Time to lay an egg?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by brokenknee, Nov 27, 2015.

  1. brokenknee

    brokenknee Out Of The Brooder

    No not how old the girls have to be, all seven of my hens are laying.

    Just wondering how long after they go into the nesting box how long it will be before they lay their egg.

    I have checked on the girls with one or two of them in the box, I go back out a half an hour later and they are still in there. My boxes are attached to the side of the coop below the roosting poles so I do not believe they are roosting there, just in there to lay their egg.

    Sometimes it seems it takes up to an hour before they are done. Not that this is a problem per say, but with colder weather coming and I have no intention on heating the coupe until it hits a minus 10*f on a regular basis. I am concerned about frozen eggs. I have already had a few this year.
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    There is no set time frame. It's an individual thing. Some do their duty in 5 or 10 minutes, some take a couple hours.
    Some women pop babies right out, some are in labor for 12-18 hours.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Ditto Dat^^^

    You're going to have frozen eggs unless you gather whatever's been laid every couple hours.....
    ....unless you heat your nests.

    Unfortunately they don't lay on a regular schedule, it changes day to day.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2015
  4. brokenknee

    brokenknee Out Of The Brooder

    Good analogy with women having babies. Some of the girls definitely stay in the nesting boxes longer than others. On weekends I check the nest at about six am, I usually get up at five if I have to go to work or not. then nine and again at about eleven. They are usually done by eleven.

    I have read they slow down a bit in cold weather, so far this has not been the case. I do not heat my coup as of yet, but do give them about fourteen hours of light. LED light on a timer.
  5. brokenknee

    brokenknee Out Of The Brooder

    I am going to check out the thread about heating your nest. My concern is they my want to roost in there when it gets cool, say minus twenty to thirty below zero.
  6. brokenknee

    brokenknee Out Of The Brooder

    @aart just read the thread on heating your nest boxes. It did not seam they wanted to roost in there as the heat was turned off at night. However the op does not have as extreme temperatures as I have here in northern MN. This would help during the transition season until it get really cold minus thirty f.

    At this time I am not going to be making any improvements to our current coop, well maybe. I hope to find out Monday if I will be getting a job transfer I put in for last week. If so we will be moving as they have a residency requirement. If we move we will purchase another property out in the country and start over with a new flock.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2015
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    It isn't the cold that slows them down. As you've found, if the day is long enough in relation to the night, the cold won't matter.
    Cold for us is not the same as cold for chickens in good health. Perhaps sustained temps in the range of minus teens and below can cause enough stress to affect lay rate.

    People equate diminished laying with cold but it is just coincidental that it is cold most places when days are shortest.
  8. brokenknee

    brokenknee Out Of The Brooder

    Yep, having this discussion with a fellow chicken owner at work. He is already heating his coop and the coldest it has been sot far is 8* F. I asked him what he plans to do when the real cold hits, minus 30* F for at least a couple of weeks in late January early February.

    He also uses the white light heat lamps. I have read it is better to use the red lamp because to much light stimulates the girls to much and they get crappy. Any thoughts on that?
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    My general comment is, that isn't good management.

    Let's ignore the fact for the time being that most chickens don't need heat.
    Like most earthbound animals, chickens need hemeral lighting - a light and dark period each day. In concentration camps they used to subject prisoners to 24 hour light. Lay that one on your friend. Even a red light is too much light around the clock.
    If one must heat, for instance if they have young or fragile breeds, there are better ways to do so without subjecting the animals to light at night.

    Now let's get to the heat and the main reason they don't need it.
    Do you know what breed/s your friend has?
    Let's assume for the moment that they are what 80+ % of chicken keepers have - an American, English, Continental or Mediterranean class breed.
    The first 3 come from cold climates developed in the last 300 years. New Hampshires, Jersey Giants, Plymouth Rocks, Ohio Buckeyes, Delawares, Rhode Islands, - those are very cold states in winter. Britain gets cold in the winter and Sussex, Orpingtons, Aorps are among those breeds. Continentals like Welsummers, Marans, Hamburgs, Faverolles etc. come from places where it gets cold in winter. Even Araucaunas and their derived breeds - Ameraucanas and EEs come from Chile and those American and European areas. Chile gets very cold in winter. I guarantee 200+ years ago, they didn't put white heat lamps in tight coops. Guess what, those breeds survived.
    Even Mediterranean breeds can handle temps well below zero. I've had most of the Mediterranean breeds and it gets down to -20. I've never had a real health issue with them. Some of the roosters will get frostbitten combs but that's it.
    Even the ancestor of modern breeds, the jungle fowl was adaptable to a wide range of climates. True, it occupied tropical areas of SE Asia, but it also lived in the Himalayan foothills. It gets cold in the Himalayans.

    Ask your friend if he also heats the run and pasture. Why not? If they need heat in the coop then they shouldn't be allowed in an unheated run. What's that about?
    A bird kept in a warm area at night and turned out into a -20 wind in the morning can be stressful enough to kill them. They need the opportunity to acclimate.
    A warm space without big ventilation gets humid and promotes pathogens. A warm moist area combined with feces and organic matter is the breeding ground for disease.
    Bacteria and viruses have a tough time living well below zero.
    If the coop is able to be heated, there is likely insufficient ventilation.
    There is some danger of fire when heating a coop. There are countless stories of coops burning down at night.
    If one heats their coop, they better hope and pray they never have a power outage, that could kill the chickens.
    Heating a coop is very expensive and negates any small financial advantage that may exist raising birds.
    For that wasted money, added to the cost of housing, feed, etc. one could buy organic pastured eggs and chicken from Whole Foods Market or Trader Joe's.
    Remind your friend that they go to bed wearing their winter coat, not a negligee.

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