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Plymouth Barred Rock laying at 4 months

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MotherCluckher, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. MotherCluckher

    MotherCluckher Hatching

    Jan 31, 2017
    I went to go check on my girls this morning and discovered what I think is our first "egg" My girls were born around the first of December so they are about 4 1/2 months old. We hadn't switched to laying crumbles yet, we thought they wouldn't be laying eggs for another month or so at the soonest. Is 4 1/2 months old early for laying eggs? [​IMG]

    What you see in the picture above is a ceramic egg we put in there to gauge their behavior and nesting tendencies, next it to we found this leathery skin looking shell, I presume, and the ceramic egg covered in yolk. I'm guessing they laid this egg at night since it wasn't in a nest box it, looks like they pooped it out at night while they were sleeping based on where we found it.

    So my questions are, does this mean they will be laying eggs regularly soon or could this be a one off? If we start them on laying crumbles right away how long will it take to correct any calcium deficiency?

    Is there anything else we need to prepare or keep in mind now that they are laying?

  2. Leah567

    Leah567 Hopelessly Addicted

    Apr 3, 2017
    My Coop
    Yes, It is normal that your barred rock is laying at 4 1/2 months. Barred rocks can start laying between 16 - 24 weeks. She should start laying regularly now. I wouldn't switch to layer crumbles until your other hens lay.
    Hope this helps!
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I agree, 4-1/2 months is not all that early for many pullets to start laying. Sometimes, especially when they start laying pretty early, they don’t have full control over the egg. Pullets can lay some weird eggs, but usually they get a handle on doing it correctly fairly soon. It’s such a complicate process I guess the surprising thing is that so many do get it right to start with.

    My suggestion is to offer them oyster shell on the side. Those that need the extra calcium for the egg shells seem to know they need to eat it, the ones that don’t need it shouldn’t eat enough to harm themselves. That’s how many of us handle raising chicks with the flock, feed them all a low calcium feed like Grower or Flock Raiser and offer oyster shell on the side.
  4. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Crowing

    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    If they were hatched 12/1 they are 19 weeks old. Not far off from 20 weeks when many of my hatchery birds start to lay.
  5. MotherCluckher

    MotherCluckher Hatching

    Jan 31, 2017
    That's good to know, we are doing just the oyster shell on the side and finishing the current bag of chick grower / mash. When that runs out we will probably start the layer crumble. Here's hoping the other ladies start laying but I think it will be a few weeks. There is only one other chicken that just recently started doing the squat and wiggle. Based on when the first one did that it will be a week or two before the second one lays eggs.
  6. TheTwoRoos

    TheTwoRoos Crowing

    Sep 25, 2015
    If they ares squatting you will be getting another egg in less then a week,that is generally what that means.
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!

    You could keep on with the starter and offer oyster shell on the side in a separate dish.
    Sometimes sprinkling just a dozen pieces of OS on top of feed will entice the layers to start using the separate dish of it.

    : I like to feed a flock raiser/starter/grower/finisher type feed with 20% protein crumble full time to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat. I do grind up the crumbles (in the blender) for the chicks for the first week or so.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer. I adjust the amounts of other feeds to get the protein levels desired with varying situations.

    Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    Animal protein (a freshly trapped mouse, mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided once in while and during molting and/or if I see any feather eating.
    barred2rock likes this.

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