Feb 19, 2013

When Will a Hen Begin Laying Eggs? Watch for The Submissive Squat

The following are general guidelines for what to watch for and how to help prepare pullet (a female chicken less than 12 months old) for the big day.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting that First Egg
It’s understandable that a first-time chicken-keeper may be anxious to know when they can reasonably expect to see the first egg in the nest box from their new flock. The following are general guidelines for what to watch for and how to help prepare a chicken to lay her first egg.
Sonny, my White Crested, Blue Polish pullet, was practicing for the big day.  Her first egg was produced the next day.
Sonny, my White Crested, Blue Polish pullet, was practicing for the big day. 
Her first egg was produced the next day. 

When Will She Lay Her First Egg?
The age at which a pullet lays her first egg is called the “point of lay” and it is controlled by many factors. Hormones, breed, health, lighting conditions, extreme temperatures, stress and diet all play a role. I know, I know. You just heard “blah, blah, blah, blah blah,” but what is the answer? In very general terms, most pullets lay their first eggs between five and six months old. However, there is a wide range of normal that extends from 18 weeks to 12 months. My Silkie, Freida, didn’t lay her first egg until she was 14 months old.
In very general terms, most pullets lay their first eggs between five and six months old. However, there is a wide range of normal that extends from 18 weeks to 12 months. My Silkie, Freida, didn’t lay her first egg until she was 14 months old.
Help ‘em Out
1. Feed them properlyLaying hens should be fed layer ration no earlier than 18 weeks of age. Layer ration contains less protein than starter/grower feeds and it contains added calcium needed to produce quality eggshells. Pullets younger than 18 weeks should not be fed layer ration due to the calcium content- it can cause kidney damage and gout, which may not be immediately apparent, but will affect the health and lifespan of the hen.

2. Ensure access to clean,fresh water at all times. An egg consists of approximately 75% water and without access to a regular, clean supply of water, a hen will be physically unable to produce eggs.
While layer feed contains calcium, an additional source of calcium, such as crushed oyster shells or clean eggshells, should be made available to hens at 18 weeks old in a separate dish, apart from the feed.
3. Provide access to calcium. While layer feed contains calcium, an additional source of calcium, such as crushed oyster shells or clean eggshells, should be made available to hens at 18 weeks old in a separate dish, apart from the feed. All laying hens have different calcium requirements and will consume as much calcium as they need. Oyster shells should never be added directly to the feed because excess calcium can be harmful to the health of hens not requiring supplemental calcium. Hens deprived of adequate amounts of calcium will begin utilizing the calcium stored within their own bones to produce eggshells, to the detriment of their health.
One nest box should be available for every four layers in the flock. They may choose to share nest boxes, but forcing them to share is a recipe for broken eggs, egg-eating, stress and a drop in egg production.
3. Set the Mood. One nest box should be available for every four layers in the flock. They may choose to share nest boxes, but forcing them to share is a recipe for broken eggs, egg-eating, stress and a drop in egg production. Place nest box material such as straw on top of nest box pads and liners in the nests to make it comfortable for the hen. They love rearranging the nesting material!  Place a golf ball, wooden egg or any other type of hard fake egg in the nest boxes. Hens like to lay eggs where others have laid theirs and the fake eggs can increase the power of suggestion for newbies. 
Hens prefer to lay their eggs in a quiet,dark, private place. Consider nest box curtains, particularly if the location of the nest boxes is well-lit.
4. Make it welcoming. Hens prefer to lay their eggs in a quiet,dark, private place. Consider nest box curtains, particularly if the location of the nest boxes is well-lit.  

5. Minimize stress. Limit activity in and around the coop in the morning. Reserve coop-cleaning chores until later in the day, keep small children from engaging them in any way and ensure their living environment is spacious, clean, pest-free and predator-free.
Certain herbs may serve to deter mites and lice from setting up shop on chickens. Read more about nesting box herbs and herbal pest prevention on my blog HERE.
I add fresh rosemary, lemon balm, lavender and/or rose petals to my nest boxes when in season and dried herbs in the winter. I appreciate the scent in the coop and imagine the hens enjoy it too. Certain herbs may serve to deter mites and lice from setting up shop on chickens. Read more about nesting box herbs and herbal pest prevention on my blog HERE.
Signs of Readiness
Pullets provide a few physical clues when they are approaching the point of lay.

