Should I be concerned that she's not laying?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by SusanD, Oct 2, 2015.

  1. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    I had a question about late laying breeds and when to worry if they haven't started laying. My Langshan chicken is 7 months now (which I understand is the usual age they start) and is not yet laying. I'm willing to be patient (especially since my other two are laying). However, if there is something that I am doing wrong, or if she has an undiagnosed health issue I would want to find that out. Based on your experience with the late laying breeds and considering the season (fall), how long would you give her to lay before becoming concerned?
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    I'd give her at least another month - some chickens are simply late developers. You should be able to tell when she is about ready to lay as her wattle will become redder and she will being squatting in front of you.
    CT
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I’m not that familiar with Langsham, just that they are slow-maturing. I’ll take your word that seven months is when they normally start to lay.

    When to preteen or teen girls develop? Is it at exactly the same age? Of course not, there can be quite a bit of variety. It’s the same with pullets starting to lay. You can come up with an average or when they normally start but an individual can be way off the chart.

    Another thing that affects it besides heredity is time of year. Some pullets will start to lay whenever they have matured enough, some will wait until the days are getting longer in spring to start. Production breeds tend to start earlier, non-production breeds tend to among those that wait. Again, this can vary tremendously by the individual. Light has a big effect on hens laying. With some the length of the day has an effect, others not so much. The days getting longer or shorter usually have a lot more effect than length of daylight, but not always. There are different triggers that cause a hen to release a yolk and start an egg through her internal egg making factory. With some hens daylight is a huge trigger, others not so much but they still need daylight to release that yolk at the right time so they are not laying at night.

    If I hatch and raise ten pullets from my eggs the first will probably start to lay around 19 weeks. The last should be laying by 27 weeks. This is normal for my flock, but I’ve had some start as early as 16 weeks. I had one batch that did not start until nine months. Surprisingly these started in December with the days about as short as they are going to get and still getting shorter. I did not provide supplemental light. Once they started they were great layers, just really slow to start. Sometimes, maybe even often, those that start late are not great layers once they start compared to the early starters.

    I can’t tell you how long you should give her to start, especially this time of year in Oregon with the days getting shorter. That’s a personal decision and I don’t know what your options are. If it’s that important to you then you can try adding supplemental light, extending the day gradually to maybe trick her into starting but look at the length of day. If you stop the supplemental light before the days are naturally that long you could start a molt in all your chickens.

    It would be nice if these things were clear cut and simple but you are dealing with living animals. They just don’t come with guarantees.

    Good luck!
     
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  4. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for the replies. More time it is [​IMG] She is my favorite chicken (very sweet personality), and so I wanted to make sure that I wasn't doing something wrong that was stopping her from laying.
     
  5. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    As of today, she has not laid yet. If its the weather we are looking at, I understand she may not lay a first egg until spring? If that is the case, should I be taking her off layer feed? She has been on layer feed since July, and I do not want her to get preventable kidney damage. If so, would all flock with oyster shell be a nutritionally balanced feed option for the three of them? Or would sending her to my sister's for a few months (assuming my sister agrees and still has her chicken coop) so that she can be on grower feed be a good idea?

    Thanks,

    Susan
     
  6. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Hi,

    I don't have any experience with winter times and laying as i live in Kenya where its warm every day (yippee). If you give growers and offer optional oyster shell then thats fine for them all - some BYCers do just that for their layers so it must be ok.

    All the best
    CT
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Yep.
    It's especially good for them if if you like to feed scratch grains and other 'treats'

    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.

    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. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for your replies. It does sound like a lot of you have been able to make this work. Besides calcium, what are the other differences between laver feed and other feed? I did ask about the poultry vet I chatted with (she was the one who gave me the idea that the weather might be the issue) about taking Blackie off layer feed, and she was concerned I might damage the two layers (from rereading our conversation, it sounded like she was concerned about the amounts of other nutrients, especially calcium to phosphorus ratios).
     
  9. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    I'm fairly sure its only an issue of additional Ca, but i seem to recall a thread relating to the nutritional content of different feeds here on BYC - maybe you can search for it?

    CT
     
  10. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks, I will go ahead and do that.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2015

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