When will they start laying?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Dina k, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. Dina k

    Dina k Out Of The Brooder

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    My chicken are 20 weeks now( all cold hardy) at what age will they start laying and does it make a difference that we are in the dead of winter with temps around zero?
     
  2. Stewarts

    Stewarts Chillin' With My Peeps

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    6 months usually. You'll need to get them on layer feed and oyster shell once that first egg appears. Are they inside or out? I have mine in an insulated coop with a 100 watt bulb on all day until 7 pm at night and every hen I have has been laying all winter including my meat hen and my two turkey hens. They do need a little warmth and a well bedded coop. Protection from the weather; drafts, wind and cold temps. I never let my birds out into the snow to forage. I give them layers feed, turkey feed, rolled barley or oats, rolled or crushed corn {a must for laying hens} and oyster shell plus plenty of water with 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar. I let them out during the day into a well tarped, well strawed hutch that is attached to the back of the coop.
     
  3. Dina k

    Dina k Out Of The Brooder

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    They have a 10x14 coop (we nick named the barn) Lots of straw and a heat lamp also light until 8pm. They have an oyster station I just started the layer feed and the corn. But what does the vinegar do for them???
     
  4. Joshua G

    Joshua G Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Vinegar in their water is supposed to make them drink more. (they love it)
     
  5. Stewarts

    Stewarts Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Vinegar also protects against some common sicknesses and it helps to keep their bodies more alkaline so illness does not take hold. The more acidic the body, the more likely sickness can set in. Same for people as well, I take 1 tsp of ACV in one cup of water several times a day. You can also mix - 1 tsp ACV, 1 tsp Cinnamon and 1 tsp Unpasteurized Honey. Excellent for people health to prevent sickness and to cure a bunch of things.
     
  6. Stewarts

    Stewarts Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like your birds are kept comfy and warm. Good start to egg laying. I have 14 hens and get between 12 and 14 eggs a day from them.
     
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    There are a lot of opinions based on anecdotal evidence. There is also a lot of scientific research that both confirms and debunks some of that stuff.

    20 weeks POL is average for many breeds. Birds reaching that age going into autumn/winter will take longer because day length is the critical element in sexual maturity.
    So, it does make a difference that we are in the dead of winter. Increasing day length induces production in both hens and roosters. Think spring, a time for growth and optimal time of year to reproduce.
    Cold weather can have an effect due to stress but day length is the foremost determinant. Any kind of stress (disease, environment, predation, nutrition, changes in routine, etc..) can inhibit ovulation.

    Chickens, like all earthbound animals, need a dark period. If one wants to provide heat (which isn't normally necessary) it should be from a non-light producing source.

    Vinegar is an acidifier. Acidifiers help them assimilate calcium. It limits the water founts from getting slimy. Raw apple cider vinegar contains live cultures and enzymes that promote gut health.

    Layer feed (average of 4% calcium) should be limited to flocks where all are actively laying. That works for a lot of people with a handful of chickens all the same age, as well as commercial layer operations where the birds are not only the same age, but also, are photo-stimulated to start laying simultaneously.
    Any bird(rooster, growing and molting birds) not actively laying should not be getting such a high level of calcium.
    The best approach for a flock with one or more birds not laying is to feed an all flock or grower feed and provide oyster shell free choice in a separate container for those hens that are laying to get what they need when they choose.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  8. Dina k

    Dina k Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you so much for all of the advice. Reading the back of the feed sack it says at 20Weeks to start layer feed, so not know at about that I did. I really appreciate all of the helpfrom all who are willing to share , it has really help me take better care of my girls![​IMG]
     
  9. SelfMadeFarming

    SelfMadeFarming Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm kinda in the same situation.
    I got my first egg on Sunday, my girls are 21 weeks old.
    I was surprised with the sub zero temps and tons of snow.
    I have gotten 2 eggs total so far this week. I believe only one chicken is laying.
    Still waiting on the others. They are all the same age.

    Waiting... Waiting... Waiting...
    :idunno
     
  10. SelfMadeFarming

    SelfMadeFarming Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dina,

    Are their combs really red yet?
    If they are, it won't be long!
    :fl
     

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