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Oyster shell to encourage immature hens to lay?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by julietma, Oct 25, 2008.

  1. julietma

    julietma In the Brooder

    Jul 8, 2008
    More Feed Store lore here, just checking it with you all.

    My hens are big, fat, beautiful Barred Plymouth Rocks, the eldest must be at least six months (she's a rescue, so exact age not known). The younger two are about four and a half months.

    None of them has a red comb or wattle yet, although the eldest is pinking up. I read that starting them on layer feed could help them, so I started them on it last month. Since none of them are laying, still, the Feed Store guys suggested I give them oyster shell. I bought some, but figured I'd better check this info with a more reliable source.

    So, will oyster shell get them started laying? Or should I just hold onto the shell until I see that first egg?

  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Do not give them supplemental oyster shell until they are actually laying eggs.

    Overloading their bodies with a calcium mineral when they are not using it can lead to kidney problems over time.

    You cannot 'encourage' a hen to lay before her body is ready to produce eggs. Eggs are more than just shell. She has to begin producing the inner parts of the egg first before a shell is even needed.
  3. joebryant

    joebryant Crowing

    I suggest your starting picking up your hens several times a day and slapping them around. That's what I'm going to do with my 24-week-old, non-laying ones if they cause me to snap.
  4. HaileyandJoliesMom

    HaileyandJoliesMom In the Brooder

    Jul 13, 2008
    Jacksonville, FL
    I threatened to start making Chicken Gumbo if I didnt see any eggs, 2 days later one of my "hens" starting crowing and the other one laid an egg. Guess the rooster in disguise wanted me to know why he wasnt laying [​IMG]
  5. DuckLady

    DuckLady ~~~Administrator~~~BYC Store Support Staff Member

    Jan 11, 2007
    NE Washington State
    Quote:I think you already did snap! [​IMG]
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    A hen is going to start laying when her body tells her it's time. Even feeding them caviar from a silver spoon - or slapping them around - is not going to change that.
  7. playmeasong

    playmeasong In the Brooder

    Apr 9, 2008
    South Jersey
    Well I just got my ameracaunas and rhode island whites to start laying this week (they are about 26 weeks). I told them last weekend it's time to make some eggs and within a few days they had it down. I get 0-2 eggs per day and they are laid after lunch some time.
    So try having "the talk" with them...[​IMG]

    Last edited: Oct 25, 2008

  8. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps AutumnBreezeChickens.com

    Apr 20, 2008
    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    Isn't it true also that if the hen starts laying early that there is a better chance for her to prolapse? Mine are 22 weeks now and one is laying and when I read that they could prolapse early I started turning off the coop light and let it come natural. I don't want to deal with prolapse if I can prevent it somewhat.
  9. joebryant

    joebryant Crowing

    Quote:I agree 100%! I never want to deal with prolapse, whatever it is.
  10. notsooldmcdonald

    notsooldmcdonald Songster

    Oct 14, 2008
    Lempster, NH
    Quote:I agree 100%! I never want to deal with prolapse, whatever it is.

    Prolapse is something I have absolutely no desire with which to deal (couldn't end with a preposition, sorry, I 'd rather read like a bad Latin translation). My understanding is that it's a situation where the lining through which the egg travels is moved outside the body with the egg that's too massive to progress naturally. Unfortunately, chickens abhor anomoly (much like the adolescents I teach!) and they "go for" the vent of the offending chicken. It's a bad situation. I particularly worry about it as my Red Sex Link pullets have begun laying at 16/17 weeks. So far, they look ok, in spite of one of them laying a massive egg within an egg.


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