When to Eggspect our first edible egg?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Dave1979m, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. Dave1979m

    Dave1979m In the Brooder

    Sep 16, 2011
    Hi I have 6 15week old pullets. 3 Reds and 3 Australorps both Xed with New Hampshires. I was wondering approximately when do they start to lay and is there anything I should do? I have 2 kids and I don't think I was this nervous before they were born.

  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    Nothing you can do, as nature must take it's course. They really have another month to go. Then, it takes awhile for the eggs to both become of reasonable size and to become a virtual daily occurrence. That takes yet another few weeks. So you are really looking at the very end of October for full sized, daily eggs.

    And, while you didn't ask specifically, there's no need to rush the layer feed either. They'll do just as well on grower of some kind.
  3. Dave1979m

    Dave1979m In the Brooder

    Sep 16, 2011
    Thanks for the quick reply. I have a large bag of Pullet Grower feed which is supposed to be medicated. I was told by the breeder to keep them on this for another 2-3 weeks and then start to mix it with a Layer food until it is all gone. That way none gets wasted. Are there any types of food that really helps when they do start laying? Anything I can supplement their diet with?
    Thanks again.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    Yes, you can feed a higher protein All Flock or Flock Raiser, which is usually 20% protein. But, since it doesn't have the higher calcium that layer has, you'll have to offer oyster shells on the side, and/or you can feed back the eggs shells. There are many, many threads here about feeding back the shells. The vast majority of us do so. Why waste all the excellent calcium? I just air dry them for a week and crush them up. Back into the feed they go. Others, bake them for 10 minutes, but that step isn't necessary, but it does speed the process of drying, making them brittle.

  5. Hi Dave -

    Our 24 Barred Plymouth Rock pullets began laying right at 20 weeks of age. It may just be a BR
    'breed' thing but, although the initial eggs were fairly small, once a few of 'the girls' began laying every day
    there were more and more eggs and they have continued to gain in size and now, at 26 weeks they are a
    good 'medium' size egg consistently with a few large and one girl lays one gigantic double yolker every other
    day! I am told by other homesteaders who raise BRs that their eggs will eventually be large to extra large.

    We raised our BRs from day olds, originally had 6 roos and 48 females which was caused by a hatchery
    snafu resulting in them 'doubling' our order, and we have since sold off several roos and pullets until we
    have our flock objective of 3 roos and 24 pullets.

    When we were in the 'waiting for the first egg' stage as you are now it was very nerve-wracking and we
    were watchful for behaviors that indicated that the first egg would be coming soon.

    Members here told us that once they started mating and the girls combs and wattles got very red in color
    and they started checking out the nesting boxes that the first egg would be forthcoming...........they were

    During that waiting and anticipation period I posted here often and our more experienced chicken raising
    friends - in their wisdom - told us to hang in there and be patient and that before we knew it we would
    be 'literally covered up in so many eggs we wouldn't know what to do with all of them' .......................
    flash forward to today - 26 weeks in and we are now getting 22 eggs PER DAY EVERY DAY and have for
    the last month .......................again - our learned friends here were right again!

    About the food - Make sure you are not stocking up so much on chicken ration as it can get moldy and it
    loses it's vitamin and mineral content quickly over time so don't buy in too much volume - fresher is better.

    The folks here also educated me about waiting until you see the first egg to switch them over to the layer
    ration because it has too much calcium for the younger pullets and can stress their kidneys but once they
    are laying they need the extra calcium. We feed ours Purina Layena Pellets which is pretty expensive but they
    seem to waste less than the cheaper brands we had tried and the quality of brown eggs and bright orange yolks
    we've been getting from the first egg forward is worth it to us.

    We also keep a Purina Flock Block for them in the chicken coop which they use up in a month - it costs about
    $12 but they love it. We also purchased chicken grit and oyster shell calcium and once a week I put some of
    that in the tops of their hanging feeders and just stir it in. So far so good.

    We're currently getting 13 dozen eggs per week at a cost to us of $3.30 per dozen ( for Layena Pellets, Flock Block,
    Oyster Shell Calcium and Grit - we don't count our time and labor in tending to them ).

    Let us know when you get that first glorious egg!

  6. plan4him

    plan4him In the Brooder

    Aug 3, 2011
    Our little bunch (2 Austrolarps, 2 Delawares and 1 something spotted) just started laying: yesterday 2 eggs and 1 today. Wahoo! We free range during the day. Should we keep them in their run and coop for a few days to make sure they keep depositing them where we can find them?
  7. stcroixusvi

    stcroixusvi Songster

    May 5, 2011
    Western NC
    My Coop
    We have 18 hens, and sometimes I am convinced they will never lay an egg. Last Monday, the day before they turned 18 weeks, we found 1 egg in the run. It was perfect. It was delicious. Not sure who laid it but we have some suspects.

    BUT no egg after that.....[​IMG] Nothing all week. Here it is Friday.

    This really requires a lot of patience.

  8. crazyhen

    crazyhen Crowing

    Aug 26, 2008
    mtns of ,NC.
    Yes,,,,, loads of patience. Mine are 17 and 19 weeks, no eggs yet. I have been through this before . It is always an anxious time from 19 weeks on to see who will lay first. An egg any egg just an egg PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!! Mine do not look ready yet. Soooo...... I just keep looking and listening. The rooster is crowing vigorusly now , the same age, and I saw him try to mount a little hen. No red combs for the hens yet.... Gloria Jean

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