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No eggs yet, When should I expect eggs from my chickens??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mhay1, Dec 9, 2016.

  1. mhay1

    mhay1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 3, 2016
    I am sure this question has been asked a thousand times, but here it is again! lol.

    My girls are about 22 weeks old now and have not begun to lay any eggs yet. I have a wide variety of cold hardy breeds; Barred Rocks, Isa Browns, Amberlink, Reds, Ameraucana. We do live in the northern region, in lower Michigan. Yes, they did go through molting season, although I think that's done now? And yes, our daylight hours are shorter now, it is colder, averaging now around 30- 40 degrees, but with all that in consideration should I still expect them to lay any eggs yet? Do those factors delay the start of them laying eggs? They are eating fine, have plenty of feed, (organic starter feed still till they start laying) they have a heated water supply, get some treats and have a good size run. They all seem very happy and healthy. Am I just being impatient, but when should we expect them to start laying?
    I feel like we are like little children, checking every day under the Christmas tree to see if Santa has left us any new presents, ha ha.
    Thanks!!
     
  2. jennyf

    jennyf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    With the shorter days my mixed flock didn't have anyone laying until 32 weeks. Barred Rock first, NH Red second. Now 5 of 6 are laying (I think) but there's still a holdout at 36 weeks. Look on the bright side, supposedly they are less likely to become egg bound if they start laying when a bit more mature and they supposedly lay larger eggs from the start. That's what I'm telling myself! :)
     
  3. Vermont Poultry

    Vermont Poultry Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 22, 2016
    Northern Vermont
    Mine are 20 weeks old, got our first egg today from our golden comet. Ours started squatting about a week and a half before the first egg (they squatted for me even though we have a rooster). About 60% of our chickens have bright red combs and the other 40% are our bigger birds, who are maturing slower (despite being the biggest pullets). I put a LED lamp in their coop to "jump start" them so they don't wait until late winter or early spring to lay. 20 weeks is a bit early for breeds like Barred Rocks or more winter hardy breeds (All mine are), but I got it so early because Golden Comets mature faster and I put a timed light in there.
     
  4. Vermont Poultry

    Vermont Poultry Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 22, 2016
    Northern Vermont
    To directly answer your question, you give them lots of food and water with 14 hours of light (some artificial), I would expect you to start getting eggs within 2-4 weeks. Be careful were you put the timer I once put it to low to the ground and they changed the time and I went to check on them at 10 PM and they were partying! 5 hours past their curfew!
     
  5. RebPirate

    RebPirate New Egg

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    Jun 21, 2016
    We got our first egg yesterday from our Easter Egger. We have three hens (EE, Buff Orp & Wyandotte) which are between 5-6 months old. We had started to think that we were going to have to wait until spring but Gretchen came through, even though we thought she'd be the last one to lay. She produced another today. They're on the smallish side and a pale olive in color.
    Along with their feed, I've been giving them extra protein in the form of cat food (cheap), meal worms and the occasional live crickets. I mix oats, crushed egg shell and oyster shell in their treat mix and let them free range in the yard/garden for 3-4 hours a day, weather permitting. I gave them a small amount of shredded cheese the other day and they loved it. I try to give them fresh herbs from the greenhouse every few days, but they go through a planter in a matter of minutes so we're down to just sprouts right now. I also have a solar powered light in their coop. The panel is in an area that only gets a few hours of light a day, so the light itself is only on for a couple of hours after sunset. Temps dipped below freezing last night and are supposed to do the same for the next couple of nights, but the girls seem to be handling it well. I'll be installing a low wattage heat lamp in the coop this weekend (winter snuck up on me).
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    22 week olds shouldn't be molting now...not until their second fall.
    But coming close to age of point of lay in the dark 'season' can delay things if you are not using supplemental lighting.
    Typical POL is 18-26 weeks for most breeds...tho your Isa's and Amberlinks could start younger as they are high production hybrid breeds.

    Seen any of these signs?
    New layers can be quite goofy acting, they don't know what they are doing at first and can be confused and anxious, it can take up to a month or so before they get it all figured out. Putting some fake eggs or golf balls in the nest might help show them where to lay. They may scratch around in the nests for weeks before laying, spreading the bedding everywhere. They will scratch around a bit less in nest as they get used to the routine. Meanwhile, eggs everywhere, some of them can be rather funky looking, soft or thin shelled, huge double yolked eggs.

    Signs of onset of lay---I've found the pelvic points to be the most accurate.
    Squatting:
    If you touch their back they will hunker down on the ground, then shake their tail feathers when they get back up.
    Tho not all birds will do this, especially if there's a cockbird in the flock.
    This shows they are sexually mature and egg laying is close at hand.

    Combs and Wattles:
    Plump, shiny red - usually means laying.
    Shriveled, dryish looking and pale - usually means not laying.
    Tho I have found that the combs and wattles can look full and red one minute then pale back out the next due to exertion or excitement, can drive ya nuts when waiting for a pullet to lay!

    Vent Appearance:
    Dry, tight, and smaller - usually not laying.
    Moist, wide, and larger - usually laying.

    Pelvic Points 2 bony points(pelvic bones) on either side of vent:
    Less than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means not laying.
    More than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means laying.

    Do you free range?
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016

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