1. They may be seen exploring the nest boxes, walking in and out, rearranging the nesting material and practice sitting in them.
They may be seen exploring the nest boxes, walking in and out, rearranging the nesting material and practice sitting in them.
2. Combs and wattles will begin to darken and redden.
Combs and wattles will begin to darken and redden as pullets approach the point of lay.
This photo of Gilda, my Wheaten Marans, was taken 5 weeks prior to the one below. 
Combs and wattles will begin to darken and redden as pullets approach the point of lay.
In five weeks, Gilda's comb and wattles have tripled in size and darkened. 
I expect an egg from her any day now.

3. The Submissive Squat. This is the most telling of all physical signs, one that indicates that a egg can be expected within a week! The submissive squat, as I like to call it, is the posture a sexually mature pullet or hen assumes when she is approached by a rooster for mating. She crouches down, spreads her wings to the side for balance and lowers her tail for the rooster to “tread” her (or hop on her back and do his thang). She may also display the submissive squat when approached by a person, particularly when a hand is extended to pet her.
The submissive squat is the most telling of all physical signs that a pullet is approaching the point of lay.
Submissive squat, preparing for mating.
The submissive squat is the most telling of all physical signs that a pullet is approaching the point of lay.
"Treading" is the term used for the way a rooster stands on a hen's back during mating.
Pullet exhibiting the submissive squat
Hen exhibiting the submissive squat, a sure sign of sexual maturity and imminent egg-laying.
The submissive squat indicates readiness to lay eggs.
Within 24 hours of publishing this article, my Buff Orpington pullet laid her first egg! It never gets any less exciting! Can you guess which pullet in this photo laid this egg today?
 When Will a Hen Begin Laying Eggs? Watch for The Submissive Squat
The pullet on the top, with the darker, larger comb and wattles laid this tiny egg today. They were all hatched at the same time and raised by my Silkie hen (top, left photo) so I expect the pullet with the smaller, lighter red comb and wattles will join Team Egg-layer soon!

A pullet's first egg is not always picture-perfect. It will ordinarily be quite small, but subsequent eggs will soon reach "normal" size for her. It can take some time before her reproductive system is working like a well-oiled machine and new layers are capable of some funky looking creations, but before long, she'll be an egg-laying master. To learn more about how a hen makes and egg and why some eggs are odd, read my blog article here
First egg from my Easter Egger- it was rubbery, which is entirely normal.
This was the first egg from my Easter Egger, Ethel. It was a "rubber egg," which can be completely normal for new layers.
Eggs are the eagerly anticipated reward after months of waiting and caring for chickens.
Disclaimer The Chicken Chick
Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick®

363 comments :

  1. Raven Locks2/19/13, 4:28 PM

    Wonderful post!  My new Ameraucana just started laying last week.  I had been wondering when she was going to lay.    It's an exciting time :)  

    I've got a quick question for ya.  Do you know where I can get a few Blue Ameraucana chicks?  They're sold out everywhere I look.

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  2. Thanks for all your help with my first year of chickens.  Your blog has been amazing!

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  3. Melanie Christopherson2/19/13, 4:45 PM

    I'm turning into a serial commentator!  This first-timer really appreciates this information.  I noticed the "squat" and was curious if that is what it meant and the two pullets that were squatting did indeed lay within a few days.  My other two, however, have yet to lay, but now I've checked out their combs and wattles and they are still small.  This is encouraging to know!  Thanks! 

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  4. I've never tried this brand of food, would love the chance!

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  5. hollywilson822/19/13, 5:13 PM

    Thanks! We have hens that are almost 16 weeks old and were wondering when we should start to expect some eggs. And when we should switch to layer rations! Time to get those nesting boxes done so they get used to them. I guess we should wait a few more weeks at least :)

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  6. I love all the information you provide. Everyday, I learn something new, and because I have just started with chickens, it is a great benefit to me.  Thank you!

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  7. Didn't realize my hens needed the additional calcium, thanks for the tip!  As always, I love your posts and looking forward to following your blog.  

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  8. Hi Chicken Chick, I LOVE your blog!!! It has given me the courage to finally jump into ordering chickens (in January!).
    I have been trying desperately (and I think failing every time) to enter some of your giveaways. I was not sure if I should leave my comment here or on Facebook. I hope this one works. . .
    ~Robin

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  9. hugo martinez2/19/13, 9:30 PM

    Hello i hope i can win it 

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  10. Love that you give opportunitys to win!! Will be a new "mommy " in about a week and can't wait to raise them. Thank you for this website and all the info for "us" newbie chicken owners. <3

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  11. Lynette Mattke2/19/13, 9:33 PM

    THanks for the chance at the giveaway. I am following you via email and GFC.

