Egg on My Face

Or, a lack of it.

My Red Star hens are now 20 weeks, and my Buff Orpington is 24 weeks. And not a single dang egg. Generally, they start laying eggs at about 20 weeks. Granted, that’s more of a guideline than a rule, but I mean honestly … Let’s go, girls! They’re fed a good quality laying mash. They get grit and calcium. Their wattles are nice and red. They get some extra protein in the form of treats now and then. I mean, c’mon ladies! I’m doing all I can here!

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Egg on My Face

  1. Let me know if I need to have a talk w/ Shelley! 🙂

  2. I know nothing about this. But I have heard they are stimulated by light to lay eggs.

    Also, maybe they are hiding them?

  3. They have a light, but maybe I need to have a very thorough look around in the straw today.

  4. My golden comets started laying at about 16-17 weeks and all were laying by 18 weeks. I suspect the lessening hours of daylight is the issue because everything else you’re doing sounds right to me. My girls are out all the time, though in a chainlink pen, so they get as much daylight as there is to get.

    Also, I’ve heard it’s not good for them to be forced by artificial light to lay (or keep laying during winter) because they get cancer after just a few years. Commercial growers do that because they only want peak producers and they just get more chickens every few years anyway. But the girls need that natural non-producing time to rebuild their systems.

    You might also check out a google group called grass-fed chickens to see if anyone there has any better ideas.

    Carolyn H.

  5. Kat

    My guess is that nature designed all birds living in a northern climate to not lay eggs in the darkening days of fall, because the resulting chicks would die of exposure and starvation due cold and decreasing food supply. She never guessed that we’d be wantin’ to eat the unfertilized eggs.

  6. I had been wondering why people recommend against using lights at night. I’m going to start pulling mine back in increments and getting rid of it!

    Very true about the Fall thing. Nature has a way of taking care of itself. Although I have “all season layers,” good thought that it might take them longer to start with the dark days.

  7. I just noticed something else. Are you positive about the ages of youf girls? Mine started to lay when their combs were nearly full sized, and the combs on yours still don’t look fully developed.
    Another thing: just before they start to lay, the girls will go into this “squatting posture” when you try to pick them up. once they start that, laying is imminent.

    Carolyn h.

  8. one more thing: don’t I remember that you let your girls out during the day? perhaps they ARE laying, just not where you expect/want them to.

    My girls lay eggs in the morning, after breakfast, and are usually done by 10 am. or so. Try keeping them in their enclosure and not loose in the yard and see if that encourages them to lay there and not out in the yard somewhere.

  9. themac

    I just learned a lot about the chicken and the egg.

  10. We always keep a light on in the henhouse for a little heat, a little security against marauding varmints, and to keep the hens laying. I’ve had hens for 35 years or so and never known of one to develop cancer.

    Chickens need 14 hours of light a day to produce eggs. Not enough light, you won’t get eggs. Our new hens began laying at 6 months and we’re getting 2 dozen a day.

    Another thing–stress will make them stop laying. If they get frightened it can mess them up; if you change their feed, they may stop or reduce their laying for a while. If you make changes to their routine or their space, egg production may drop.

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