When can I expect eggs?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MulberryMama, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. MulberryMama

    MulberryMama New Egg

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    Feb 22, 2012
    HI All, I"m new to keeping chickens, but when we do something, we do it big! We got 24 Barred Rock hens (and a little bantam rooster) from a neighbor on Sunday. They are about 10 months old and are not laying at all. The previous owner kept them in an old drafty, dark shed. He said that they did lay for a few weeks last fall, but in November he boarded up the windows to keep out the snow/wind better and they stopped laying almost immediately. They seem to be in pretty good health: no evidence of mites or lice and they are very active and curious, always scratching around. They are now in a large, draft free coop with several windows, plenty of bedding, roosts, and nest boxes. I have layer pellets and fresh water always available, and they're definitely taking advantage of it, judging by the rate at which is disappears! We are in northern IA, so we only have about 10 hours of natural daylight right now. So my question is, when can I expect eggs? Any tips for speeding up egg production? Thanks!
     
  2. Oktober

    Oktober Out Of The Brooder

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    I am by no means an expert, so take my advice with a grain of salt...

    Did the hens lay eggs for your neighbor and then just stop when the weather was getting colder, or have they not been laying at all? Assuming they have laid eggs before, I would say it has to do with the seasonal change. Many breeds stop laying eggs when its gets cold (although Barred Rocks are supposed to be cold weather tolerant). From my understanding, it has less to do with the actual temperature than it does with the length of daylight. Try putting a light in the coop that's on a timer so that it stays on for 12-14 hours. This may stimulate them to think its spring and restart the egg production.

    Another possibility is that chickens stop laying when they molt, but you would see definite signs of that plus having all 24 chickens choosing to molt at the same time is not very likely.

    Let us know how you make out.

    -Okt
     
  3. MulberryMama

    MulberryMama New Egg

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    Feb 22, 2012
    Yes, they did lay eggs before...last fall I believe they were all laying. I'm getting the idea that the reason they stopped must have had something to do with the dark coop. I'll have to get a timer for my lights. We've only had them a few days, and they've been worth the cost of their feed in entertainment alone! ;-)
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012
  4. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    I agree with Oktober. You should start seeing eggs when there is more hours of daylight or a couple weeks after you supplement the daylight.
    Are you sure about the age? I find it a bit odd that 24 new layers/pullets would stop laying simutaneously.

    Imp
     
  5. MulberryMama

    MulberryMama New Egg

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    Feb 22, 2012
    Well, the guy SAID he got them all as day old chicks last April. So that would make them 10-11 months old. He also told me that they started laying in late September, and he got eggs (2-3 dozen a week from 24 birds) for about 2 months. Then in November, he "winterized" the coop, by nailing sheets of plywood over the screened window openings. He had a single bulb in the coop for light, but the extension cord was always coming loose and it wasn't on very much. So the chickens were in a very dark environment for about 3 months. I'm wondering if that is the reason they all stopped laying?
     
  6. colby318

    colby318 got 'dottes?

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    Hens need 14 hours of light to stimulate laying. Like Oktober said a timered light is the key. Have it come on in the morning. If you have it timered in the evening there's a chance they will be caught off of the roost. I started hatching chicks January 1st because of my lighting.
     
  7. jmtcmkb

    jmtcmkb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 5 pullets, all hatched Sept, 26 2011> I live in New England, we have about 11 hours of daylight right now and 2 of them started laying in the past week. I dont have any lights on them. I have christmas lights on the outside of the coop, but havent used them since Christmas. I think the type of chicken may be part of it too. I have 2 red stars which are the ones laying, my BR, BO and Australorp are not laying yet. They all have the same conditions and feed.

    Like you said, I bet the fact that they were in a very dark environment for a long time has something to do with it. Now that you have "ideal" conditions, especially if you add light, you'll be seeing eggs in no time :) Good Luck!
     
  8. MulberryMama

    MulberryMama New Egg

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    Feb 22, 2012
    Got our first egg yesterday! Woo hoo! ;-)
     
  9. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

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  10. MulberryMama

    MulberryMama New Egg

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    Feb 22, 2012
    Looks like it was the light factor....I haven't supplemented the light at all but our days are close to 12 hours long now, and we've been getting more eggs each day. Wed we got 1, Thurs we got 1, Fri we got 5, Sat 8, Sun 10, and.....today we got an even dozen! Thanks everyone for your responses.
     

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