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  12. I am really enjoying your posts and love your coup (the one your husband built)  We will have one very similar to that this Spring! 

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  13. Lynette Mattke2/19/13, 9:33 PM

    I am not sure if my comment posted - thanks for the giveaway!

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  14. thanks for the info- do you know if it applies to turkeys?

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  15. Jackie Johnson2/19/13, 9:36 PM

    Thanks to the kind of information you have shared above, I was able to have a pretty good idea of when y newest hens were getting close to laying. Thanks for sharing so much information for us all!

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  16. Heather Clower2/19/13, 9:42 PM

    Great Info!  As always!

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  17. TheChickenChick2/19/13, 9:48 PM

    I have no experience with turkeys, Donna. Sorry!

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  18. TheChickenChick2/19/13, 9:49 PM

    Thanks so much! I'd love to see it when yours is finished!

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  19. Awesome information once again Kathy !! I'm definitely in !!! Thanks !

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  20. Love your informative blogs!  Would love to win the Nutrena giveaway.

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  21. My hens love Nutrena! Thanks, Kathy!

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  22. TheChickenChick2/19/13, 10:04 PM

    Try Louden Farms in Ohio, that's where I got mine.

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  23. I am nearly ready for my new chicks! They will need food!

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  24. I subscribe to your blog on email

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  25. I love the color variety of your eggs. 

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  26. thanks for the chance. follow by email and commented on nutrena already like

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  27. Love all your posts. Enter me to win Nutrena. My ladies would love me.

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  28. Thanks for such great great info, and wonderful giveaways!

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  29. Thanks for the chance to win!

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  30. I subscribe to your blog through RSS feed at My Yahoo.

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  31. I love your blog! You have great giveaways, too. :)

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  32. I so appreciate your FB page and website.  We're new at this chick thing and I've found you have the best and most comprehensive information on all things chicken!  You're my Chicken Bible!  I also would like to enter the Nutrena give a way.

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  33. We're new at raising chickens and I so appreciate your FB page and website.  You are my go to for anything related!  I also appreciate how involved you are with the commenters, it makes me feel like our input and feedback is really important to you.  Hope I've done everything necessary to enter.  I've tried before and I don't think it worked!

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  34. I'd love to let my girls try the Nutrena Feed! I really love your blog and appreciate all the tips and information you offer. I'm new as a chicken owner (mother) and learning more every day. Thanks again

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  35. kschickygirl2/20/13, 2:11 AM

    my girls would love more feed 

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  36. I love your blog.  I learn so much from you every week.  Thank you for this chance to win Nutrena Poultry Feed.  I love my chickens and want the very best for my girls.

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  37. Hi, im signing up for the feed giveaway. Thank you for all of your info :-)

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  38. Told them Chicken Chick sent me!

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  39. Langela Richardson2/20/13, 8:23 AM

    Your basket of eggs is so pretty!

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  40. Thanks for posting a chance to give my girls a freebie. Lots of inspiratuon to give my coop an updated look after seeing the cuteness in yours.

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  41. Please enter me -- I like your blog and I want to get some chocolate brown egg layers and some Olive-eggers -- such cool colors!

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  42. Great article!  I'd love to try Nutrena!

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  43. vickie morgan2/20/13, 11:17 AM

    I love reading your blog- would love a free bag of feed -always! 

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  44. Love the curtains and fresh herbs in the nesting boxes. Thanks again for smart info!

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  45. Great post...I always learn something here.  I would love to get some little chicks, is it too early?  Last time I did this, it was in April.  I would start them in the house.

    Sign me up for the giveaway...thanks.

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  46. Would love to win the feed for my hens when they lay. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  47. Great info! My 8 mo old cochin just started laying. I couldnt be more eggcited!!

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  48. A Nutrena win would be great ! I already subscribe to the blog.

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  49. What a great post, I just loved it. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  50. Enter me to win Nutrena!  Need it badly!  

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  51.  That bag of Nutrena would be really wonderful to have with a dozen new pullets! Thank you!

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  52. 30 new chicks are soon to arrive...wow do I need this!!!

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  53. Love your posts!  Would love some free food for my girls!

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  54. Thank you for this information.  I have 3 hens ready to lay eggs at any time.  One of the last bunch of pullets fooled me though.  I haven't heard any crowing from any of these.  LOL  Enter me to win the chicken feed.  Thank you!

