Patiently waiting for eggs!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by mychickenpeeps, Oct 9, 2016.

  1. mychickenpeeps

    mychickenpeeps New Egg

    Oct 9, 2016
    Hello, everyone. I am new to raising and caring for backyard chickens. Started about 4 months ago with 4 Rhode Island Red hens, and 1 not planned on until later developed,(smile) "rooster"(I was told they were all hens, yeah). One hen can from a hatchery and the others were given to me by a friend who raised the others as baby chics from on of her chicken family. They are going on 5 months old.
    I have been doing everything to include cleaning their coop everyday, feeding them 5 grain laying pellets, scratch food, oyster shells and grit, clean fresh water everyday, 2 holistic snack meals of fresh greens, tomatoes, yogurt, veggies and fruits of all sorts, live an freeze dried meal-worms, fresh cut grass, gym set to perch and fly on, wood ash for bathing in, brought two fake ceramic eggs and put them in the nesting boxes and even walking around the coop area talking like a chicken!!
    No eggs yet. Can anyone with more experiences tell me if I am doing anything wrong. Help!!
  2. Yorkshire Coop

    Yorkshire Coop Moderator Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2014
    Yorkshire, UK
    My Coop
    Hi :welcome

    Glad you could join us here! Congratulations on getting your new chicken adventures started :clap
    It sound like you are a doing fantastic job at caring for your birds. The learning Center is a great place to check out if you have not already done so. Please do pop by ~

    Wishing you the very best of luck for the future and enjoy your time here on BYC :frow
  3. cluckcluckgirl

    cluckcluckgirl Queen of the Coop Premium Member

    Jun 16, 2012
    Tending to my chickens

    Chickens will begin to lay whenever their bodies tell them they should (with all the right conditions). Also, depending on where you are (northern or southern hemisphere), they may not lay for a little while more. It's becoming fall and winter, which mean less daylight hours, which a chicken needs in order to lay eggs. The earliest a hen of mine has ever begun to lay was at 5 months old, but each breed and individual chicken can range from 4 months to upwards of 7 months.
  4. Little Fuzzy

    Little Fuzzy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 16, 2016
    You are doing great. They are only 16 weeks, too young for laying still. I don't think they should get layer feed till about 18 weeks. Don't worry it will happen.
  5. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Welcome to BYC! It's great to have you.

    Sounds like you really care about your birds. One word of advice, don't overdo it on the treats and snacks. They should exceed 10% of the diet - even the stuff that seems healthy, like fruits and veggies. They're like kids with candy; it tastes good and so they won't limit themselves to a healthy balance, and you have to do it for them.

    And to some extent I do agree with @Little Fuzzy. Sixteen weeks is a low end age for switching to layer feed - I don't think it would hurt them at this age, persay, but I do think they might benefit from remaining on a grower ration for another few weeks or until you see your first eggs.
  6. mychickenpeeps

    mychickenpeeps New Egg

    Oct 9, 2016
    Awesome, awesome. I was starting to worry about my good intentions to love them unconditionally like my 4 legged kids!!
    My favorite quote: "Lesson taught, lesson learned". What is "grower ration feed". Please educate me so that I can go out immediately and get some to feed them with. I really want to do the right thing by them and make all of us, "happy"!! Thanks for your advise and peace and blessings to you all.
  7. debbiedo

    debbiedo Just Hatched

    Oct 8, 2016
    Alpine ca.
    I have 4 hens. 2 barred rock 2 Buff. They are 6 months yesterday. 1 of the buffs started laying 2 weeks ago. 1 egg every day. 1 barred rock just started 4 days ago. The others are not laying yet. But I think they will soon. I just give them laying pullets and meal worms. A treat every other day.The eggs are small. Hope they get larger soon.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2016
  8. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    There are three kinds of a feed a chicken should have throughout it's life. In my opinion, the ideal feeding regimen (others opinions may vary regarding medicated feeds) is like this:

    0-8 weeks, medicated chick starter. It contains 18-20% protein and ~1% calcium. It is medicated with Amprolium, a synthetic substance that mimics Vitamin B, to prevent coccidiosis.

    8-18 weeks (or until lay), non-medicated grower feed. Similar to starter in it's values (18-20% protein, ~1% calcium) but lacking medication. (If you feed a non-mediated starter, such as an organic starter, than you can feed that from 0-18 weeks or until lay instead.

    18+ weeks or after the birds have begun to lay, you can feed a layer ration. This is usually 16-17% protein and 3-5% calcium. It should be fed to hens who are currently laying or expected to lay soon and nothing else.

    Mind that the only real differences between any of these feeds are protein and calcium levels. Extra protein for growing birds, lower for adults. Extra calcium is a necessity for hens in lay to prevent depletion of the calcium within their bodies, but can be quite damaging to young birds or cocks, because they cannot excrete the calcium via eggs and so must filter it through their kidneys, causing lots of damage. It's less harmful to adult birds, because their kidneys are stronger and can handle it without showing outward symptoms. But the younger the birds, the higher the chance of damage. Again, at 16 weeks I don't think it's going to make them actively sick or anything; but it's not particularly beneficial either as its only a drag on their systems until they are laying eggs.

    And keep in mind that so called "laying feed" does not contain any special ingredient that makes hens lay. It contains high levels of calcium. That's it. That's all it does to promote laying. In many cases, such as when you have young pullets coming into lay at potentially different ages, it can be ideal to simply keep the flock on grower feed and supplement their calcium via crushed oyster shell. This allows each pullet to monitor her own intake of calcium; therefore hens who are close to lay can consume more while pullets who have a while yet before they mature simply won't eat it until they feel the need. You'll find many long time keepers and breeders keep their flocks on a grower ration (or a very similar flock raiser) 365 days a year as it is suitable for all ages and species, and simply allow the females of each species and age to consume oyster shell as needed.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2016
    2 people like this.
  9. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    It's quite normal for young hens to lay small eggs for the first several months. They will also likely lay eggs which are strange in shape or type or lay at irregular intervals during the same time period. For the first while, abnormal is normal.
    1 person likes this.
  10. lovechicks1293

    lovechicks1293 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hello and [​IMG] from Michigan! i don't know much about egg laying, but keep being patient, it WILL pay off, soon you will have to many eggs to eat!

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