When will my Barred Rock hens lay? Hatched July 13

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by GOTchickens1978, Dec 27, 2016.

  1. GOTchickens1978

    GOTchickens1978 Just Hatched

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    They were shipped to me July 15 so they're almost 24 weeks! But! Its Dec 27 and we're in Michigan. We've lost a ton of daylight and its cloudy a lot. We try to let them free range in the backyard still but we had a ton of snow on the ground last few weeks so they've mostly stayed in the run. I'm really on the fence with supplemental lighting at this point...I'll wait til the New Years and then I'll decide...for those of you that have done supplemental lighting, how did you do it? We have our water heater on a timer now anyway so I can easily just get a splitter and plug their brooder lighter (with a regular 60 watt light bulb) and have it on from 6am to 12noon to start with?

    Help please!
     
  2. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi and welcome to BYC.

    Pullets maturing at this time of year always take longer to come into lay, so 24 weeks is not late in any way and it may be as many as 30 or even longer.
    In my opinion supplemental lighting now is a waste of time as we are past the winter solstice and the days are getting longer anyway, but I'm not a fan of it regardless as I like my chickens to be in tune with the seasons and their natural environment. If you do decide to go with it, phasing it in gradually is best I believe rather than a sudden change.
    Is there any sign that they may be getting ready to lay? Their combs will start to redden up and some of them may start to squat when you approach them. That will usually happen a couple of weeks before eggs appear. They will also show interest in the nest boxes, usually and annoyingly kicking the nesting material out and perhaps practising their egg song....these are all tell tale signs to look out for before eggs arrive.
    Some of my May/June pullets have just come into lay and it has been pretty dark and overcast and stormy here, plus they are locked in because we have a bird flu outbreak in Europe at the moment.

    Good luck with your girls and I hope they start producing for you soon. I understand how frustrating the wait for those first eggs is but I can assure you it will be all forgotten once you see that joyous first one that seems like such a miracle!

    Best wishes

    Barbara
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!

    I wouldn't bother with the lighting, it takes time to apply properly, then more time to have an effect.
    Plus I've found lighting to be no guarantee and can cause other problems.
    Here's a pretty good article on supplemental lighting.

    Your birds are still within the 'normal' range of onset of lay(18-26 weeks) for most breeds, tho birds maturing in the 'darkening of the year' may mature a bit slower....and now that the days are indeed getting longer(tho at an infinitesimal rate), they may be laying soon depending on other aspects of their environment....like housing(no crowding-good ventilation), feed(should still be on grower/starter until they lay), etc.

    Chickens can teach you patience, if you let them....
    .....and like @Blooie says, "they are not pez dispensers!"
     
  4. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Many of my mid June born girls aren't laying yet. As others stated, don't waste your time on lighting, days are already getting longer. My BR born in Feb started laying at 20, 22, and 24 weeks, all from the same source. So they are very much individuals and that was in the summer. So a little slower in winter is normal.

    @aart , Lazy gardener told me Chicken Canoe (I think) went to some kind of convention for commercial type stuff and they said it actually didn't matter if you added the light incrementally or not that all at one time was also acceptable... [​IMG] Also, since we have processed a couple of chickens, I now know what and where the pelvic bones are that you often describe to check for laying. They are not the shape I would have thought.

    Another sign they are getting ready to lay is a bunch of what I call squawking. They walk around a bunch making a squawk, walk, alk type sound sometimes very loud.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Yes, commercial places use light aggressively(fast, drastic changes in duration....and also withhold feed) to force molts and/or other cyclical changes.

    The pelvic bones...you will only feel the points of the bones on both sides of the vent.
     
  6. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Ah, so although it may work, it's still better on the mental maybe even physical health of a chicken to do it slowly....
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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  8. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    I might have been thinking G. I will have to pay better attention next time.
     
  9. GOTchickens1978

    GOTchickens1978 Just Hatched

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    Dec 27, 2016
    The only sign I see is the red face. No squatting or rearranging the nests...I'm going to attempt to make a batch of fermented feed and see if that does anything...thanks for your response.
     
  10. GOTchickens1978

    GOTchickens1978 Just Hatched

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    Dec 27, 2016
    I'm going to make a small batch (fingers crossed I won't ruin it and waste perfectly good fee) and see if that helps...thanks!
     

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