Still waiting on egg laying?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Plymrocker, Dec 20, 2014.

  1. Plymrocker

    Plymrocker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 21, 2014
    Hi there, egg-laying experts!

    I have a quick inquiry I have been meaning to get on here and ask you all.

    We have a flock of 6 hens and 1 rooster. Each of the hens are a different breed. We got them at a day old in July (on the 10th), and they will be 24 weeks on Christmas day. However, we only have one egg layer so far. She is a Red Star/Golden Comet; she laid her first egg at about 18 1/2 weeks old (on Nov. 17th), and has laid one pretty much every day since. But nothing from the rest of the hens still. In case it matters, their breeds, one of each are: an Australorp, Plymouth Rock, Silver-Laced Wyandott, Rhode Island Red, and a Buff Orpington.

    Age wise, we expected them to start laying in early December maybe, right? But maybe the fact that it's winter and there is less light, is delaying them? We do not intend to add light for forced laying through the winter. However, they are outdoors all day, and then there is a light in their coop on a timer, that goes off around 7:30 pm for the night, once they are all settled on their roosts.

    Not sure what we should be expecting at this point, but I hope you all can share your thoughts and educate us.
    Thanks so much. (And Merry Christmas to you all!)
     
  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    Your birds will likely wait until spring to begin laying. Though young pullets often start before the fall, if they haven't started yet, shortened daylight hours will discourage them from laying.

    Also, chickens usually start laying between 5 and 7 months old. So, you 24 week old chickens are still in the early end of that range. They may start laying soon, despite the short daylight hours.
     
  3. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi there,

    Much like as people mature at different rates, so too do chickens. Some will start laying as soon as they turn 18 weeks, and some will wait it out until they are 30 weeks old. The orpingtons in particular can be a little slow to get started in the egg-laying department, but every bird is unique and we can't bundle all orpies into the same boat. I was lucky - mine started around the 24 week mark, so you really can't predict by breed.

    As chicken owners we tend to put a lot of pressure on our girls to start laying. Many people are of the opinion that "Well, they are 18 weeks old now, they should be laying, right?" The truth is that only the minority of birds start laying at 18 weeks, so it would not surprise me if yours held out for a little while yet.

    I think you are very correct in highlighting Winter and the decreasing daylight hours as a possible delay in the onset of laying. Rest assured though, that once they are ready to lay you will have some good solid hens in the breeds you have selected. I have BO's and RIR's and they are fantastic layers. I have heard good things about the Wyandottes, PR's and Australorps too.

    Don't worry, I am sure it won't be long until you are googling "How to make a 10 egg omelette!"

    My best wishes to you. The wait can be long but they will get there in the end. Merry Christmas!

    - Krista
     
  4. Plymrocker

    Plymrocker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 21, 2014
    @Wyandottes7 and @krista74 , thank you both very much, for this excellent info!! I had wondered if maybe they will wait until spring, because of the close timing and lack of light at this point. But that is quite fine with us!! The eggs are a mere perk, so no pressure on our girls from us! We really love our hens. Having 4 kids, each of the hens (and the rooster) have a name, and each are spoiled with kind attention and loved. So we can wait for eggs until they are good and ready to give them to us. We just wondered what we might expect at this point.
    Thank you so much for your knowledge and time!!
     
  5. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You're most welcome.

    As an interesting side note, I don't have any kids but my hens and the rooster all have names too [​IMG]

    Like you, I don't like to place pressure on the girls to lay eggs either, and I don't provide any supplemental lighting in the Winter months. They will lay when they want to lay!

    My main concern is keeping the girls happy and healthy and giving them a good quality of life. Indeed, I even have a few who don't even lay any more. The old, the sick and the lame - they all have a home with me, lol.

    Just their presence alone is good enough for me - they are a joy to have. Any eggs they give are simply the icing on the cake.

    - Krista
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2014
  6. Plymrocker

    Plymrocker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I enjoyed reading your reply, @krista74 ! I bet in some ways, your hens ARE like your kids, but they get your undivided attention. :) We are so new to this chicken-keeping. This is our first flock, and we raised them from one day old, while my husband built their coop! Nonetheless, it sounds like we have similar chicken-keeping style! I have always wanted to have chickens, so it's a little dream come true for me. And my kids were SO excited to get them, and still are every day. So they are not only spoiled with love and attention, but visiting people see their coop and say "I'd love to like to love into that myself!" It does have some real cute factor. My husband went way over my simple expectations. I am sure we will keep them until their very last days, no matter how old and otherwise useless, they get. We have big picture windows, so even while in the house, our view out the back is our coop, the run, and all of our feathered lovies. :)

    Thanks so much for sharing with me.
     
  7. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

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    I have never had chickens "wait" for spring. I usually see my chickens laying more right after the winter solstice. You may be in luck to see more eggs soon.
     
  8. Plymrocker

    Plymrocker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Interesting, @Cindy in PA ! We'll keep a lookout, just in case then!
     
  9. Plymrocker

    Plymrocker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 21, 2014
    Just a fun little update to tell you all that a second hen has laid an egg! Our Rhode Island Red, 'Hanover', laid one whilst eating some feed, right in front of our son. LOL. She's not shy I guess! Hopefully her next one will be properly laid in the nesting boxes, for good habit.
     
  10. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Congratulations, how exciting for you!

    Sometimes it takes a while for them to figure it all out, but they will get there n the end.

    Until then, maybe pop some golf balls or fake eggs into the nest boxes to encourage them to lay in the appropriate place.

    - Krista
     

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