Pullets not laying at 27weeks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by PleasantPasture, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. PleasantPasture

    PleasantPasture New Egg

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    Jan 17, 2012
    I am new to Back Yard Chickens but I found it one day looking for answer about my pullets that are not laying yet. I was just wondering if anyone out their might be able to help me or point me toward someone to talk to about my problem? I purchased some ready to lay pullet hens at the end of Nov. and they were 18-20 weeks old then. Now they are 26-28 weeks old and I am only getting 18-24 eggs a day from them. I live in Northern Illinois and its the middle of Jan. so its cold and snowing here now but it was nice and easy for the month of Dec. and I figured that with nice weather the pullets would have started to lay by now. They have been on 24hr light since they were delivered because the guy I purchased them from said to keep them on 24hr light until they start laying full production and then bring them down to about 18hrs light slowly. I have around 200 birds total of these pullets and with all of them I'm only getting 18-24 eggs a day. I feed them all natural feed from a local farmer and I use Fertrell Nutri-Balancer for the feed. I give them a 50lb bag feed every day and have been putting Apple Cider Vinegar in their water for the last 12 days. Im at my wits end with these birds and am looking for any help out their to either get these birds laying. Any help you might have for me would be very helpful. Thank you so much.
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Ok, let's work through this carefully, as there are a number of things in your post, and some missing details.

    I'm gonna guess around 200 given that you are feeding 50 lbs of feed per day. That is 1/4 of a pound of feed per pullet,. You can correct or adjust this estimate of mine. That is marginal in the cold weather.

    Second, the advice given you was wrong. Just wrong. 24 hour light is wrong and unneeded for POL pullets. 12-14 hours of light would have been PLENTY to encourage laying. By decreasing the light slowly, you are signaling them to slow down, to stop laying. This is difficult but must now be overcome.

    Here is what my guidance would be. I'd pull the plug on the supplemental lighting entirely for a few days. Allow them to reset their internal clocks, which now are all goofed up. Chickens are photo reactive and it is increasing and decreasing light that they cue on as much as total hours of light. So, after a week of only 8 hours natural sunrise and sunset light they will hopefully reset. Then, add your supplemental light only in the pre-dawn hours. Slowly increase the light 10 minutes a day until the light is clicking on at 5 am. With natural sunset at 5:30 pm, they will have to work themselves back up to 12 and half hours of light. It will be in increasing duration of this program that help them. Frankly, 12 1/2 hours of light is more than I ever use with first year pullets and my laying has held steady at 80% flock daily laying average.

    This can be sorted out and "fixed". I'm very sorry the seller told you to give them 24 hours and then decrease it. That is simply mis-informed advice. Sorry.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012
  3. PleasantPasture

    PleasantPasture New Egg

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    Jan 17, 2012
    Thank you so much for the help. I will be starting the chickens on natural light tomorrow. So just to make sure I understand you right. I need to let the birds be on natural light for a week and then slowly over time bring them to the light coming on at 5am for them? Now the sunrise is at 720am and sunset at 5pm. So from when the sun rises here work from 720 and go every ten minutes till I get the birds to 5am? Now should I change their time every night or wait a few days so they can get used to the new light time? Thank you again for the help and I will keep updates on how it is working for me.
     
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Yup. That's about all you go do on the lighting front.

    Your feed. What is the content and quality of that feed? Where these chicks raised organic 100% from hatch?
    The supplement package your feeding is mostly calcium, salt and some trace minerals. Ok, but again, do you know for sure the nature of the feed you are buying from your neighbor? Do you have a feed tag? This is from the Hubbard feed I use.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Also, what breed, hybrid or strain are these pullets?
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. PleasantPasture

    PleasantPasture New Egg

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    Jan 17, 2012
    The feed I am getting is all natural feed that I get at 1ton a time. The mixer is Fertrell's plan for laying hens at 17% protein. One thing is that the chickens were not raised 100% organic but I was told that since I was changing the chickens feed from pullet mix to layers mix that it would be fine to go from non-organic to organic feed. The farmer I get my feed from gives the same feed to his birds and they are laying just fine. Now could their be something in the corn or soybeans that could be throwing the chickens off?
     
  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Switching to organic feed is fine. Just wondered if you were aware that you cannot market the eggs as organic, if that matters. True organic must be organic from hatch. You can market them as organic fed, however.

    If you're feeding 17% protein layer feed, I suspect that feed isn't a huge part of the equation. However, I'd question the 4oz of feed, per pullet, per day during the winter. I'm feeding 6oz during the winter, because it is so cold here.

    Again, what strain/breed???
     
  8. PleasantPasture

    PleasantPasture New Egg

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    Jan 17, 2012
    The breed of chicken is a Rhode Island Red. Its not a hybrid or anything like that.

    When I got my egg licenses the USDA inspector let me know about them not being about to market them as organic eggs but that saying they are fed organic feed is fine.

    I started the birds on all natural light Sunday and will keep them on that till next Sunday and then slowly bring them into a lighting schedule. Thank you so much for the help and I hope this is fix the laying problem.
     
  9. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    We wish you the very best. Keep us informed about their progress. My guess would be at once you kick in the light to around 5 am, using natural sunset at 5:30-6:00 pm, your laying will become quite predictable and regular. Again, 4 oz is sort of feed minimum for laying hens. I find that most will consume a bit more during colder weather.
     
  10. PleasantPasture

    PleasantPasture New Egg

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    Jan 17, 2012
    Just wanted to say thank you for the help and to let you know that putting them on natural light for the week really helped and kick them into production. They started slow but have been moving up from the 16eggs a day to last night getting 67eggs. It has been going up about 6-7 eggs a day so hopefully this will keep going and they will be laying full production soon. I do have a question though about some of the pullets who don't seem to be laying or Im not seeing them in the nesting boxes. Do you know of a way that I can check them to see if they are laying at all? I was thinking of putting say one pullet in a room by themselves for a day or two just to see if they lay or not. But wasn't sure if that would just stress them out and keep them from laying. Any ideas of how to see if they are laying and if not I can cull them and stop feeding them. Thank you again for the help.
     

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