why won't my hens start laying?!?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bkterry, Nov 4, 2008.

  1. bkterry

    bkterry Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 6, 2008
    We have barred rock and buff orpington hens. We bought them as chicks last March, so we are expecting them to start laying at anytime. They are almost 8 mos. old now. At what age should they start laying, and what factors could prevent them from laying? They do free range for atleast half the day and we live in Kentucky where the temperature has stayed in the 70s for the last few weeks. Could either of these affect their laying? They eat cracked corn, sweet feed, and all kinds of different table scraps (breads, fruit, veggies, etc.)
     
  2. TaLani

    TaLani ~ Gemini Chick ~

    Oct 2, 2008
    Bryson City, NC
    We got our first set of chicks back the first wk of June & a second set the first wk of July & no eggs yet either. I really don't expect to see any from either set for another month or so though. Most people on the forum say that many factors cause them not to lay such as: changes in weather, scares by predators, stress such as new chickens added to the flock, changes in the type of new feed (i.e.-reduction in protein level in different feed), & even moving them to a new coop or run.

    Who knows, it could be a lot of things. A lot of the forum members say that they just lay when they are darned ready whether we like it or not. [​IMG]

    How red are the hen's combs & wattles? A sign that they're getting ready is REALLY BRIGHT combs & wattles as well as fullness of them. Several of mine from the first set are looking like that rt now so I'm [​IMG].
     
  3. jenjen

    jenjen Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 18, 2008
    Oregon House, Ca.
    They are probably laying outside some where if they are free ranging
     
  4. ebonykawai

    ebonykawai Chillin' With My Peeps

    They should be on 16% layer feed, if you're not using that already. Oyster shell for calcium, too. And yeah, they might very well be laying outside somewhere.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2008
  5. Colored Egg Farmer

    Colored Egg Farmer Chicken overload

    I second the 16 percent feed. They may not have enough to lay an egg so they may not be laying. If they are they might be hidden. To check to see if they are laying you could check the vent to see if it is large. If its quite small they probably are not laying.
     
  6. bkterry

    bkterry Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 6, 2008
    I will check their vents in the morning to see if any are laying. We usually give them crushed eggshells which I've heard works like the oyster shells do. We do mix the layer in with their food too some, but it's not their main diet. We do have a polish hen who is older than eveyone else in the flock (almost 2 years old) she started laying last winter and laid great (almost everyday) until a silky hen I had went broody and she decided to quit laying also. The polish hen hasn't started back laying yet either...she always would go back in the coop to lay her eggs even if everyone else was out in the yard roaming. I've heard something about making sure they have enough hours of daylight to get them to lay....what's the rule of thumb on that?
     
  7. bkterry

    bkterry Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 6, 2008
    Their vents don't seem to be large, so I don't guess they have started laying yet. Is there any tricks to speeding up the process or will we just have to let them take their time?[​IMG]
     
  8. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ID/WA border
    This is the 10% protein "sweet feed" for horses and cattle, right?

    The cracked corn is probably not over 10% either and a lot of what chickens are getting outdoors right now is probably also low-protein stuff. ditto the kitchen scraps/bread . . .

    My 2 Barred Rock pullets are 22 weeks old and both are laying. I try to give them healthy and fun "extra" things to eat but only a little each day. Otherwise, they are eating a 20% protein poultry feed.

    A laying hen eats about 110 grams of food each day. That could be considered her capacity. "Research indicates that light breed hens require at least 17 grams of well-balanced protein per day." (My emphasis, and they are talking light-weight Leghorns here.) Alabama Cooperative Extension System

    An egg is made up of top-quality protein. A hen that is eating a 10% crude protein diet, poorly balanced in terms of nutrition, may have 6 or 7 grams of useful protein to work with, maybe less. She is just maintaining her own body and "marking time" in the egg-production department.

    Steve
     
  9. Alaskan Chicken

    Alaskan Chicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2008
    Homer Alaska
    I have 6 buff orpingtons, 2 barred rocks, 2 black stars, and 2 RIR, which all arrived the first weekend of June, we have been getting 5-8 eggs a day this past week. I keep their coop at 40 degrees, and they have additional light from about 6:30 am to 7:30 pm every day. I started the light at 12 hours, and then added 15 minutes every 5 days. I live in Homer Alaska, and the outside temperture is about 25-35 degrees during the day, and about 20 at night, and we may have about 8 hours of nature daylight. I guessing that your girls maybe laying somewhere outside.
     
  10. bkterry

    bkterry Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 6, 2008
    one of my hens finally laid an egg! found it yesterday afternoon...but it was nothing that i did since i have not yet changed the lighting or feed they get! hopefully they will continue to start laying! [​IMG]
     

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