Pullets STILL not really laying...could I have messed them up?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by laceyyates, Sep 21, 2016.

  1. laceyyates

    laceyyates Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 9, 2016
    I have 18 pullets in the coop. My friend raised them for me and I took them home when they were about 10 weeks old. NOT even thinking TWICE, they were introduced to my older laying hens and have since been on layer feed!!!! I have culled all my older hens since and am only getting 3 eggs every other day. They are all the same age at 25 weeks old. I have a mixed flock: columbian wyandottes, black coppers, speckled sussex, cukoo marans, welsummers... All are very healthy and happy...

    My question: Are they doomed since I started them on layer so early (I just didn't know that wasn't acceptable until lately!!!! I just recently turned into a crazy chicken lady [​IMG] ) Or are they just SUPER late layers? All the breeds I have should start laying around the 20 week mark.

    Next time I start pullets I promise they will be on grower until they begin laying... but could someone rest my mind?
  2. CleanEggs

    CleanEggs Just Hatched

    Jul 31, 2016
    Fort Lauderdale
    When my birds ( older than yours) stopped laying, I gave them massive amounts of protein every other day. Meal worms, boiled eggs, dried Fisk, even kitten chow! It if full of fat and protein. Just to kick start them. And it worked.
    Also, are their legs still yellow? I have been told they won't lay until they lose that color. It's a sign that their bodies are still getting ready.
    Borrowing a rooster might help too.
    Good luck!
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Your feed regime is not the cause of non-laying - rest assured of that. Are they showing signs of laying? (reddening of combs, wattles, showing interest in the nest boxes, submissive squatting). I'd say giving them a good while longer before being overly concerned is the way I would go. If you free range, then do check around to see if they have selected somewhere else other than the coop to lay.
    1 person likes this.
  4. laceyyates

    laceyyates Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 9, 2016
    Thank you for the responses. I was concerned that the layer (with the added calcium) would have messed with their young systems. I do have a black copper maran rooster that has been with them the last couple weeks. Some of their combs are redder, but most still have pretty pale combs yet. I had only one speckled sussex that was submissive squatting, and I suspect she is one that is currently laying every other day
  5. carlf

    carlf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 2, 2016
    Mobile, AL
    Feeding layer feed did not somehow permanently damage them.
    Basically, be patient.
    The books might say they "should" lay at 20 weeks, but the authors of the books forget to tell the chickens the instructions!
    1 person likes this.
  6. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    While feeding layer feed to young birds not yet laying isn't the most ideal thing for their health, I doubt this caused them too much harm in the long run. Young chicks can be terribly effected as can the very old, neither using excess calcium. Many roosters and other male fowl are subjected to layer feed all their lives and live well with no ill effects. Not to say that some don't develop gout or some other sort of kidney issue from too much calcium. However in this case, there probably is little damage being that it wasn't all that long on layer feed. If I were in this position and were too concerned, I might get them on some sort of Flock Raiser or Chick starter right now and keep oyster shell on the side. This way they are not ingesting more calcium they are not yet using a lot of. Calcium is stored in the bones of the bird and draw upon this storage each time they lay. So until they begin really being laying on a regular basis, you might cut back with some Flock Raiser or Starter feed. You might even get them on some sort of alternative healing. Tart Cherry is supposed to really help clear out uric acid and mineral build up in kidneys and joints. Watch the color of the urates too. Yellow can sometimes indicate kidney damage.

    Many of the heavier breeds do mature slower than the production breeds. Some heavy breeds hold off until 26 or even 28 weeks to begin laying. Your birds will be far healthier the longer they wait to lay. The shortening of the days will also slow production down, even if they are first year layers.

    Good luck and I hope they begin laying soon! :)
    3 people like this.

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