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  55. I really enjoy reading your blog and subscribe to your blog.  Ellen from Georgia

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  56. My new chicks would really like that 50 pound bag of food, I subscribe to your blog

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  57. SallyMcAllister2/20/13, 1:36 PM

    enter me in the contest plz :)

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  58. jloneal20042/20/13, 1:40 PM

    My new chicks will be here in March. Would love to win!! And I love your blog! Thank you

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  59. I've got some new girls on their way to join my sweet flock.  I'd love to welcome them with some of this great feed.

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  60. Thanks for your blog - We just hatched our 2nd round of chicks (1st time was Thanksgiving 2011) and learn so much from you!

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  61. I like the idea of adding herbs to the nests.  Please sign me up for the giveaway!

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  62. Joyce Zaleski2/20/13, 2:55 PM

    I would love to win a bag of Nutrena for my girls. I have not seen that in any of my feed stores around here and I know they would love it. Thanks so much. queenb@epix.net

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  63. As always, thank you for the great information

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  64. Hans H. Bjørstad2/20/13, 3:57 PM

    Nice photos and  your post is perfect for the theme!

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  65. I love Nutrena!  I'm currently between jobs and scraping up more feed money!  Egg money is barely cutting it!

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  66. i am open to free food!!!lol Have several hatching eggs on!!!

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  67. I would love to win a bad of Chicken Feed!! LOL

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  68. I would love to win a bag of Chicken Feed please.

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  69. Hopefuly, I win the bag to feed my lil ones that are a week old.

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  70. Hopefully I win the bag so that I can feed my lil ones a good start.

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  71. Sarah Grubbs2/20/13, 5:49 PM

    No eggs in the bator yet, but hoping this weekend at the latest.  Would love to have some Nutrena for my newbies!!

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  72. Renee Berry2/20/13, 6:04 PM

    Brooder ready for my first batch of baby chicks.  Love the information on your site!

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  73. I have to say that i am a city girl, but really enjoyed reading this informative article!  Also you do have some lovely hens! and they look very pampered

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  74. Though I have had my chickens for four years now, you are still my "go-to-gal" when it comes to helpful information.  Thank you for being YOU, and for all the help you provide.  :)

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  75. Oh, yes... and please enter me into the contest!  Thanks!

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  76. bethany.dopp2/20/13, 6:54 PM

    This was very helpful and informative.  Answered some of my newbie questions for sure!  Thanks a bunch!

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  77. I really enjoy your blog! Keep 'em coming!

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  78. I love my chickens and want the very best for my girls. Thank you for this chance to win Nutrena Poultry Feed.
    Little did I know...what you call a "submissive squat" I've been calling their "happy dance" (having no rooster). :)

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  79. TheChickenChick2/20/13, 8:41 PM

    Thanks Karen. I'd say it's too early to have them shipped due to the cold temperatures, but if you were to get them at a feed store, that's fine- they'll be indoors all the time anyway.

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  80. maddienbugsmom2/20/13, 9:03 PM

    Thank you for the 'timeline".  It will be very helpful for when we get our new chicks after the kids at the school incubate them!!!

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  81. my chickens would love this treat

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  82. Deana Rogers2/20/13, 9:05 PM

    Thanks for the give away.  Also thanks for all you do on the blog, I have learned alot from you sense I joined

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  83. Would love to try Nutrena! Thanks for another great giveaway.  

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  84. Thank you for the chance to win my chickens favorite brand of food!!! 

    I got a surprise today...went out to check my chickens during the snow storm we are getting today & found a quarter sized egg on the floor infront of the nest boxes! I have no idea who laid it, as my pullet has been laying eggs for the last 3 weeks & they are all bigger... mystery in the coop! 

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  85. After just reading posts on FB and seeing how a Kit Kat bar didn't seem to work....I'm trying to come up with some delicious, must have, chocolate decadence. Coming up with something better than a Kit Kat bar seems to be a problem so I'll have to get back to you on that one.... :) 

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  86. OMG!!!! winning the feed would be eggcelent :D   I love your FB post and your blog. My friends and I run to your blog at least once a week with WWCLD (what would chicken lady do)

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  87. Come on, momma's got some hungry babies!

    Thanks, kori Dimock

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  88. I've been looking for a better feed for my hens, I haven't been happy with the one I'm getting now.

