• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

When will my chickens lay?

 
Erin Bennett
Posts: 4
Location: Near Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello. We have about 50 heritage breed chickens that are now 24 weeks old. Only one of them is laying. I'm wondering if we are doing something wrong, or if heritage birds raised and rotated regularly on pasture (with organic, soy-free supplemental layer feed) start laying on a different timing. Perhaps I should just be patient, but I thought it could be helpful to solicit others' advice on this topic. Thank you!
 
Jay Green
Posts: 587
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Heritage breed chickens come to sexual maturity later than do other, more production type, birds.
 
Ken Peavey
steward
Posts: 2523
Location: FL
88
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
6 months old is a young bird still. There are breeds that will begin production that young, but they have been selectively bred for early production. Heritage breeds are not commercial layers. Depending on the breed, 8-9 months is not unheard of.
 
John Polk
master steward
Pie
Posts: 8012
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
269
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Or...they could be laying somewhere in the pasture...Easter egg hunt time.

Most (but not all) eggs are laid at night. Do you have ample nest boxes for the girls?

 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
Posts: 1401
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Somewhere in my travels I came up with 180 days. My husband and I both remember that this has held true for all of the birds that we have had - but I think we are both getting senile because I can't remember where I got this info from - seems like it could have been an old (older than us) farmer. But I cannot find this number anywhere on the internet.

Since I now have a small flock of 4 different breeds it will be interesting to see if this still holds true with them - if they do lay at 180 days it will be November before we get an egg and then the days are getting so short that they probably won't be very productive.

You can leave a light on them but a farmer I am currently buying eggs from tells me that this shortens thier life span - so I think I'll just let nature take it's course.
 
Kelly Smitherson
Posts: 46
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
it is also that time of the year too- when they molt they put all their stuff into growing those new feathers, and the days are getting shorter too, so first time egg layers this time of year may be longer ?
 
Jay Green
Posts: 587
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Pullets usually don't molt in their first year, particularly if they aren't even sexually mature yet. Molting shouldn't be an issue in this case.
 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1085
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
42
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We have about a hundred chicks we got the second week of June. They have just started to lay a few small eggs last week. That's about twelve weeks. We don't feed them during the warm months - they forage for their own food out on pasture. These are Araucana, Orpington, Rhode Island Reds and other heritage breeds.
 
Erin Bennett
Posts: 4
Location: Near Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Walter Jeffries wrote:We have about a hundred chicks we got the second week of June. They have just started to lay a few small eggs last week. That's about twelve weeks. We don't feed them during the warm months - they forage for their own food out on pasture. These are Araucana, Orpington, Rhode Island Reds and other heritage breeds.


Wow, that's impressive! Your pastures must be much more nutrient dense than ours.
 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1085
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
42
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Erin Bennett wrote:
Walter Jeffries wrote:We have about a hundred chicks we got the second week of June. They have just started to lay a few small eggs last week. That's about twelve weeks. We don't feed them during the warm months - they forage for their own food out on pasture. These are Araucana, Orpington, Rhode Island Reds and other heritage breeds.


Wow, that's impressive! Your pastures must be much more nutrient dense than ours.


I think it is not just pasture but the insects that are on the pasture. Our chickens follow our pigs around. We have about 400 pigs on pasture/hay+whey. When they poop the flies help to decompose the manure. The chickens come along and grab flies. It is a system. The result is we see very few flies but the chickens are very well fed by all the insects. In the fall after the hard frost the insect populations drop and then we give the chickens meat, pastured pork - they clean bones. This gets them through the winter to the next spring when they can once again do their job of organic pest patrol and control. It's a system.
 
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic