When do chickens lay eggs normally?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by 16chickadees, May 9, 2011.

  1. 16chickadees

    16chickadees Out Of The Brooder

    May 9, 2011
    Hi guys! I'm new to the chicken world and I was wondering what age chickens typically start to lay. My chickens are Road Island Reds mostly and I've had them about 2 1/2 months. They have gotten fairly big and they stay outside now. They get just normal scratch feed, sometimes some grain from the pigs feed is tossed in there too(sometimes lettuce, bread, cabbage, ect.). I don't know if the breed or food affect it but if you need more details or questions to help me out a little then I'll answer freely. I was wondering because one of my babies (one of my chickens) just died this morning [​IMG] and me or my mama can't figure out why. She looked perfectly fine and their water/food was normal. The temperature didn't get low last night and the only thing bad about the weather is is that its really windy. So we were wondering if its because she was egg bound, but we don't know what age they lay eggs at so we weren't sure. Thanks for reading this and help us if you can! And if you are willing to tell us what scraps they can't have and how often they should get scraps at all might help to. Thanks again!
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    The average is probably around 20 weeks, but they can lay at 17 weeks or not lay for 6 months or even a year. Here is the BYC treats chart:


    You will find a lot of basic information in the learning center at the top of the page or by using the blue search bar, 4th from the left at the top.

    Meanwhile, welcome to BYC!
  3. CorgiHouse

    CorgiHouse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 4, 2010
    Boring, OR
    Quote:When you say 'normal scratch feed' do you mean it's what the feed stores call chicken scratch? Because if so, then they are not getting good enough nutrition - the scratch feed is mostly corn, sometimes some other grains, but it's very low in protein. Growing chicks and laying hens need more protein. That may be your problem.......
  4. 16chickadees

    16chickadees Out Of The Brooder

    May 9, 2011
    Thank you ddawn!
  5. 16chickadees

    16chickadees Out Of The Brooder

    May 9, 2011
    CorgiHouse- Its starter chicken scratch and I think it has 23% protein in it. Its not manufactured feed though, its made at my friends mill.
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    We all have different experiences and I'm not trying to pick a fight with Ddawn, but my average age is higher. I have had some start to lay at 16 weeks, but the average age to get the first egg from a flock is probably around 19 to 20 weeks. The average age that half of mine are laying is probably around 23 to 24 weeks. And some don't lay until quite a bit later. I have all mutts but the parent stock are dual purpose breeds. What breeds you have, time of year, and all that kind of stuff will affect it. How many you have in your flock can affect first egg a lot too.

    From your post, I think Ddawn answered your question better, but I'm just being picky. At 11 to 12 weeks of age, she was not egg bound. There are several different things that can cause a chicken to just die like that. That has happened to me. In one case, I think she hit the feeder coming down off the roost and broke her neck. With some, I don't have a clue. Sometimes it is a genetic defect that finally catches up with them, like a weak heart. If the others are healty, it is probably nothing you did.

    Concerning the treats chart, if you go down toward the bottom you will see things you should be aware of. With many of those. if they take a bite, they are not going to instantly fall over dead. Some of them will cause longterm effects. Some of those are pretty harmless in small amounts. Apple seeds are bad for them, supposedly. They do contain a poison, cyanide I think. But there is not enough cyanide in one apple seed to cause a problem. I don't worry about them eating a few apple seeds from the apples that drop off my tree, but if I make apple jelly and have a lot of seeds, I do not put them where the chickens can find a large amount.

    Even some of the things that are listed as good treats can cause damage if given in extremely large amounts. Just don't overdo any of the treats and try to avoid the bad ones and you should be OK.

    It is possible she ate something that poisoned her. Mold is dangerous to them. But the odds are that you will never know for sure.
  7. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    My RIR's started laying at 25 weeks. Some took longer. Sorry to hear about the one. I'm not sure about why she died but I doubt it was from her eating scratch.
  8. 16chickadees

    16chickadees Out Of The Brooder

    May 9, 2011
    That helps as well, thank you. They dont have free range and I make sure there isnt anything in their pen that I think might be able to hurt them. I'm fairly protective over my chickadees and I try to keep them good and healthy as much as I possibly could so I change the straw in their boxes so there isn't any mold in it. I hope nothing poisened her but Bobble (that was her name) wasn't the brightest one of them. Thank you for the help and I'll make sure to watch them more!

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