When will my girls start laying? And which ones first?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hezevz, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. Miss Marmalade

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  2. Strudel

    1 vote(s)
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  3. Eggo

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  4. Dippy

    1 vote(s)
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  1. hezevz

    hezevz Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 26, 2013
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    Hello everyone!

    I have four hens that I've raised since they were 3 days old.
    They're all about 17 weeks now and living in a chicken palace.
    I switched them to egg layer feed and oyster shells to prepare them for laying.

    In pecking order ..

    Miss Marmalade, plymouth barred rock
    Strudel, red star/golden buff
    Eggo, silver laced wyandotte
    Dippy, buff orpington

    Shouldn't they be laying soon?
    Who do you think will start laying first?
    Any ways you know to urge them to lay sooner?
    What should I expect/any helpful tips?

    I'm going crazy with excitement!
    Thank you!
     
  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    Jul 24, 2013
    They will probably start laying within the next five weeks. I believe that your Red Star will be the first, followed by your Silver-Laced Wyandottes, then Marmalade and Dippy. I can't think of anything that you can do to encourage them to lay sooner, as they will start laying when their bodies are ready.

    When they get close to laying, they will start "squatting", or crouching with their wings slightly spread. They do this because they are ready for a rooster to breed them. You will often see them do this when you walk up to them, as they think that you are a dominant bird, or rooster. When laying comes closer, you will probably see them going into and out of the nest boxes, investigating them. Their combs and wattles will get bigger and redder as well.

    Hope I've helped! Its always difficult to wait for the first egg. My birds started laying at about eighteen weeks of age, so watch out for early eggs!
     
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  3. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    Jul 24, 2013
    Yes, your hens should start laying soon, but not immediately. Most chickens begin to lay at 20-24 weeks (5-6 months) of age, though there are exceptions. Your chickens are all good egg producing breeds, so I expect that they will lay sooner rather than later.

    Signs that they are close to laying include bigger/redder combs and wattles, "squatting" when you try to pick them up (they do this in preparation for being mated by a rooster), and frequent exploring of the nest boxes. They will also fill out more, and their temperaments may change, with flightier birds often becoming tamer (at least in my experience).

    As for encouraging them to lay, there is no real way to do this. However, minimizing their stress level will lead to faster maturity and greater egg production. Just make sure that they aren't getting stressed out by dogs or cats roaming nearby, rough handling by inexperienced, though well meaning children, mites or lice (check them for parasites, and treat if necessary), or illness. You are doing a good job giving them plenty of nutrition with the layer feed and oyster shell, so that shouldn't be a problem.
     
  4. hezevz

    hezevz Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 26, 2013
    thanks!
     

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