Not laying yet and winter coming

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chicksfor2boys, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. chicksfor2boys

    chicksfor2boys Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 10, 2013
    Jemez Springs
    I need some advise. Got my first ever chicks in April. I have 8 chickens - oldest are 27 weeks: 2 - RIR; 1 molted java; 1 BR, 3 at 24 or 25 weeks - buckeyes; and a 23 or 24 week old Americanas. None are laying yet. They have a nice coop, a big fenced yard (sides and top - we have many pedators). I recently had my husband put in a red heat lamp. I live in a cold area (already 22 degrees F at 6am, known to get to -16 in the winter). They also have straw inside the coop. I open their coop around 6:30am and close it at sunset.

    1) Should we put up another light on a timer to extend daylight time? sunrise around 7am; sunset around 7pm.
    2) Should they start laying soon?
    3) What else am I missing?

    Thanks, in advance, for you help.
     
  2. nakstk

    nakstk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 19, 2011
    Kalama, Washington
    I just added a 2w LED light to my coop. It's not really necessary to have the heat light. The chickens have down feathers that keep them warm. As long as you have a dry, draft free coop for them they will be fine. People raise chickens in Alaska and they are just fine. Have your girls started squatting for you yet? If so and if their combs and waddles are bright red then you should be getting eggs soon.
     
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  3. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 8, 2008
    Ohio
    It is unusual that your pullets haven't started laying yet. I would have expected eggs by 22 weeks for the RIR.

    Chickens do not mind the cold. I would take away your heat lamp--you aren't doing them any favors by not allowing them to adapt to the changing seasons. Think of it this way--when you go into your nice warm house, you take off your winter coat. Your chickens cannot do this; they have to wear their heavy winter coats 24/7. It's very stressful for them to go from cold to warm back to cold. Allow them to adjust to the cold gradually as the weather gets colder. Chickens are fine at -20 degrees F as long as their coop is well-ventilated, dry, and draft-free. Frostbite is caused by moisture+cold, not cold alone, so that's where the ventilation comes in. Your coop should not be buttoned up tight; there should be vents to facilitate air exchange. Heat lamps are also a fire danger in a coop, so that's another reason not to use them.

    I think you should add a white lightbulb on a timer. Start by having it turn on about half an hour before sunrise, then turn off once the sky brightens. Add half an hour to the time each day until your birds have 14-16 hours of light. Do not give them more than 18 hours of light, it can depress egglaying. Here's the science: http://www.sp.uconn.edu/~mdarre/poultrypages/light_inset.html
     
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  4. chicksfor2boys

    chicksfor2boys Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 10, 2013
    Jemez Springs
    Thanks for the information. Changed out bulb today and put on a timer so more light in the morning and evening. On a GREAT note - we got our first egg today. Will post pic tomorrow. It is about 2 inches, had a crack/hole but the inner membrane is intact. Not sure which hen it came from have a good idea is was a RIR, but she sure doesn't like straw in the nesting box - kicked it all out. Suggestion on that? More straw in the box?
     
  5. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 8, 2008
    Ohio
    Our hens like straw in the boxes, but they do kick it out sometimes. If your hens do not, you can try all kinds of materials, such as shavings or even outdoor carpeting. The main thing is to have enough padding that the eggs don't crack when they're laid.

    Also, you hen is young. If you want to use straw in the boxes, just put more in. She'll get used to it. I like straw in the boxes. Much easier to clean out than shavings, IMO. Also, that hole in the egg-the hen didn't know what happened, and pecked the egg to investigate. Another thing she'll just have to get used to!
     

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