When will my girls begin laying? Is it time to put in the nest boxes?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ChickiChica, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. ChickiChica

    ChickiChica Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 10, 2011
    Humboldt County, CA
    Hi all,

    I apologize for asking such a noobie question.

    I have 6 girls who hatched the 26th of May and 1st of June, so they are 14-15 weeks old:

    Welsummer
    Rhode Island Red
    Buff Orphington
    Black Australorp
    Dominique
    Patridge Rock

    I've seen in other posts that some lay as early as 15-16 weeks and others don't lay until 24-28 weeks. Does it depend on the breed, or just on the individual hen? Should I put the next boxes out now, or wait until they show some sort of sign?

    Any advice appreciated!
     
  2. smarquis86

    smarquis86 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 17, 2011
    Yakima, WA
    i waited for 18 weeks and found an egg in the coop one day before opening the nest boxes.
     
  3. ChickenScratchin

    ChickenScratchin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 26, 2011
    Colorado
    Both...depends on both the breed and the bird. Some, like the buff orps, should lay earlier. Others, like the black australorps will probably be a bit later. I'm not experienced with all of those breeds, but I would expect eggs by around 18-19 wks. Mine are 20 weeks tomorrow and at least 7 are laying, and the first was at 18 wks 3 days.

    But yes, I'd say it's time to put in the nest boxes. You want them there and ready for the girls to explore and be comfortable with before they actually start laying.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2011
  4. ChickiChica

    ChickiChica Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 10, 2011
    Humboldt County, CA
    Ok, thanks! We'll try to get them constructed this week.

    The Welsummer and the Buff are a week older and quite a bit larger and more vocal than the rest of the girls so I'm thinking they might be first.

    Does the bedding in the nest boxes need to be any different than the pine shavings that I'm using as bedding in the rest of the coop?
     
  5. ChickenScratchin

    ChickenScratchin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 26, 2011
    Colorado
    Yeah, I would put my money on the buff being first. At least 2-3 of the 7-8 I have laying are buffs, and the biggest buff girl was first.

    Nope, can use the same pine shavings in the boxes.
     
  6. ChickiChica

    ChickiChica Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 10, 2011
    Humboldt County, CA
    None of them have very much going on in the way of combs yet though. Does that matter?
     
  7. ChickenScratchin

    ChickenScratchin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 26, 2011
    Colorado
    The combs will generally get bigger and more red when they're getting close to laying, but just because they aren't big or really red doesn't mean it's a long way off. The combs can change very quickly, and some of mine that are laying still have very small combs that aren't *that* red.

    But, you've still got probably a good 2-3 weeks before you see any eggs, and you'll see big changes in that time.
     
  8. ChickiChica

    ChickiChica Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 10, 2011
    Humboldt County, CA
    Thank you so much ChickenScratchin!
    So exciting!
     
  9. Loco Ken

    Loco Ken Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 13, 2010
    Pacific NW
    Quote:I think you meant "eggciting", Chicki!

    I agree with the ChickenScratchin. Your chickens will lay soon, but the suspense kills us all. I was watching everyday, sometimes 3-4 times a day if not more when I got close to 18 weeks. I got tired of looking and the next day it happened. I found a small brown egg just sitting there in the nest box. I then set out to find who did it since I had 4 brown egg layers and 3 easter-eggers. I didn't even notice how fast the combs were growing on two of them but one was way more prominent than the other. And sure enough, it was the one with the bigger comb that layed the next morning. It wasn't a week later and all the brown layers were laying. It took just one week after the first for the easter-eggers to lay. They all lay at different times in the day now all the way up to 2pm in the afternoon. 'Tis fun to watch for eggs though in the beginning. Take pics and show us what you get at first. It's amazing how they are so small at first but quickly get up to normal size. I took a chicken jail egg and placed it next to my 1st farm raised egg to show the difference. I still can't believe the difference looking back. Just quit looking for the eggs and they will suddenly appear. Yeah, like that's gonna happen! Have fun!!!
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2011
  10. crazychics4me

    crazychics4me Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 6, 2011
    We got ours about a month or so before you, actually probably a month & a week and they just started (not all of them just the WL's) to lay about a week ago. So you probably still have about another month at least.
     

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