nest boxes.
    No squatting yet and all their combs are still pink.
    2 people like this.
  7. @Karen1958 , @carlf mentioned a couple things you might not know about...

    Pullets will often (not all) squat when you quickly put your hand over their back as they are getting close to laying. That's one sign. The other is their comb getting nice and red. And practicing the song. Mine that have squatted usually started within 1 month. Also the ones that aren't close to laying show zero interest in the lay box. But the ones who are near ready sometimes pace in & out of them and re- arrange the bedding.

    Also when you notice 1 is not with the group for a period of time they may be searching for a spot or actually laying.

    And yes, they do practice, So you might here the song or see them in the box but not get an egg yet. And when they lay their first you may or may not get another in the days to come. As their system is getting started it can be inconsistent. I usually find random soft shelled eggs on the droppings board or in the yard as someone is gearing up. I think softees just feel like a poo and therefor don't trigger them to hit the box or sing the song.

    My very first egg, the girl sang ALL DAY and randomly came out while she was setting on the back of my chair. Now she sing BEFORE she lays. I have 2 others that don't sing at all though. And one that does't sing won't squat and refuses to lay in my boxes. Haven't seen an egg from her in more than a month since I blocked off her bush. I think she might have shut down for the winter already since I haven't noticed her missing from the group in a while either.

    Knowing a few signs should help you know when your girls are actually getting close. But as carlf mentioned, they may not have gotten the handbook. [​IMG]

    Good luck!
    1 person likes this.

  8. Karen1958

    Karen1958 In the Brooder

    Sep 20, 2016
    Eagle Creek Oregon
    I finally got my first eggs this week. So excited & my ladies get excited when they lay.
    So now I'm having a problem with then using the nesting boxes. They layed them in the cleaned straw between the 2 roosting bars. Cleaned out the coop yesterday to hopefully remove their egg smell from that area hoping they will move to the nest box. Any suggestions?
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop

    The 'smell' has nothing to do with it.

    Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help.......but it can take up to a month or so for the egg laying to smooth out.
    Meanwhile, eggs everywhere, some of them can be rather funky looking, soft or thin shelled, huge double yolked eggs.
    They want a place to lay that they feel safe, secure and comfy...but can also drop eggs anywhere until they get the hang of it.

    Have they been in the nests at all...checking them out, making an absolute mess of the nest bedding?
    Pics of inside your coop showing roosts, nests, etc would really help for us to spot things that might need improvement.

  10. [​IMG] EGGS!! And egg songs! [​IMG]

    I like to use fake eggs to show the girls where to lay. They will often check them out, scoot them around and sometimes practice sitting on them. It's so cute and they work really well. I like being able to leave them in there without fear of them getting broken and eaten. Although we did have to do several double takes to tell the fakes apart when collecting. [​IMG] Also, if you let them free range.... I will lock them inside the run/coop until laying is done for the day or for several days with no range until they start laying in the box. Once they get their right location down they will always go back there unless they determine it to be unsafe. Some people substitute golf balls or anything that looks like an egg to show the pullets where to lay. I do believe it helps. They fakes were cheaper at both of my LFS's than amazon.

    My hatchery BO disappeared the other day... with NO signs of predation. [​IMG] So I let my family know to keep an eye out for her in case she was brooding a hidden nest somewhere (we have 1 acre with heavy brush). My daughter said she saw her yesterday at the food dish around 2 pm! We are supposed to get 14 inches of rain in the next 2 days. [​IMG] I'm so excited she is alive! I know some have made it over the fence and it definitely isn't safe. I am thinking of electrifying it to keep predators out and chickens in, but I guess not until I know where Buffy is brooding. That would have been my first loss other than shipped chicks.

    Are you using straw in your nesting boxes? Is it possible that it was a surprise egg that popped out during the night? I usually find eggs everywhere when they are just getting started. But in the boxes, the nesting material is often pushed out of the center down to bare box. None of the eggs on the droppings board appear to be placed there on purpose, usually softees.

    Congrats on getting eggs! And good luck working out your lay area. [​IMG]

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