Will Hens lay eggs in cold weather?

kaumlauf

Songster
10 Years
Nov 2, 2010
188
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Cambridge Springs, PA
Hi all, please forgive me if this is a dumb question, and if it gets asks a lot....but here goes. I recently inherited 2 young hens (hatched in April or March), so they are about 10 months old. Their previous owner (she moved), says she never saw any eggs. I haven't seen any eggs either. I was hoping for fresh eggs to consume. It gets cold here at night- about freezing temps, and climbs to 40-50 in the day. They have a nesting house, and are free ranging in my penned in 1/2 acre meadow. They eat layer feed and forage. So, what can I do to help them along? Any advice? Thanks.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
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Jul 23, 2018
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Hi all, please forgive me if this is a dumb question, and if it gets asks a lot....but here goes. I recently inherited 2 young hens (hatched in April or March), so they are about 10 months old. Their previous owner (she moved), says she never saw any eggs. I haven't seen any eggs either. I was hoping for fresh eggs to consume. It gets cold here at night- about freezing temps, and climbs to 40-50 in the day. They have a nesting house, and are free ranging in my penned in 1/2 acre meadow. They eat layer feed and forage. So, what can I do to help them along? Any advice? Thanks.
If they aren't laying, they shouldn't be eating layer feed. I would recommend switching them over to Flock Raiser or All Flock and put some oyster shell out in a separate container for free choice eating when they start laying.
With the days getting shorter, your pullets may not start to lay until the days start to lengthen after the solstice.
 

Offshoreorca

Crowing
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Apr 15, 2020
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My early May hatched Faverolles just started laying (they would be 7 months now), so this is perfectly normal as there are breeds that take longer to mature. When the days start getting longer, they will likely begin to lay. Do you have photos? They often get redder larger combs before they are ready. As mentioned, it's best to have them on all flock until they begin laying.
 

oesdog

Crowing
11 Years
Jun 7, 2010
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Hi all, please forgive me if this is a dumb question, and if it gets asks a lot....but here goes. I recently inherited 2 young hens (hatched in April or March), so they are about 10 months old. Their previous owner (she moved), says she never saw any eggs. I haven't seen any eggs either. I was hoping for fresh eggs to consume. It gets cold here at night- about freezing temps, and climbs to 40-50 in the day. They have a nesting house, and are free ranging in my penned in 1/2 acre meadow. They eat layer feed and forage. So, what can I do to help them along? Any advice? Thanks.
Hi
Its a perfectly good question!!!!!!
Your hens are still young and this will be their first season to lay. Usually point of lay is around 19-21 weeks.
Hens need a certain amount of daylight to lay and they like warmer weather. So don't be disapointed if you are not getting eggs this season. They usually take about 8 -12 weeks off in the colder darker time of the year. Perfectly normal. Feed them well and love on them as they have had a move too which can also stop laying when they get distressed.
Hope this helps Oes :cool:
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
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Southeast Louisiana
so they are about 10 months old.

Each chicken is an individual. There are a lot of myths and mythology about them laying but there are no real rules. I've had pullets start to lay at 16 weeks, I've had some where the first one of the three did not start laying until she was 9 months old. A second followed in a few days, the third waited yet another couple of months. I've had pullets start to lay this time of the year on the shortest days of the year. I've had many pullets that started laying in the fall skip the molt and lay pretty well all winter, I've had those pullets molt and stop laying for the winter. I've had mature hens finish the molt in late fall and start laying immediately, continuing to lay all through winter. Light and other things are important to a pullet or hen laying, but mine can't read all those rules. They don't follow them.

So, what can I do to help them along?

Are you sure they are not hiding a nest? That has to be asked. A hidden nest is often the answer, can't ignore the possibility. Maybe leave them locked in the coop or coop/run for a few days to see if any eggs show up.

Days getting longer can often trigger a pullet or hen to start laying. In a few days the days are going to start getting longer anyway but it is a slow process at first. If you have electricity to your coop you could add light to make the days longer. It's not the length of day that is so important but that the days are getting longer. Instead of one big chunk of time it's best to do it in increments so they actually think the days are gradually getting longer. In your situation and location, I'd suggest looking up sunrise and add fifteen minutes of light in the mornings, using a timer. In another 4 or 5 days add another 15 minutes. Then do that once more. By then the days are getting longer so hold that morning start time until natural sunrise matches your start time.

Before a pullet or hen switches from not laying to laying she needs to make some internal changes. She has to grow ova to size to make egg yolks. She has to change her internal plumbing. It takes a few weeks for all of this to happen. If she starts to lay within one or two weeks of extending the light she was getting ready to start before you altered the lights.

Make sure they have fresh water. Lack of water can cause stress and prevent them from laying.

If all else fails, be patient. As aggravating as they can be about starting to lay they will eventually. Many of us have been there, including me. I understand the frustration. Good luck!
 

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