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Tale of two situations......

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Howard E, Sep 14, 2016.

  1. Howard E

    Howard E Songster

    Feb 18, 2016
    So back in April, I pick up an assortment of 15 birds from the feed store.......6 of them were going to be for my daughter and the rest for me. One turned out to be a rooster, who has since been deleted.

    So at 15 weeks, she moves 4 of the pullets to her place.........2 BO and 2 RIR.......leaving me with 3 RIR, 5 SLW and 2 NH. Within 2 weeks, her 4 birds start laying and lately she has been getting 2 to 3 eggs per day from her birds.

    I did not get my first egg until this morning. These birds were all picked up as day old chicks the same day. So her birds start laying 2 to 3 weeks ahead of mine.

    The only thing I can tell that is different is my birds are still on a grower ration and she started theirs on layer feed as soon as they picked them up. Hers are confined to a coop and small run. Mine roam around inside a fenced yard, but I've looked and cannot find any hidden nests or stray eggs on the ground. So I don't think mine have started laying until today.

    Curious if jumping the gun on the layer feed could have that affect. I have had oyster shell out for the past few weeks, and there were not paying much attention to it until the past few days. My birds are also more green stuff and bugs than hers and thus eat less commercial feed overall.

    Bottom line is what they eat may have more of an affect on when they start laying than I realized.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016

  2. feeding layer ration earlier doesn't affect when they start to lay, they are different breeds, different breeds lay at different times, and different chickens lay at different times
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Hmmm...seeing you both had some RIR.....it's a valid basis for comparison.
    Doubt the extra calcium could have sparked earlier laying....but maybe the lesser protein?
    Or is it the confinement vs the free ranging?
    More protein and more exercise may support and spark the body to continue growing?

    Confining your birds now, before any more time passes, might be a good way to quantify that you only have the one layer and the others are not hiding eggs somewhere.('looking everywhere' is usually faulty).

    But man, that's a really hard one to conclude?
  4. carlf

    carlf Chirping

    Jul 2, 2016
    Mobile, AL
    My guess is either they simply haven't starting laying or you haven't found the nest yet. Either one is distinct possibility.

    Do you have nest boxes in your coop with fake eggs in the boxes?
  5. Howard E

    Howard E Songster

    Feb 18, 2016
    Yes, I would think the breed differences would have been a factor, if not for the 5 RIR's coming from the same hatch. Hers are laying and mine have not been. My birds were left in the coop for 4 days last weekend, and no eggs.......but now that at least of one them has started, it may be time to do that again. BTW, the egg was found on the ground beneath the roosts. It may have been dropped from there.

    Yes, on the nest boxes, each with golf balls. It occurs to me I never got around to posting an inside picture of my Woods house. This is what I came up with for the nest boxes and where. A hay bale is still there for training wheels to get up on the roosts. About half of them still use it....the rest fly up from the floor. I've never seen any even peek at the nest boxes. I have seen two try to fly up on them to roost, and both fell off.

    BTW, that nest box is not attached to anything. It is simply resting on the brackets, so can be easily removed for cleaning. The bottoms are wire, which is an old way of doing them. In the event of an infestation of mites and such, they would run them back and forth over a fire to clean them up.

    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016
  6. BarbiD

    BarbiD In the Brooder

    May 23, 2016
    Hayes, Virginia
    In my flock, I have two Red Rangers and two Ayam Cemani. One of my Red Rangers started laying 2-3 weeks before the other one and her comb and wattles were much larger. Same with the Ayam Cemanis. All were picked up at the feed store the same day and supposedly all 1 day old chicks. My two Red Rangers do have slight differences in their coloring but my Ayam Cemanis are identical except for the comb size. The one with the smaller comb was last to lay, and her comb is still really small compared to my other regular size hens, but she finally starting laying this weekend. So, I think maybe your daughter just got lucky :) I honestly do not think it is the feed though.
  7. Howard E

    Howard E Songster

    Feb 18, 2016
    Differences in maturation rate is an interesting observation. With her two Buff's, one popped a big bright comb at least 3 or 4 weeks ahead of the other one......so early we thought it might have been a rooster. But if it is, it is an odd one since it is laying eggs. Strange with them coming from the same group, but it happened. But these are also hatchery chicks, so even though they came from the same group, they may not have the same parents. That may also be the case with our 5 RIR's. Even though they were hatched on the same day, they may not have the same parents.

  8. Howard E

    Howard E Songster

    Feb 18, 2016
    So after posting this yesterday, I happened to notice at least one of the RIR running around in the yard yesterday was squatting. First time I've seen any of them doing that. I left them in late this morning and somebody was in there singing. Another good sign. Somebody.....not me......then let them out to run around and about an hour later I'm working in the adjacent garden and I notice one of the RIR's sneaking back to the house and she all alone. I watch and in she goes and starts scratching around in the corners......looking around but not satisfied with what she is finding. She checks out the nesting boxes, but moves on. Goes outside, circles the house a few times.....still looking around, but then goes back inside, at which time I shut all the doors to leave her locked up. I come back to check on things about 10 minutes later and find her in one of the nest boxes. So about half an hour later, she is out of the box, leaving behind a nice fresh small pullet egg. You go girl!

    So at least the RIR's are catching up to their sister's. Still find it odd they are lagging 2 to 3 weeks behind, but better late than never!
  9. JenniferCNY

    JenniferCNY Chirping

    Aug 28, 2016
    I have 3 barred rock pullets that I got at the same time, first of April. The first one started laying almost 5 weeks ago. The third one just started laying today. So my guess would be just differences from one pullet to the other.
  10. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    Layer feed is higher protein than grower. Granted, it's only a tiny bit higher, but... that may have a bit enough of an effect to make a difference. My birds always lay sooner than those of my friends, though they are same age and get feed from same source. My flock gets fermented feed, which gives them a nutritional advantage.

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