What to look for before first egg?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by gutshall, Dec 19, 2008.

  1. gutshall

    gutshall Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 1, 2008
    I am new and following and reading many post, thanks I am beginning to feal that this is going to be more fur then work.

    Now my question: I am about to change their feed and await my first egg. Will I see a change in the chickens behavior, body or anything? I have one who is beginning to molt around her bum, is this important?
  2. mudderhen

    mudderhen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2008
    Clarkesville, GA
    One thing I have noticed is that you watch the comb. It will turn red when they become laying age. The hen will develop small wattles and her comb will grow slightly, turn pink, then red. Then you will know she is ready. [​IMG]
    Their laying also depends on the amount of light they get. They need to receive 12-14 hours of light daily to lay. If you don't have some type of artificial light for them, they probably won't lay until spring when the temps. warm some and the days start getting longer.
    All hens are different, just like women. [​IMG] They say any time after 18 weeks, a hen is old enough to lay, but some take as long as 30 weeks or so. Mine took about that long, and I thought I would go CRAZY waiting! [​IMG] And they were all different breeds. [​IMG]
  3. jacyjones

    jacyjones Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2008
    Aberystwyth, Wales
    Yes - the red wattle and also they squat when you approach them - always a good sign.
  4. lisebarb

    lisebarb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Hmm, I'll have to put my boots on and go out and look at their combs/wattles. I didn't know this.

    I have two hens that just started squatting when I approach and didn't know that was a "I'm ready to lay" signal.

    Learn something new every time I visit these boards. Thanks!
  5. fizzy

    fizzy Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 11, 2008
    middle Tennessee
    The squat isn't as much "getting ready to lay" as it is "getting ready to BE laid" [​IMG] If you push down on the hen's back, she will squat -- it mimics being serviced by the rooster. Not all hens will do this, but without a rooster, a couple of mine do. Isn't it fun what you learn here?
  6. Jena

    Jena The Welsh Witch

    Nov 2, 2008
    lol.. I was so much a novice when I got my girls but reading the info on this site has been excellent.

    I watched as my 4 girls developed lovely red combs and wattles, and then one by one they started to squat if you even passed your hand above them, or stepped up close.

    But they have all started laying one by one, last is coming close to the point now, and we have had them since September. I am amazed that they have started when the weather is so cold, but we get 3 eggs daily.

    But we had loads of time to get used to caring for them, and learning about them before the eggs came. It has been brilliant.

    This site is such a good teacher....lol.

    Last edited: Dec 19, 2008
  7. gutshall

    gutshall Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 1, 2008
    Thanks all. Do I need to worry about the gal molting near her bum?
  8. msgenie516

    msgenie516 The Happy Hen

    May 16, 2008
    Nesconset, LI, NY
    Quote:Probably not! When my Polish hen went into a molt, her entire tail just "fell off"--it was a sight to see! I had no previous experience with this and I was mortified! But then I read someone else's experience and they said the same thing happened to all of their hens.

    BTW, my hen's tail grew back in record time and is as beautiful as before, if not better!

    Good luck with your chickens! Genie
  9. HenSpa

    HenSpa Chillin' With My Peeps

    I got my first egg yesterday, and second today! My husband & I were ecstatic, like we were proud parents or something. I hung a bow with an egg hanging down from it on our side door Christmas wreath before he got home, giving him a laugh; like we were announcing to the neighborhood our new arrival:)

    Of course, they're not laying in the nest boxes, conveniently inclined to roll the eggs gently down to my egg door. Noooo; that would be too easy! They are laying randomly in pine shavings upstairs in roost area and on ground in downstairs common area (have a double-decker chicken tractor). I almost missed the first egg, it blended so well with the pine shavings. Do you think they'll start using the nests, everyone?

    I had been out of eggs for several days and was dying to make some fresh bread. That one egg allowed me to do it! It was perfect also. Not soft or strange. The yolk was yellow, though, not orange as I've heard some say. It wasn't old because I had cleaned the coop out the day before. Now, they weren't on layer feed yet; we were going to change it as soon as week-long rain let up. Might have something to do with that...changed it last night.

    Back to the original post question, this is what I noticed on their appearance in the last month: first, much more solid looking in appearance (all the sudden, much bigger), red combs this past week, and hungrier, it seems. Sure they weren't getting what they needed in the feed, but I was having to guess at their staggered ages. I did not think they would lay without layer feed, especially in the winter months; so I was beyond surprised.

    It's exciting! Hope yours happens soon:)
  10. momofdrew

    momofdrew Chillin' With My Peeps

    they make their own nest areas I have three girls and three different nest areas in the shavings on the floor of the coop... at least I know who laid what... It is still fun to [​IMG] go out and find an egg...for silkies they are quite prolific in laying I am getting one egg every day like they are taking turns...some times there is an overlap and I get 2 but for the most part it is one a day

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