So here's my theory!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by crash0330, Dec 19, 2010.

  1. crash0330

    crash0330 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok so this year is the first year that I raised chickens since they we're babies and had the cjance to see their development and all, so far the earliest I've seen an egg is 20 weeks old and that one was laid by a Production red hen soon after a second production pullet followed, and it took about another 2 or 3 weeks for the rest of them to start, up till now they are 32 weeks old but I have noticed that the longest it takes them to start laying the better the egg size they lay, for example I have 3 EE's one of them started laying about 2 weeks ago when she was 30 weeks old and today a second EE started laying, she is 32 weeks old, and both her eggs are almost full size eggs even the one who started 2 weeks ago started laying really big eggs out of the gate, and I've noticed that the eggs from all the other chickens are also gradually getting bigger, but the 2 production reds and 3 other hens who started laying first their eggs are still pretty small.
    I also have another batcjh of hens all of them are 25 weeks old and they're just started laying and they're all laying decent size eggs.
    So Im thinking that the longer the hen takes to lay an egg the bigger the size she will lay out of the gate.

    Ps. sorry if this has been disscussed before and I'm bringing it up again.
     
  2. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    Quote:You are correct. It has more to do with the weight of the hen when she starts laying though. The longer it takes them to start laying, the more weight they are putting on.
     
  3. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    Seattle
    Quote:Not necessarily. I had one that laid WAY later than the rest in the flock; she laid at nearly 40 weeks old, while the rest of the flock laid at 19 weeks, 23-24 weeks, and 28-32 weeks old. She is a blue wyandotte, and her eggs were, and are, the SMALLEST eggs in the flock. She's the biggest beach-ball of a bird, but she lays the smallest (and fewest) eggs. Normally she spends all her time being broody, or molting and eating like a pig. She's a nice bird, though and I keep her 'cuz she's pretty and a good natured dominant hen.

    I have a slightly different theory, though. Based on my experience, our pullet that laid the earliest (at 19 weeks) had the most trouble with her eggs at first - like her oviduct was still getting things sorted out. She started by laying nice solid eggs, then after two weeks laid strange-shaped eggs, double-yolked eggs, eggs without shells from the roost at night, etc. Then, after a few more weeks of erratic egg-laying, she molted at 7 months old! After she was done molting and resumed laying, however, her eggs were perfect, large and beautiful. The other birds, which were a little older when they started laying, had almost no egg problems, continued laying steadily, and didn't molt until 18 months.

    My theory is: the earlier they lay, the more initial egg-laying problems and, when you factor in the early molt which stops egglaying, you may be getting fewer eggs with an early layer. So, don't necessarily wish for your pullets to start laying too early, and be thankful if they take a little longer. All this seems to be true for me, except in the case of my blue wyandotte - and I think her issues could be a BW trait.
     
  4. Mervin

    Mervin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a sex link hen that started laying around 17 weeks. After a few weeks, she became a very steady layer. She lays that largest eggs in my flock and she's probably not missed a day in 2 1/2 or 3 months. I wouldn't mind if she'd slow down a little. I don't want her to burn out young.

    My late layers are all over the board. I have an EE that was last to lay, she lays a tiny egg. I have a BR who was pretty far behind and her egg is pretty long, but kind of skinny. Everybody else is kind of average.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2010
  5. crash0330

    crash0330 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Not necessarily. I had one that laid WAY later than the rest in the flock; she laid at nearly 40 weeks old, while the rest of the flock laid at 19 weeks, 23-24 weeks, and 28-32 weeks old. She is a blue wyandotte, and her eggs were, and are, the SMALLEST eggs in the flock. She's the biggest beach-ball of a bird, but she lays the smallest (and fewest) eggs. Normally she spends all her time being broody, or molting and eating like a pig. She's a nice bird, though and I keep her 'cuz she's pretty and a good natured dominant hen.

    I have a slightly different theory, though. Based on my experience, our pullet that laid the earliest (at 19 weeks) had the most trouble with her eggs at first - like her oviduct was still getting things sorted out. She started by laying nice solid eggs, then after two weeks laid strange-shaped eggs, double-yolked eggs, eggs without shells from the roost at night, etc. Then, after a few more weeks of erratic egg-laying, she molted at 7 months old! After she was done molting and resumed laying, however, her eggs were perfect, large and beautiful. The other birds, which were a little older when they started laying, had almost no egg problems, continued laying steadily, and didn't molt until 18 months.

    My theory is: the earlier they lay, the more initial egg-laying problems and, when you factor in the early molt which stops egglaying, you may be getting fewer eggs with an early layer. So, don't necessarily wish for your pullets to start laying too early, and be thankful if they take a little longer. All this seems to be true for me, except in the case of my blue wyandotte - and I think her issues could be a BW trait.

    Oh I totally agree with what you says about the egg problems at early age, the first month that my hens started laying, I only had about 5 of them laying, I found a lot of double yolkers and weird shaped eggs I even found a shelless one but after that month I haven't found a single double yolker and now almost all of them are laying.
     
  6. crash0330

    crash0330 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So what do you guys think, maybe the strain where the hen comes from is what's causing this? I'm thinking it might because my 2 production reds are the ones that are laying rather smaller eggs than the rest, and like I said my 2 EE's they were large size right out of the gate.
     
  7. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    There are other factors involved in egg size such as breed, the amount of nutrients they are getting, and health, but in general egg size is mostly affected by hen weight.

    The smaller the bird when it starts laying, the smaller the egg and vice versa. Hens should grow rather rapidly before lay, but once egg production starts resources are diverted to laying eggs and hen growth slows down. Small birds that commence laying generally stay smaller longer and egg size remains smaller longer.

    Most birds will not start laying until they have reached the appropriate size and have surplus energy to support reproduction. Spring hatched birds that are eating less due to high summer temperatures and are burning a lot of energy running around may grow rather slowly during the summer and it can take them a long time to reach the appropriate weight, and they may still be rather small birds, laying small eggs, even after a long, long wait for those eggs. Many have found that feeding extra protein can stimulate slow birds to start laying. This is because the extra protein helps to make up for any nutrient deficits and helps the birds to get up to weight for laying.

    Birds that start laying too early for whatever reason (before they have reached an appropriate body weight) may not have the physical capacity to take in enough energy for both maintenance and egg production, and may start laying at an energy deficit. These birds generally lose weight, stop laying, and may molt early. Once through the molt they generally have the body weight to resume normal production.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2010
  8. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with Mac. The most important thing you can do for you pullets is to put weight on them before they go into production if you want larger eggs. Aside from those first pullet eggs, most of my birds give me good sized eggs on a fairly regular basis regardless of when they started. That doesn't mean there isn't a hiccup in there someplace--a double yolker, fart egg, shell less or misshaped egg, but, otherwise, they've been fairly consistent for their breeds.

    BTW: OP must be the world's longest sentence--got out of breath trying to read through it.
     
  9. crash0330

    crash0330 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So you guys think that if I start feeding my chickens, specially the ones laying the small eggs, a higher protein feed they'll catch up with the other ones on egg size?
     
  10. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    Seattle
    A higher (within reason) protein feed may help increase egg production. But, I'm not sure it will make bigger eggs. Yet, I have found that a good molt improves the overall egg size and quality.
     

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