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When should my chickens start laying?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Orpstralope, Oct 11, 2009.

  1. Orpstralope

    Orpstralope XL College Raised Eggs

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    Oct 11, 2009
    Boone
    I have 3 buff orpingtons, 3 barred plymouth rock, 2 black australope, 3 silver laced wyandotes, and one bantam chicken. They are about 16.5 weeks old and I have just switched (today) to Purina Layena instead of Start & Grow. Is it too early to start changing their diet? I've looked at the charts on the other forum and read that it should be happening within the next 3 weeks for most of them. I've built nesting boxes and they have a great coop and are outside roaming for about 10 hrs. a day. Should I expect eggs soon? I live in Boone, N.C. so it's starting to have mornings of around 40 degree F. Thanks for the help!
     
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    I've got Ameraucanas, a GC Maran among others hatched the end of February and I've yet to see an egg.

    Perhaps I should show them the frying pan.
     
  3. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    Seattle
    My Black Australorp laid her first egg today; she's 23-1/2 weeks old. My Cuckoo Marans laid her first 4 weeks ago, at age 19 weeks. I'm so sorry for Mahonri; that is a heck of a LONG time to wait. [​IMG]

    About changing their diet right now... What's nice is to keep the protein level higher than layer feed for developing pullets who haven't laid yet. Either you can put them on layer feed and supplement with other protein sources in their treats, or you can mix starter with layer until they are all laying. Here's what I did... Just before 19 weeks, I began a gradual switch to layer feed. Actually, I had a partial bag of starter/grower remaining. So, in order to not waste the feed, I mixed the layer feed with starter feed in their feeder, plus I began giving them oyster shell in a free choice dish in their run. That worked great for getting good shells from the CM and keeping protein levels higher for the non-laying pullets.

    About when they will lay... Have you noticed reddening in the combs, wattles, ear lobes, and have you seen them squatting when you try to pick them up? They'll usually start squatting at least a couple weeks or more before they lay their first egg. Some pullets will also suddenly get VERY interested in the nest, and spend time sitting there, a few days before they actually lay. If you offer oyster shell, you may notice some of your pullets begin to eat more of the shell. If these things are happening... it is very hard to remain patient because you know that "ANY DAY NOW... " And then, one golden morning when you think they will never, ever lay....Ta Da, there will be a beautiful, warm egg! And you will love the chicken that laid it. [​IMG]

    If you haven't checked out the thread called "How old was your chicken when she laid her 1st egg?", you should. There's good info there you may find helpful, with posts about different breeds and age ranges for 1st egg.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=231744&p=1
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2009
  4. mags2009

    mags2009 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 8, 2009
    Wisconsin
    My hens turned 20 weeks today, and I am going crazy waiting for an egg!!!!! It is so hard to come home from work, rush out to the coop, open the hatch, and see..... the golf balls I put in!!!! They totally LOOK ready.... I even have people calling me wanting to buy some, and I have to tell them, "not yet!"[​IMG][​IMG]
     
  5. JakRat

    JakRat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2009
    Dover
    My boyfriend went out and told them that if they didnt start putting out eggs that they were going in the POT! the next day we got an egg... I guess it worked [​IMG]
     
  6. chick4chix

    chick4chix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2009
    So Cal
    I still have some non-layers at age 26 weeks!I have 6 pullets (2 wyandottes and 4 EE's) first one to lay was SLW at 21.5 wks- then an EE at 24.5 wks - the rest have yet to start paying their way- Slackers! [​IMG]
     
  7. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    Seattle
    My barnyard mutt laid her first egg yesterday, at 23-1/2 weeks old! That's 3 who have started laying out of 5 girls. The blue wyandotte and easter egger haven't started squatting and the wyandotte isn't the least bit interested in the nest boxes. Guess those 2 are gonna drag this out! [​IMG]
     
  8. wombat

    wombat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 23, 2009
    Maybe start phasing in a little layer at that age, but those breeds are probably at a mature size closer to 18-20 weeks. You might want to hold off about two weeks on getting to a full layer ration.
     
  9. Orpstralope

    Orpstralope XL College Raised Eggs

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    Oct 11, 2009
    Boone
    Thanks for all the responses! I've spent the last two weeks seriously hoping for an egg but not one yet! Their waddles have seriously developed along with their combs and I'm going to post some pictures in a couple of hours. They are on a mixture of Layena and Start & Grow and I'm planning on switching them over to all layer pellets by the middle of the week. Check the photos out in a bit and I'll keep posting the progress!
     
  10. mags2009

    mags2009 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 8, 2009
    Wisconsin
    Since the beginning of this thread, I now have 3/7 girls laying...
     

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