Rhode Island Red egg laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by gamefowl-layers, Jan 12, 2016.

  1. gamefowl-layers

    gamefowl-layers Out Of The Brooder

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    Does anyone know when my Rhode Island Red hens will begin laying eggs? I bought 8 of them and they seem to be around 3-4 months old. Does anyone know when exactly or on average when they start laying? Thank you
     
  2. gamefowl-layers

    gamefowl-layers Out Of The Brooder

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  3. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    [​IMG] Welcome to BYC!

    Chickens start laying at different ages, so there is no hard and fast rule. Some signs you can look for is the combs and waddles becoming red, interest in the nesting boxes. Patience is the name of the game. 3-4mo old is most likely a bit young for large fowl.
    If you haven't done so, just search at the top, there are several RIR threads.
    If you can, post some pics, we'd love to see your flock!
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Average onset of lay for most breeds is 18-24 weeks.
    Some high production hybrids will lay earlier and some large fowl breeds will lay much later.

    New layers can be quite goofy acting, they don't know what they are doing at first and can be confused and anxious, it can take up to a month or so before they get it all figured out. Putting some fake eggs or golf balls in the nest might help show them where to lay. They may scratch around in the nests for weeks before laying, spreading the bedding everywhere. They will scratch around a bit less in nest as they get used to the routine. Meanwhile, eggs everywhere, some of them can be rather funky looking, soft or thin shelled, huge double yolked eggs.

    Signs of onset of lay---I've found the pelvic points to be the most accurate.
    Squatting:
    If you touch their back they will hunker down on the ground, then shake their tail feathers when they get back up.
    This shows they are sexually mature and egg laying is close at hand.

    Combs and Wattles:
    Plump, shiny red - usually means laying.
    Shriveled, dryish looking and pale - usually means not laying.
    Tho I have found that the combs and wattles can look full and red one minute then pale back out the next due to exertion or excitement, can drive ya nuts when waiting for a pullet to lay!

    2 bony points(pelvic bones) on either side of vent:
    Less than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means not laying.
    More than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means laying.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016
  5. gamefowl-layers

    gamefowl-layers Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 12, 2016
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    Thanks for the information! I bought them a Egg Maker 15 bag from Walmart and hopefully I'll be getting some RIR Eggs soon. Also have the incubator ready. Wish me luck!
     
  6. gamefowl-layers

    gamefowl-layers Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 12, 2016
    Littlerock California

    Thank you! And thanks for the advice! Hopefully they'll start laying soon. Recently got a ranch type house and everybody here has chickens. I bought 8 Pullets and 2 roosters. The pullets look like they are going to lay any day now. I also bought some silkies for $5 each but they're too young. (Week old)
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Don't feed layer feed until they are all laying, it has too much calcium....stick with grower or starter.

    .....or......

    I like to feed a 'flock raiser' 20% protein crumble 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 (mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided during molting and if I see any feather eating.
     
  8. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    X2
     
  9. uwharrie chick

    uwharrie chick New Egg

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    May 22, 2015
    I'm new to this but also have Rhode Island Reds.They started laying around 5 to 5.5 months regularly in August and totally stopped in mid-Oct.Don't know why.I have 3 and at the time I was getting 2 and sometimes 3 eggs a day.Hope this helps.
     

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