When do hens start laying again after raising chicks?

savingdogs

Songster
10 Years
Aug 2, 2009
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Southwestern Washington State
I have two hens, sisters, who raised five chicks for me, kind of like a pair. The chicks are about three and a half months old now and while they still all travel as a group, they are pretty self sufficient now. The two hens still fuss over them like they are little babies and it is quite cute to watch them, actually.

But I wonder, when will the adult hens start laying again? They are my only chickens which lay white eggs, so it is obvious they have not been laying any. They did not lay for about two months during the broody stage (took awhile for me to give in and give them eggs) and now it has been a long time since they had any eggs. They are eating layer pellets and getting oyster shell as well as free ranging within my yard.

Is this normal? If it matters, the hens are Russian orloffs.
Any advice about this is appreciated!
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
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South Georgia
This is a good example of what individuals chickens are. And maybe of variations between breeds as well; I have no idea.

The average time is 4 to 6 weeks. My very good mama Kraienkoppe mothered for 7 or 8 weeks, then sent the kids packing and was laying two days later (like you, I could recognize her egg.)
 

savingdogs

Songster
10 Years
Aug 2, 2009
1,005
13
149
Southwestern Washington State
Well gosh, we are well past four to six weeks. I should have kept better track of their birthday, but I know they are more than three months old and are already getting the shape of little pullets. I'm pretty sure all five of my chicks turned out to be female.

I think perhaps it is partly because the orloffs never had 'friends' in the flock and now they have an important role. They used to be picked on before they were the moms. Now they aren't. Maybe they want to hang onto the role. The babes all act like little wussies an still hide under them and they all sleep and travel together like a little herd. But they are now big enough to climb out of the pond themselves and have their place in the flock, accepted by all. I'm happy everyone is happy, but I did hope for a few orloff eggs!

So when they are feeling motherly, they don't get the egg laying hormone or something?
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
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448
South Georgia
Right, they don't normally lay while they are broody or mothering. Guess this is so they can keep up with the kids. Except at the beginning of the broody thing, when they lay a clutch of eggs, then somehow decide it's time to stop laying and start setting. That way several all hatch at once, since they don't start growing til they are incubated, by mama or incubator.

I'd be tempted to separate those overgrown stay-at-home children, who should be out making their own living by now! Up to you, of course. Surely they will kick the kids out sooner or later....

Maybe you could do it more gently, kind of chase the kids away from mama during the day, or place mama away from kids at night after they have settled down to sleep. Probably wouldn't work in one day, but....
 

savingdogs

Songster
10 Years
Aug 2, 2009
1,005
13
149
Southwestern Washington State
Well I don't have a place currently to separate them, I do have two coops but I'm using the other one right now to house some egg eaters, whom we are building a special nesting box for. In the meantime, they have to stay away from the other chickens. But that is where the chicks were raised, so I could put them back there and they would be happy. I just need to get the special nests built.
I don't think it will happen tomorrow, they are predicting an inch and a half of rain for us in the next few hours!
 

pgpoultry

Songster
10 Years
Oct 16, 2009
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Wales
I've a Dark Brahma hen who is 10 weeks or so past hatching and laid one egg about 3 weeks ago and none since.

I realised she missed being wormed with the others as she was sitting, so I'll worm her today hoping this will start her up.
 

chynasparks

Songster
6 Years
Jun 21, 2013
548
24
118
Texas
This seems to be an old thread but I'm posting here anyway. I have a very small flock. My buff Orp hatched 4 chicks July 22 2014. She's a good momma. I'm just now working on integrating them with my other two. One being a massive RIR Roo. I lost my favorite RIR hen to a predator right after the chicks hatched. So bill only has one hen to do his Roo thing with. Anyway, momma hen isn't laying yet and my other remaining hen hasn't laid since the predator attack. She seems fine in every way accept no eggs. My flock is just over a year old so they shouldn't be shutting down yet. She seems fine in every way just not laying. They are more pets to me than egg producers.
 

MANNA-PRO

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