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Only one hen is laying

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chickenpicker32, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. chickenpicker32

    chickenpicker32 New Egg

    Dec 14, 2012
    I have a small backyard flock, 2 barred rocks and 4 black australorps. We got them as chicks kind of late, June 27th to be exact. I figured that would put them into laying mode around the end of November. Well, the lead hen, Braveheart, started right on schedule. But she's the only one that lays anything. When she started, I switched the whole flock from pullet grower feed to layer mash. Could this be a protein content issue? Also thinking it may be a lighting issue....maybe some supplemental lighting would help since we are coming up on the shortest day of the year. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
  2. joesmania

    joesmania Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 8, 2012
    Yup, it's probably the hours of light, then again some do start to lay before others. Once mine started laying it was about a 2 week stretch before all were laying, even then I think it took 'em a while to lay consistently if I remember right.

    Sounds like you know what you are doing, try the light, if that doesn't do it, just a little patience. You'll get your eggs. The layer feed can't be the problem ... that's supposed to help 'em lay, although I never used mash, just pellets I'm thinking about the same ingredients, just different presentation.

    Hope that's a help, Joe.

    EDIT; Mine are not all laying now either. I have no light. I still get plenty from the ones that do happen to lay, just not enough to sell very many. My flock is mixed. with 22 hens.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2012
  3. salt and pepper

    salt and pepper Chillin' With My Peeps

    yes the mash and pellets are the same feed, just a different form. some hens won't lay till they are up to 30-36 weeks, but that is very rare (unless they breed is an ameraucana, or silkie) I would give them 14 hours a day, and give them more time [​IMG]
  4. lorain's fids

    lorain's fids Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 9, 2011
    New Jersey
    Last year I was dealing with the same thing you are now. My 6 chicks were hatched on June29th. 5 Dominiques and 1 Black Austrlorp. My first egg was from a Dom on Christmas Eve-the other Doms started layeg 2 weeks later, my Australorp didn't lay until the 3rd week of January. The eggs will come--all in the hens own time--LOL!!!
    Now this year they all have stopped laying as all of them are going through their first major molt.
    Good luck!
  5. chickenpicker32

    chickenpicker32 New Egg

    Dec 14, 2012
    Thanks for the feedback. The hens seem to be maturing at a different rate as well. Braveheart, the lead hen(barred rock) has all the layer bird signs: deep red comb, broad body, etc. The 2nd in command, an australorp named Jackee, is looking pretty mature, but the other australorps are still very pullet like: no red combs, skinny bodies, etc. The other barred rock named Sweetie Pie seems to be 3rd in the pecking order. I'll try some supplemental lighting on a timer. Should I turn it on at sunset and let it go for a few hours, or should I give them extra light at the beginning of the day? Thanks!
  6. joesmania

    joesmania Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 8, 2012
    Erased by me
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  7. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    I added a fluorescent low watt bulb 2 weeks ago.Just got my first 2 eggs yesterday after 3 months of nothing.They molted and just did no start up again.Go with a bulb that will not get hot.The light is all they need.Speaking of which I need to go turn mine on!
  8. ccstarbuckle

    ccstarbuckle Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 28, 2012
    Portland, OR
    Hmm, I live in pdx, OR and I'm in a similar situation. 2 easter eggers, 1 barred rock, 1 wellsummer. (Already lost my favorite girl, my apenzeller spitzhauben :( ) anyhoos, all were born around April 11th. Only one is laying. I was told by my friend, 'chicken Pete' to do the low watt light on a timer to make up the difference in sunlight. Now, I have a coop that is about 4w x 5l x 3h. The eaves where the hardware mesh is for ventilation only sticks out about 8 inches at most? So what I'm wondering is if any of y'all do use a low watt bulb, do you use the kind of clamp on lamp like you'd use in a brooder and just shine it in? And do you need to protect it somehow from the elements?

    Side note: Chicken Pete also told me that it's ok that there's only one nesting box because they'll just line up to take their turns or try to squeeze in next to whoever's in there already or push them out. Apparently, when a girl's gotta go, she's gotta go! LOL Chickens are so funny!
  9. cluckcluckluke

    cluckcluckluke Overrun With Chickens

    I'm in the exact same situation- 22 hens but getting 13 maximum a day, I'm going to try tackle this by removing all my older Isa Browns and getting in some hardier layers like Langshans and RIR's so that when Winter comes back around I'll at least have some eggs to sell.

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