OMG, EGGS! 1st time! Soooo excited

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by [email protected], Jul 17, 2010.

  1. jennifer@couplandtx.org

    [email protected] Songster

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    Now I have 100 questions... Usually I am on the goose site, b/c geese posed more questions for me until now. Someone please advise.
    I have white leghorns, god love um they are sooo ugly that they are funny but we found 3 eggs today and now I am wondering./

    1. How old are leghorns (or most chickens) when they first start laying eggs?
    2. I thought they would not lay if it was really hot, like now, high 90's, should I get an egg a day from a chicken?
    3. Will she lay better if she has a 'stall'?
    4. How long do you have until the eggs go bad from not being refrigerated, if to be eaten?
    5. It's ok to eat them if they are fertilized? right?
    6. How do I know if they were fertilized? In the beginning, aren't they dudes?
    7. Should I wait until next Spring to have babies, or can/will they have babies year around??

    So many questions... excited! Thank God for my sister in law who loves chickens too!! jennifer
     
  2. lauralou

    lauralou Songster

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    First of all, congratulations on your eggs! YAY!

    Now I'll try to answer your questions. Please keep in mind that I don't have Leghorns. I do know some general things about the breed, but I'm no expert.

    1. My production breeds have generally started laying between 16 and 20 weeks of age. That's my best guess for your Leghorns. It can vary wildly.

    2. Many breeds do slow down in very hot weather. Leghorns are a Mediterranean breed, so should be more tolerant to heat. (That's just a theory of mine.) Since Leghorns are bred for production, it is possible that you will get an egg a day from each hen. Again, this varies by bird, by season, by many different things. Plus, it normally takes a new layer a bit of time to get into her groove.

    3. By a stall, do you mean a nestbox? I doubt that having a nestbox will affect the rate of lay. It will certainly make it easier for you to find and collect all of the eggs that have been laid. I highly recommend having a nestbox.

    4. Eggs left out on the countertop can last a good while and still be fine to eat. I'm not sure exactly how long. And I certainly don't want to find out the hard way! HA! If you refrigerate them within a week, you'll definitely be fine.

    5. You can eat fertilized eggs. No problem.

    6. You can tell if an egg is fertilized when you see a little white "bullseye" on the yolk. Sometimes you have to flip the yolk with a fork because the bullseye is on the bottom. It's true that sometimes the first few eggs aren't fertile, even if the rooster is taking care of business. I don't know of any way to know if an egg is fertile without cracking it. But once you start seeing that the eggs are consistently fertile, you can safely assume that they are able to be incubated and will make chicks for you.

    7. You don't have to wait till next spring. I like to wait till the eggs reach a nice size. They will get bigger as the hen continues to lay. I hatched some eggs this spring from mature hens. The eggs were huge and lo and behold, the chicks were gigantic! They popped out looking like they were a week old. I also hatched some much smaller eggs from young hens. The chicks were fine, but much smaller. They seemed precious and fragile to me after the giant chicks I was used to seeing. But they did well, and have grown up strong and healthy. It does seem to me that fertility (or hatchability) is slightly less in winter. That's just a personal observation and may not hold true for everyone.

    Hope that was helpful.
     
  3. jennifer@couplandtx.org

    [email protected] Songster

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    Laura, thank you sooo much, you answered them all. But I bet I can come up with some more questions daily. For instance, I need to look on this site, but my leghorns 8, were straight run, and from the looks of the waddle and other thingy, I only have one hen. But does that hold true w/ leghorns? I just obviously don't know a thing! The really crazy thing is that these are only about 14 weeks old. I didn't see an egg this morning, but I don't even know when she lays them, I'll have to be more observant. However, if there are 7 roosters, I guess that means I need to get rid of a couple right? Or is that going to cause problems? Anybody in TX want some white leghorn roosters??? thank you again, and when I get time, I'll surf... jenn
     
  4. lauralou

    lauralou Songster

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    I know that Leghorn hens have large combs and wattles. At 14 weeks, I would expect the hens to start showing that trait. The time to judge your roosters by the presence of combs and wattles is at about 4 weeks to 6 weeks. At that point, it's highly unlikely that the females will have combs and wattles.

    At 14 weeks, other traits will be starting to show. First, and most obviously, they will crow. But you already knew that. [​IMG]

    What I would look for on roosters that age are saddle feathers. Roosters will get them, hens won't. They are long feathers that hang over the back, just where a horse would wear a saddle.

    Here's a picture to illustrate what I'm talking about. On this particular rooster, the saddle feathers are a dark reddish color, and they hang over to cover the wings. Do you see what I mean?


    [​IMG]


    If you truly have 7 roosters, which I hope you don't, you will need to get rid of most of them. Or all of them. But wait till you know for sure! You could even post pictures on here and let the experts help you.
     
  5. hd_darcy

    hd_darcy Songster

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    Awesome, I clearly see the salle feathers. Thank you for explaning... (I know it wasn't directed at me, but I learned also!) [​IMG] I'm guessing not all breeds of roosters get saddle feathers though?

    Hope it's okay to ask on this thread!
     
  6. jennifer@couplandtx.org

    [email protected] Songster

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    You know my chickens are not yet crowing, I was also wondering about that. A couple make some pretty interesting sounds, but no crows. Also they don't have anything remotely resembling saddle feathers. I'm wondering if white Lhorns will do that, cause yours is awefully pretty compared to mine![​IMG] I'm am not sure I will ever know what they are, we apparently missed the first signs. All but one has the big waddles and such, so we were thinking only one hen, OH, one more thing. THey keep backing up to me and when I put my hand down, they kind of stick their wings out some, squat and sit still. Are they requesting mating? That's what my DH said it seemed like to him, like he said 'I know my women'. [​IMG] And if so, does that mean that is a hen? Wow, alot to know, but this egg this is so exciting to me. I scrambled them and fed the 3 we had to the chickens for nutrition. They weren't fertile, I don't think, no apparent bullseye. thank you Laura! jen
     
  7. lauralou

    lauralou Songster

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    Quote:Glad I could help with that. Cool!

    It is true that not all roosters get the saddle feathers. The only breed that comes to my mind is the Sebright. They are called hen feathered. There may be other breeds also. But the vast majority of roosters get them. It's a really easy way to tell the difference.
     
  8. lauralou

    lauralou Songster

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    [email protected] :

    You know my chickens are not yet crowing, I was also wondering about that. A couple make some pretty interesting sounds, but no crows. Also they don't have anything remotely resembling saddle feathers. I'm wondering if white Lhorns will do that, cause yours is awefully pretty compared to mine![​IMG] I'm am not sure I will ever know what they are, we apparently missed the first signs. All but one has the big waddles and such, so we were thinking only one hen, OH, one more thing. THey keep backing up to me and when I put my hand down, they kind of stick their wings out some, squat and sit still. Are they requesting mating? That's what my DH said it seemed like to him, like he said 'I know my women'. [​IMG] And if so, does that mean that is a hen? Wow, alot to know, but this egg this is so exciting to me. I scrambled them and fed the 3 we had to the chickens for nutrition. They weren't fertile, I don't think, no apparent bullseye. thank you Laura! jen

    I have some 12-13 week old roosters and they make silly little sort of crows with a cough at the end. Like boys whose voices are changing. But not a definite cock-a-doodle-doo. So that's a tough one to judge. Some roos crow perfectly early on, and some don't.

    I wasn't sure about Leghorn saddle feathers, so I checked on it. Click on this link, and you'll see some pictures.

    http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/CGK/Leghorns/BRKLeghorns.html

    It is a little harder to see on a solid colored bird. (And thanks for the compliment on my roo. I like them colorful! [​IMG] )

    The squatting thing that you are talking about, when you put your hand down, that screams hen to me. I think it is a mating posture, other folks think it's simply a submissive posture. I've never seen a rooster do it. But I am purposely not friendly with my roosters. (Bad experience in the past!) At any rate, that's something that I notice hens doing when they are ready to start laying. I think it's a very good sign. Maybe you have more hens than you think.

    The one without the big comb and wattles, she's probably just less mature than some of the others, and will start laying a little later.​
     
  9. jennifer@couplandtx.org

    [email protected] Songster

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    Yes, that sqatting is screaming mating to me also, esp cause she puts her hind end up in the air and wide open, if you know what I mean,[​IMG]

    Also, I'm hearing that hens top red thingy falls over, where the males is straight up?? Oh, and what time of day do they usually lay??? thx Laura! jenn
     
  10. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Pullets are girl chickens under a year old, hens are a year old or more.

    It takes about 26 hours to "make" an egg. Therefore, the breeds of chickens expressly suited for laying (which leghorns are an example) will generally lay an egg a day for several days, take a break of a day, then lay one a day for several days, etc.

    But the eggs will be a couple hours later each day until it's too late (in chicken terms) to lay. Say the first egg was around 7 AM, the next day it will be around 9 AM, the next 11 AM, etc. Generally, most hens/pullets lay any time between 9 AM and 3 PM and then start over in the morning again.
     

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