RIR start to lay question

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kimbobim, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. kimbobim

    kimbobim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 23, 2009
    Highland, Utah
    I apologize if this has been covered already. I've searched the forums and can't find an answer to my question. I know that winter slows down egg production in chickens - they need the 14 hours of daylight to produce well, etc. Does the winter darkness also delay the onset of laying? We have 3 Rhode Island Reds that are almost 22 weeks old, and none of them are laying yet. I've read a lot of postings where other people's RIRs have been laying at 19 or 20 weeks. Our girls' combs are still small and pink, which I've read is a sign that they're not mature enough to lay yet. Is this true?

    Also, if they are not laying (but are 22 weeks old), should I be feeding them layer pellets, or starter pellets? We've been feeding them layer pellets for the last two weeks.

    Thanks so much!
  2. msgenie516

    msgenie516 The Happy Hen

    May 16, 2008
    Nesconset, LI, NY

    My 4 RIR's started laying at just about 20 weeks to 22 weeks, with the first one laying in the middle of December. So, in my case, it didn't seem that the winter affected them. But I think it depends on the individual chicken.

    The instructions on my feed were to start layer pellets at 18 weeks, which is what I did. However, I have read that you shouldn't start the layer pellets until they actually start laying. But starting them at 18 weeks didn't seem to have any ill effects, so I'm not sure which is best.

    The small, pink combs are an indication that they are not yet ready to lay. Also, they usually start to "squat" shortly before they begin laying. Not always, though, as my BO's started laying before I ever noticed a squat.

    Since your RIR's went through the entire winter before coming to laying age, that also may have delayed them some.

    They are the best layers I have and I'm sure yours will start laying soon! Good luck! [​IMG] Genie

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