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Backyard Chickens – No Eggs!

Where are the eggs?

So here is the thing… I have been collecting only the best cooking scraps from our kitchen prioritising the peelings from things grown in the garden for the chickens. Each morning Cuddles and Punky lazily eat breakfast and determined what sort of mood they are going to be in for the day. After breakfast we go down to the chicken coop with our offering of gourmet goodies for Henny, Penny and Cocoa. They pounce and we watch, or Punky reaches in for a pat as they blissfully sift through the bounty. Next we open the nesting box lid to see if the first egg is there to collect and celebrate with a second breakfast.

Good food – one of the key requirements for chickens to commence laying eggs.

Fresh Food For Chickens

To re-cap … We got our backyard chickens at the start of January. Cocoa joined Henny and Penny 5 weeks later and after some initial traumatic bullying issues they are all friends now.

 

Three Little Chickens

 

When we picked up Henny and Penny the “chicken lady” told us that they were 6 week off laying. Mr Fresh heard the same thing as I did – they are 6 weeks off laying eggs and will lay 1 egg a day each with one day off a week (will they rotate their days off or have the same day off? Hmmm I will let you know).

Every day the nesting box is empty – except one day I opened it and I jumped and got so excited, there was a perfect little egg in the box. Too perfect, it took me a few seconds to realise Mr Fresh had played a trick. He put Punky’s plastic “cooking” egg in the box.

 

Plastic egg

Anyway – At the 8 week point I phoned the “Chicken Lady” to say – “Excuse me Chicken Lady, we have no eggs, it has been more than 6 weeks -what is going on? “

Her mum took the call and offered to answer my questions. She told me that I must have misheard.  The chickens will not lay any eggs until they are 21 – 24 weeks old and at this time of the year they start to shed their feathers and will not lay regardless of how old they are. We got the chickens at about 6-7 weeks old. She said I must have heard the statement ” they are 6 weeks off laying” instead of they are “6 weeks old” hmmmm – NO I did not. I also trusted the word of the Chicken Lady and did not do much research to realise the error…

Henny, Penny and Cocoa have now developed gourmat taste buds because of the produce I have been using to temp them into laying some gooey golden eggs. What will happen in winter when my produce supply slows to a trickle and they are starting to lay eggs?

Time to do some research I think. I am not sure why I  did not do so in the beginning…..It is called being too busy and trying to do too many things.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Miss Piggy March 2, 2012, 11:32 am

    I wonder if she meant it’s been 6 weeks since they last laid? Leaving a fake egg in the box is actaully a good idea…helps the chickens nest & lay.

    • Kyrstie March 2, 2012, 11:49 am

      Hi Miss Piggy, I am so excited to have you read my post! They would have just hatched themselves at that time. They are still quite young. I think she just said the wrong thing and I just blindly went along with it…Oh well eggs in winter will be lovely and they are a nice addition the our yard and life in the meantime.

  • Tricia March 2, 2012, 8:11 pm

    I’m guessing you would be feeding them the gourmet scraps even if they never laid. We haven’t been able to eat our chooks eggs for almost two years since learning that our yard is contaminated with lead. I still spoil the chickens rotten. I love watching them scratch around the garden.

  • Helen M March 8, 2012, 5:48 pm

    this made me chuckle – but never a bad thing to spoil your chickens. And getting them early means they are more likely to take to family life and cuddly kids!
    but be aware, being purebreds, that they may not lay all through winter if it gets too cold – depends on the breed. Some people say giving them hot mash helps – I tend to make a bit extra porrige on a cold winters day and give them that – they love it! And if they are free-ranging a bit every day they should be fine with whatever scraps you have (as long as you are also feeding them either grains or a commercial pellet/crumble mix?) Let some weeds build up and they can eat them in winter. Warrigal greens are great too for when there aren’t many other greens to feed them.
    have fun! you are going to love those first few eggs after all this anticipation :-) And also be aware that the first few eggs can be very small (and funny shapes) till they get the hang of it.

    • Kyrstie March 8, 2012, 8:36 pm

      Thanks for all of the great information Helen. Do you make your porrige with milk or water? I have wondered if it is wise to give them the children’s cereal scraps (they have with milk). We do feed the girl a pellet mix as well as bread ends, scraps and they free range probably 5 out of the 7 days in the week. Thanks again, it is great to hear from someone who has experience. I will be sure to celebrate the first eggs with pictures on the blog :) I can’t wait to see the face of my 4 year old when he finds the first one. Kyrstie

  • poultrymatters April 11, 2012, 7:25 pm

    I hope you get some eggs as early as possible. Home grown eggs are the only way I like them. I don’t know whether I should mention this bus it looks like one of the chickens is part silkie. They don’t lay as many eggs as a commercial layer or even a purebreed. Silkies tend to lay for a period of time and then go broody. They don’t lay when they are broody. They make lovely pets though.

  • Michael March 10, 2013, 10:35 am

    An interesting look at a personal experience of raising chickens. I have some information about the topic at
    http://www.egglayinghens.com/reasons-hens-not-laying-eggs/
    if anybody’s interested

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