Point of Lay?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lutherpug, Aug 16, 2016.

  1. lutherpug

    lutherpug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here are my girls. 18 weeks old yesterday, just switched to layer feed and started offering oyster shell. I wasn't even going to entertain the idea that they would start before 24 weeks but I keep seeing my RIR, Waffles, heading in and out of the coop when I'm down there. I still have the nesting boxes blocked off at this point.

    What do you think-too soon? They all seem to have pretty developed combs/wattles. Haven't seen anyone squatting yet.

    Thought I'd solicit some opinions here from the more experienced amongst us [​IMG]

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  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I'd open the nests now...give them time to investigate and make sure they don't try sleeping in them.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2016
  3. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    I agree with aart.
     
  4. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    If no one is laying yet, it is too soon for layer feed and oyster shell.
    Their combs and wattles are red, but it could be another few weeks before an egg is laid.
    I was taught to introduce layer feed and oyster shell at the first egg. Meaning first hen too lay. Until that point, continue to feed grower.
    You can open up the nest boxes so the can start to investigate and do the usual fake laying.
     
  5. lutherpug

    lutherpug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I opened the next boxes. I'm out of town overnight but husband says it appears they've at least explored them.

    I've read that they should be on layer feed from 18 weeks forward. I'll probably leave them on it as it takes a month to get through a bag of feed and we ran out of grower the day before their 18 week birthday.

    I'm anxious to get home tomorrow so I can watch them tomorrow night. Want to make sure nobody thinks this is a fancy new bed!
     
  6. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    You can always close off the nest boxes overnight if you do see them preferring them to their roost. Having roosts higher than nest boxes also helps.

    CT
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    The 'this feed for these weeks' and then 'that feed for these weeks' has some merit, but is not carved in stone(unless you ask the feed manufacturers/sellers).
    They don't need the extra calcium until they start laying, it can clog up their livers over the long term,
    but they won't drop dead or and not likely to really hurt them if you start feeding it a few weeks early.

    A lot of folks with mixed gender and aged flocks feed a starter/grower/all flock type feed full time, providing oyster shell in a separate container always available.
    The extra protein can help offset scratch grains and other 'treats'/foods given....then you don't have to worry about the excess calcium consumed by non layers.
    Some feed layer to all birds all the time with no apparent consequences.
     
  8. lutherpug

    lutherpug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The oyster shell I'm providing is in a separate container, it is not mixed with the feed. They haven't been getting many treats as they don't show much interest in most of the things I've given them. I haven't given junk food-scratch grains, etc. I have been giving them veggies but they're pretty particular in what they'll eat. They adore spinach but are repulsed by squash. Very picky, my girls.

    I get the point about the grower/layer. If my bag of grower would have had another few weeks worth of food I would have stuck with that but it didn't and my intent was always to switch to layer. I'm not terribly concerned about them getting too much calcium for a few weeks.

    Now if they would just lay some eggs....
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. Little Fuzzy

    Little Fuzzy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My leghorns started laying at 17 weeks and my red sex link at 19 weeks.
     
  10. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    I have deleted a few recent posts. Lets not argue about things here please. Offer up your suggestions and leave it at that. What works for one does not necessarily work for the other. Nothing is written in stone and we are all allowed our opinions. Everyone does not have to agree with us at all times.

    Thank you for your cooperation,
    -BYC Staff
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2016

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