When will my girls start laying!?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by pitter58, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. pitter58

    pitter58 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 22, 2013
    Hi,

    I am fairly new and have five hens that are in their fourth month of age now. I have another 5 that are about 3 months. The old five have not started laying yet.

    I have a 8x8x8 foot coop. They all mosy on in every night and then we let them out in the morning. We have nesting boxes and a roost bar. Whats funny is they dont really use the boxes individually. They pile on top of each other in groups of 2, 3, and 5. They have been this way for awhile now even when it was over 100 degrees here in texas so i dont think it is to get warm.

    I have not seen the first egg yet. Can anyone give me a few pointers on anything i can do to help or signs to watch out for to know they are about to start.

    Is it really just as simple as one day i walk outside and there are eggs? What is meant by the term "broody?"

    Thanks so much for any feedback you are able to give!
     
  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    Generally, chickens start laying at five to six months old. Egg type breeds, like Leghorns, will start laying sooner than heavier, more dual purpose breeds like Brahmas. There are exceptions within each breed. Rhode Island Reds are usually considered faster maturing than Wyandottes, but my Wyandottes started laying several weeks before my Rhode Island Red.

    There is no real way to "make" hens start laying. Making sure that they have the correct feed, enough light (ideally, you want hens to have fourteen hours of light a day--this means that you should provide supplemental lighting in the winter and fall if you want them to lay continually), and enough space. When hens are getting closer to laying, there combs and wattles will become redder and larger. You'll also notice them "squatting", which means crouching down on the ground with their wings slightly spread.

    "Broody" means hens that want to sit on eggs and hatch them. All breeds can go broody, but gamey breeds and larger birds like Cochins go broody more often.
     
  3. pitter58

    pitter58 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 22, 2013
    Thanks Wyandottes7! A lot of help. I have noticed the larger ones are squatting a lot. I did not know what it was called or why until you just described it. In that flock, I have a Production Red, Americauna, SLWyandotte, and two austerlorps. Woud you think that the amount of space in my coop is enough for 10 chickens?
     
  4. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    Yes, 64 square feet (8 x 8) is plenty for ten birds.
     
  5. write2caroline

    write2caroline Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh I hear your frustration. I had GLW and SLW. THe GLW layed around 37 weeks and the SLW layed first eggs around 34 weeks. I put out KFC bucket and tried to encourage them.....nothing seemed to speed them along. My Barred rock layed an egg at 24 weeks so we were fighting over who got to eat the daily egg.

    They will lay when their combs are very bright cherry red. As red as the rooster. That is the signal they are ovulating After they lay the comb goes a little duller red but their combs will be more red than pink.

    A broody hen makes an odd sound when you approach her - like GODZILLA and makes all her feathers stand on end. Like a feathered basketball and when she moves she makes an odd clucking noise. She will also have a wierd glazed look in her eyes and stare off into nothing like someone experiencing a flash back. She is in Mommy mode and wants to hatch some chicks or golf balls. Which ever you place under her.

    [​IMG]
    Two broodies sitting on eggs under the white one and golf balls under the cream legbar

    I hope that helps.
    Caroline
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2013
  6. farmgirl277

    farmgirl277 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 11, 2013
    A broody hen makes an odd sound when you approach her - like GODZILLA and makes all her feathers stand on end. Like a feathered basketball and when she moves she makes an odd clucking noise. She will also have a wierd glazed look in her eyes and stare off into nothing like someone experiencing a flash back. She is in Mommy mode and wants to hatch some chicks or golf balls. Which ever you place under her. [​IMG] Two broodies sitting on eggs under the white one and golf balls under the cream legbar I hope that helps. Caroline [/quote] Does your white hen have grey legs? She looks just like my new hen! Is it possible you know what breed she is?
     

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