NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Should chickens be laying?  (Read 3714 times)

Pusupunko

  • Joined Feb 2009
Should chickens be laying?
« on: February 05, 2009, 12:00:44 pm »
We inherited 7 chickens and 1 bantam from the previous owners of the house we bought in early November, so no idea how old they are or anything like that. Basically, we've had 2 eggs in that time - about a week ago and nothing since. Should we be getting more eggs? Is there anything obvious we should be doing? (I am feeding them!) They have a nice roosting hutch, with 'laying boxes' either side of it. Will this snow and cold snap affected their laying? Do I just need to be patient. Any advice gratefully received. I used to keep ducks, and they always started laying about the end of January, so I sort of expected the chickens to do the same.

Jim Fair
Voss Electric Fence

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
    • Facebook
Re: Should chickens be laying?
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2009, 12:40:42 pm »
I have both ducks and chickens, posh ones and rescues.  None are laying much just now - probably the cold and wet.  I get 2 eggs from 6 ex batts just now but was getting 4 a day until about 10 days ago. My ducks aren't laying yet but as you say should be by now.  My posh hens (Light Sussex) were laying teeny weeny eggs (they are youngsters)  but only a few and have now stopped.  I am however investigating the possibility of thieves - hopefully not rats, but we have a very active population of magpies.  My cat keeps them under control in the spring but even he isn't going far afield this weather, right now he's just jumped on top of the wardrobe in the study.
Have faith, and patience!
Annie
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

Dan

  • The Accidental Smallholder
  • Administrator
  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Carnoustie, Angus
    • The Accidental Smallholder
    • Facebook
Re: Should chickens be laying?
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2009, 12:57:44 pm »
Hi Jim

Egg laying in hens is related to day length (photoperiodicity to be fancy), which is why commercial egg producers use artificial lights to expose their hens to at least 14 hours light per day.

Now the days are getting longer the chances are they will start laying again. Just tell yourself they'll taste all the sweeter for the wait!

Dan

Pusupunko

  • Joined Feb 2009
Re: Should chickens be laying?
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2009, 06:23:43 pm »
Thanks for all the responses - I will be patient.

One other thing - I'm not totally sure what to do about grit. I never used it with the ducks (maybe I should have?), but there was a bag of what I took to be grit (really teeny tiny stones) which I have been putting in their feed hopper. They seem, however, to avoid it. They get out and about in the garden - ie outside the run - as often as possible, which is most of the time at weekends and occasionally during the week when my girlfriend braves the elements to wander to the bottom of the garden (I don't work from home, she does). Any suggestions?

Thanks again.

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Should chickens be laying?
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2009, 08:38:28 pm »
If they are free range, they are probably getting enough grit as you describe it in their normal diet. You should offer oyster shell grit though to add calcium and help build strong shells.

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
    • Facebook
Re: Should chickens be laying?
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2009, 08:43:01 pm »
Don't some of the feeds contain calcium for that purpose?  I thought that was why it was called 'layers pellets'.  I've never given mine any extra since I first had hens over 9 years ago.  Eggs are always fine and chickens seemed to stay healthy.  Have I just been lucky?  Where do I get the oyster shell stuff if they do need it?
Annie
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

lordlonk

  • Joined Jan 2009
Re: Should chickens be laying?
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2009, 09:11:04 am »
we've had no eggs for ages from our babes - It seems  dont want to know. Were not sure rats are maybe getting them- The chickens are kept on a first floor of a old barn. We are going to put a fresh egg in  barn to see if it  disapears and then at least we will know if there laying and having them stolen or not

Birdie Wife

  • Joined Oct 2008
Re: Should chickens be laying?
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2009, 12:31:58 pm »
Agree with all the previous posts - one other thing I just thought of though is that if you inherited the hens from your neighbour, then you've no way of knowing how old they are. depending on the breed they might only lay up to their third year.  No commercial poultry would be kept that long, but most of us keep chickens on well past their best laying years as pets. 

I'm getting about 4-5 eggs daily at the moment from about a dozen hens.

sabrina

  • Joined Nov 2008
Re: Should chickens be laying?
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2009, 04:41:49 pm »
We only have three chickens that we bought as P.O.L. last July. They have been laying well since the end of August.

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Should chickens be laying?
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2009, 07:53:08 pm »
Ours are laying in a desultory way. The cream legbars are laying well; the Marans are on strike. I've a few that are past laying and are retirees - the RIR and the Light Sussex. The Black Rocks are doing a bit and the youngsters are just starting at 22 weeks.

Re the grit, you can buy it from pet food stores - David at Pet Needs and Feeds will get it for you. I offer it because ours don't eat that many pellets - and they do get through quite a lot, so I reckon they know best!

Wellieboots

  • Guest
Re: Should chickens be laying?
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2009, 05:14:42 pm »
Hiya
Remember that the grit helps the chooks to "grind" up their food in their gizzards, so if they are totally free ranging they should be picking up enough small stones etc to sort that out. Oyster shell does both, it helps with the calcium for good strong shells & is also utilised for gizzard grinding! Hence the saying "as rare as hens teeth".
Layers pellets do have the correct vitamins & minerals but like us it doesn't hurt to give some extra, such as oyster shell.
Oh and my black rocks are laughing in the face of 14 hours of daylight as they have been laying all winter so far & as good as the summer! ;D

 

Chickens not laying?

Started by DavidandCollette

Replies: 3
Views: 686
Last post August 07, 2017, 09:04:54 am
by twizzel
CHICKENS NOT LAYING??

Started by WoodlandsDevon

Replies: 22
Views: 975
Last post December 19, 2018, 01:19:45 pm
by Possum
Whos chickens are still laying?

Started by twizzel

Replies: 104
Views: 20770
Last post January 08, 2014, 10:20:51 am
by kipper
What to do when chickens stop laying???

Started by Wood

Replies: 18
Views: 4111
Last post October 19, 2013, 11:46:17 pm
by HesterF
Chickens Stopped Laying

Started by aboud

Replies: 3
Views: 646
Last post September 15, 2017, 12:12:50 pm
by DavidandCollette

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Energy Helpline Thomson & Morgan Time for Paws Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Little Peckers

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2019. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS