When do hens start laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by firstchicks, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. firstchicks

    firstchicks Hatching

    Aug 18, 2008
    Hi everyone,

    I am new here as you can tell by my username. We have 3 Rhode Island Red hens, 1 sex link and a very handsome Rooster

    My husband built a tractor and we allow the flock to roam around the yard during the day and they return to the tractor at night.

    They are 19 wks old and we have not yet seen any eggs. We switched their feed a few weeks ago and they are on blue seal egg maker.

    My husband thinks we should not let them roam for a couple days and see if they are laying. I feel bad for the poor things to not let them out. They can get outside on the bottom of the tractor but it is a small area.

    Any suggestions or opinions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,

  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    On average pullets begin to lay between 18 - 24 weeks. Some can take a lot longer and it is not unusual for some to be as old as 30 weeks before they begin laying.

    Everyone has differing opinions on feeding layer feed but it is really best to make sure they are actually laying before switching over to layer feed. The higher calcium content is for good shell production. No eggs and they have no need of the layer feed and extra calcium. It can cause kidney problems to overload them with a mineral they don't need.

    If you are letting them free range they may have started laying already and are hiding their eggs. Keeping them locked up is nothing to feel guilty about. If you want eggs lock them in a few day and see what they are doing if you don't see any eggs then they aren't laying yet.
  3. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    My girls from the same hatch, each developed differently. Some started laying at 17 weeks and the last to lay was at 27 weeks. They all have leg bands so I can keep track of them. Watch their combs and wattles ,when they start turning bright red, they are ready to start laying. Squatting is submissive behavior, but also a sign that egg laying is soon to follow. Also I put a golf ball in each of the nest boxes. Some people put plastic eggs in. I have never had any of them lay out of the boxes. I painted the inside of my nest boxes a dark forest green. I think they like to lay in darker places. I put vents in the nest boxes too, to help with air flow. [​IMG]
  4. warren

    warren Songster

    Sep 29, 2007
    Cynthia laid her first egg today. She is about 19 weeks old,and a Goldline. She has been squatting for a couple of weeks.
    She made a nest by scooping a hole in the wood shavings on the coop floor yesterday.
    Also yesterday she did a huge poop on coming out of the coop first thing in the morning, and her crop felt like she had swallowed a small apple whole in the evening.
    They eat more when they are laying.

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