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Getting chickens to lay
12

Scaryfairy · 15/01/2010 17:08

Looking for some advice. We got our chickens in Sept and have had no eggs yet. We feed them layer pellets and also treats (in the afternoon) like corn, grapes, porridge, etc.

Some people told us we would get no eggs until the spring. Another friend has said that we don't get eggs because we spoil the chickens and shouldn't feed them anything except the pellets. This is what she does and hers have laid all winter.

My dh is keen to follow her advice but I feel really mean as everytime I go outside they run over for a treat and get nothing. And this is only the first day!

Have any of you experienced chicken keepers any advice?

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Eve · 15/01/2010 17:11

what age are they? have the mouted recently?

food is fine... mine had last nights left over spaghetti for tea today.. as long as they have layers pellets as well for the grit, mine get leftovers all the time.

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Scaryfairy · 15/01/2010 17:17

I am very new to this so thanks for responding. I'm not sure exactly how old they are - the man we bought them from was a bit vague but I think they were quite young in Sept.

We have seen a few feathers - not sure if that counts as moulting - I'm very new to this!

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MitchyInge · 15/01/2010 17:20

mine (ex-batts) eat all sorts of random rubbish, although their main food is a mix of corn and layers mash, each lays a big brown egg every day and once or twice a week we get 3 eggs betwen two of them - which ought not to be possible

unless chickens from up the lane come and lay them in our nesting box

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ProfYaffle · 15/01/2010 17:25

My hen laid regularly all last year but now hasn't laid an egg since October. First she moulted, then she was getting hassled by her poorly coop mate so think that stressed her out, then the snow started so think that put her off ....

Honestly, sometimes if you look at them the wrong way they stop laying.

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shallishanti · 15/01/2010 18:24

What sort are they?
some breeds lay more than others.
If seller was vague about how old they are, this is perhaps their 2nd winter, when they will lay less anyway. Alternatively if they are v young they may not have come into lay yet- do they have big red combs?

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Scaryfairy · 15/01/2010 18:30

One is a hybrid and the other is a faverolle - we were told it was a bantam but it is now very big.

I think they are probably young. The seller said something about them just being ready to go when we bought them. Others he had were too young.

What age to they start to lay? Perhaps they are still too young?

We had a third which died. We hope to replace her but not sure what breed to get.

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ChickensLoveMarmite · 15/01/2010 18:33

Have their combs reddened up? Do they crouch for you? Different hens go in to lay at different ages, but these signs show maturity. Do they make 'proper' chicken noises yet?

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Scaryfairy · 15/01/2010 18:49

Thanks for everyone's advice.

I think their combs are red. Not sure if they crouch.

Also don't think they make proper chicken noises - Flo the flaverolle sounds more like a duck!

Sorry to be so ignorant!

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ChickensLoveMarmite · 15/01/2010 20:45

Ah, I have a few honking/quacking varieties! I really meant are they past the 'cheeping' stage. A mature hen will do the 'bok-bok-bok-ARK!!!' call, IYSWIM. If you approach the bird, and she's mature, she should crouch down with her wings slightly lifted. This is 'crouching' and is the mating pose. A crouching hen is usually ready to lay (so to speak ) It's likely that your girls were sold to you quite a bit younger than you thought. If they are eating and otherwise healthy, eggs should start appearing as soon as they mature (usually by about 20 weeks in a hybrid, can be longer in a pure breed). As for treats, I give mine only pellets during the day, and just before bedtime I give them some porridge/corn/toast/pasta etc. They need their pellets, but as long as they are eating this mostly, treats wont hurt them (and in this extreme weather, can be very important). Have you tried joining the 'Omlet' forum?

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Scaryfairy · 27/01/2010 17:19

Thanks for all your responses. Great excitement in our house this morning as we got our first egg! I am just about to ceremoniously cook it!

Have just rewarded them with extra porridge and tomatoes.

CLM - I now know what you mean by crouching - the hen I think laid the egg started crouching when I went up to the run at the weekend.

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ChickensLoveMarmite · 27/01/2010 17:23

Brilliant! Enjoy your egg I bet you did the egg dance...

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nickelbabe · 27/01/2010 17:24

sounds good!
all hens slow down in the winter anyway, as they need 14 hours of daylight a day to lay an egg. some will do it with fewer, but you will find that most of them will not lay as often. when the days start lengthening they'll get going! because they were Point of lay in Septmeber, you should expect to have to wait till spring to get anything significant.

also check out chicken website for more info.

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