Only half of hens are laying?

PNWhens

Chirping
Sep 17, 2019
24
78
69
Whidbey Island, Washington
Good morning all,

I have 4 rhode island reds, a little over 20 weeks old. I get 2 eggs a day, so that leads me to the assumption that only 2 are currently laying. Have the other ones just not caught up yet? It’s winter here in Washington if that could have an effect but there are still eggs so I’m wondering is it possible some don’t lay??
 

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KDOGG331

Release the Ferrets!!
Premium member
12 Years
Jan 18, 2008
35,607
96,216
1,596
Massachusetts
Good morning all,

I have 4 rhode island reds, a little over 20 weeks old. I get 2 eggs a day, so that leads me to the assumption that only 2 are currently laying. Have the other ones just not caught up yet? It’s winter here in Washington if that could have an effect but there are still eggs so I’m wondering is it possible some don’t lay??
Your birds are still young. It can take a while for them to start laying.

In fact, I would say your other two girls are pretty early for dual purpose birds. A lot of them don’t start until 24-26 weeks. At least my first batch didn’t. And this most recent batch some only just started laying this month and they hatched in April. :eek: :th

Usually though they will start earlier than that but in the winter, they sometimes wait until the days start getting longer. Even my Leghorn didn’t start until around 22 weeks (end of September). She’s been a daily layer since though. Just give your birds some more time. They will lay when they are good and ready to. :lau

Personally I actually think it’s better for them to start laying later so their bodies can have more time to mature/be ready and can extend their production a bit longer.

But you can’t force it and they all start laying at different times.

Have their combs reddened up yet? Are they squatting for you? Those are both usually pretty good signs that they will be starting soon!

But 20 weeks is pretty early and it can take up 24 or 26 or longer and that’s all perfectly normal.

Hopefully yours start sooner but just be patient and I’m sure you will be swimming in eggs soon. :)
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
72,256
75,191
1,557
SW Michigan
My Coop
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Good morning all,

I have 4 rhode island reds, a little over 20 weeks old. I get 2 eggs a day, so that leads me to the assumption that only 2 are currently laying. Have the other ones just not caught up yet? It’s winter here in Washington if that could have an effect but there are still eggs so I’m wondering is it possible some don’t lay??
How long have those 2 been laying?
Some start a bit later than others. some don't lay every day.
Here's some tips on how to tell:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/who-is-laying-and-who-is-not-butt-check.73309/
Sometimes tho you just have to stalk the nests and 'catch them in the act' to be absolutely sure.
 

Melky

Spring has sprung!
Jul 23, 2018
3,884
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Edgewood, KY
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Here is a thought as well. It is for sure age and breed dependent. I have an Australorp and BR 20 and 24 weeks when purchased and Raven the Australorp started laying in October stopped in November and restarted in December after Winter Soltstice. Now both are laying the Australorp at 32 weeks is going strong and the BR Remy is laying now in January closer to 40 weeks. It takes longer over the winter to mature and go into lay. The bigger the breed the longer it takes to get to breed maturity. I only use natural light so they are bound to take a break over the winter due to decreased daylight hours. Now that said I use the recipe from Lisa Steele's book for the breakfast of champions. If the item in the recipe is in the feed bag, I do not add. If an item is not in the feed bag from the recipe, I add it to the layer feed when purchased, mix it in my vittles vault and keep fresh. We are both organic so I grow and dry herbs that provide general immune health support as well as laying stimulants. My flock this year went into lay sooner than last year with that addition. That said Australorp's are known to be better layers throughout the Winter season. The earlier you purchase or grow your birds in the spring, the earlier they may lay in the fall. I always get mine late for some reason. So my two hens lay 1.1 eggs per day right now. They will increase as daylight hours increase along with maturity. At 14-16 hours of daylight you have peak lay production and you will get 5 plus eggs large brown per week from RIR's. :bow:thumbsup
 
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Ridgerunner

Free Ranging
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
24,267
12,501
707
Southeast Louisiana
Good morning all,

I have 4 rhode island reds, a little over 20 weeks old. I get 2 eggs a day, so that leads me to the assumption that only 2 are currently laying. Have the other ones just not caught up yet? It’s winter here in Washington if that could have an effect but there are still eggs so I’m wondering is it possible some don’t lay??
I've had pullets start to lay at 16 weeks, really rare. I've had pullets not lay until they were 9 months old, again really rare. I'be had pullets lay their first eggs the first week of December when the days were really short and still getting shorter. I've had pullets lay six eggs per week right from the start, I've had some a lot more erratic. There are no rules they all have to follow. They are each an individual and will lay when they lay.

Daylight, weather, breed, and what they eat can have an influence, but none of these things have control. Each individual will lay when she is ready.

Having two out of four that age laying now, especially where you live relative to length of days right now, is pretty darn good. With just four you don't have enough that averages mean much but I'd consider that pretty early for half to be laying even in the summer. Just be patient, the others will probably soon start earning their feed.
 

ChickenCanoe

Crossing the Road
9 Years
Nov 23, 2010
29,290
18,904
867
St. Louis, MO
I find it interesting that 2 of 4 birds only 20 weeks of age would start laying when your days are still only 9 hours long. I have some pullets at almost 20 weeks and others at 17 weeks, no eggs yet but the olders should be laying by the middle of February.
Where I live, our day length will be 20 minutes longer by the end of the month and almost 50 minutes longer than the shortest day of the season. That should kick start them.
Patience, I believe the others will be laying shortly as the daily light period lengthens.
 
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