Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Labor Day's come and gone... still no eggs

I was so hoping I'd stroll out to the Eglu this morning and peek inside to find our first egg (see all my posts regarding the timing of the first egg here). But it wasn't to be.

Unless the chickens have figured out a way top dig a hole in the dirt, drop the egg in and cover it up and pack it back down, we've got no eggs yet.

So, my initial prognostication of eggs on Labor Day didn't come true, but I still think September's the golden month. The folks at McMurray Hatchery say chicks start laying between 5 and 7 months of age, whereas the My Pet Chicken FAQs says it's 4-5 months.

A Manitoba (Canada) government web site has this nice little PDF on Egg Size and Your Small Flock of Laying Hens with this little tidbit in it:
Lighting programs influence egg size by accelerating or delaying the age at which hens start to lay eggs. The younger a hen is when she starts egg production, the smaller her eggs will be during her first year of life. The start of egg production can be delayed by providing 10 hours or less of light each day to 19 weeks of age. Decreasing the daily hours of light at any time after 10 weeks of age will also delay the start of egg production.
We haven't done any artificial lighting with our girls, but considering the fact we've been in midsummer light for a couple months now, I don't think the light's affecting their time of lay.

I just have to be more patient with them and be happy with an egg of any size when it first comes (given the size of Sophia's vent and the width of her "hips," I think she'll be the first to lay).


Laura said...

We didn't get our first egg from Penny (partridge rock) until she was almost 25 weeks old. Just a point of reference for you as to when they might start to lay.

Last year we got sporadic winter eggs starting around Christmas because we had a red heat lamp in the roost box for warmth for the banty hens (no door on the box).

Fingers crossed for you - good luck!

brad said...

When it was hot this week, how did you keep the girls cool?

There is no room for food and water inside a chicken tractor, like an Eglu. Do your pullets do okay with no water overnight?

Unknown said...

Hey Brad, We have a big beach umbrella that provides shade for the girls, and the Eglu comes with a shade that covers about 40% of the run. And we just made sure the girls had plenty of fresh water (we don't close the door separating the Eglu coop from the run, so they have access to water 24/7, even though I've never seen them leave the coop after sundown).

Outside of those additions to the environs, the girls stayed cool themselves by digging out a shallow hole in the dirt and laying in the cool earth when they needed to.

brad said...

Thanks for your answer. The beach umbrella is a great idea for shade.

I don't know about leaving the girls out at night around here. We have several cats that roam the neighborhood and raccoons come out at night.


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