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  89. I am so sure that my little ladies would love to win that chicken feed!!  Thanks for the giveaway!!

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  90. Great that you add nutritional and calcium information to your blog! Very helpful!

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  91. So glad you address nutrition and calcium needs in your blog!

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  92. Madelyn Bloom2/21/13, 6:56 PM

     Thank you for joining in 'Rurality Blog Hop #3' Hope to see you next Wednesday for #4...

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  93. New chicks ready to hatch next week! I am in need of some chick-y food :)

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  94. I can hardly wait for spring to start a lil' flock of my very own!

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  95. Entered the Nutrena Chicken feed give away :)  TY for info on when to start layer feed.  I have read so many different things and needed to know what was best for my chickens health.  I have two pullets, one approaching 7 wks the other 5 wks .  I am going to also try the petals and such in boxes, great idea! 

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  96. So informative.  It's truly an amazing process.  I wish I can raise some chicks and get fresh eggs every day here in the city.  Too bad, my neighbors would probably complain about it.  But I really enjoy your detail explanation.  Thank you for sharing your knowledge.  :)  

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  97. Very informative post I loved it even as a long time chicken keeper! What a gorgeous white crested blue polish you have. Here in New England my flock is in an outrage as they are getting devoured by chicken swallowing snow drifts! If you would like a peek at their dilemma my Snowy chickens and Old Coop stories post may interest you merely as funny fodder. Great blog I am now an earnest follower! Oh and herbs in the nest box ...I will be trying that out!

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  98. Wow! Fascinating post, most informative and great photography ~ ^_^

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  99. My sister is raising chickens and has her grandkids into them as well....lovely family bonding activity as well as educational♫   Enjoyed reading about your experiences♫  My Rurality effort: http://lore-eleven.blogspot.com/2013/02/fun-with-sundials.html   

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  100. Madelyn Bloom3/1/13, 10:21 PM

    Thank you for joining in 'Rurality Blog Hop #4' Hope to see you next Wednesday for #5...

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  101. Madelyn Bloom3/1/13, 10:21 PM

     Thank you for joining in 'Rurality Blog Hop #4' Hope to see you next Wednesday for #5...

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  102. I'm getting more chickens will need more feed

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  103. 4th year of hens. just got 7 new ones to add to my flock later this summer

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  104. Lee Ann Lewin3/5/13, 10:46 AM

    Getting some chicks soon I hope!  Tried last year and ended up with two boys.  So much for sexing at a day....

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  105. Carole Hughes3/17/13, 3:14 PM

    Greetings All,

    First I want to extend a profound thank you all for sharing your lessons, wisdom, and love of chicken keeping. My husband and I have learned so much from reading we feel much more confident about starting our own coop, but we want to do it right.

    I'm hoping you can help with a couple questions we still have. I'd appreciate any feedback.

    Here's some background: After a VERY long time, my husband and I finally have our dream home. We just moved in in October 2012. It had everything we want in our homestead including potential. When I was little, my grandma raised me and I have fond memories of her chickens. However, this will be our first venture at chicken keeping. We've had cats, dogs, lizards, and children (now in college), this next step in our journey has us a bit nervous but excited.

    One of the gifts our property came with is a once-upon-a-time chicken coop. It is connected to the back end of our well house,, any run fencing has long been removed. The previous owners used it as a brewing house, but we are hoping to convert it back to a place to raise chickens. It's about 6wx9Lx8H with great ventilation. It needs the roosts and nesting boxes installed, the hen door repaired, and some overall TLC. We're going to enclose it with an L-shaped run on the side and behind.The run will be about 10x15 on one side and 4x9 on the other.

    Question 1: Do you think it is safe to keep it there, with the run directly over our well (albeit, the well is over 150 feet down) - do we have contamination concerns is we are diligent about keeping the run clean? I can always use it as an root cellar/herb barn and build a coop nearer to my veggies, but really like where this one especially since it's practically ready to go. We're not beyond starting from scratch, but would rather make use of what we have.

    Question 2: Sand v. Litter or shavings - we live in the Pacific Northwest (Washington) and it's very wet. I love the idea of sand in lieu of litter or shavings but I'm concerned about keeping it dry with our Washington rain. We are intending to use an open weft cover of hardware cloth, not roofing the entire run. We are on about 5 acres that border a state park, so there are very real predator concerns (wolves, coons, bobcats, eagles, hawks, etc). We are taking care to ensure the hen's safety, but also want to provide sunlight naturally whenever possible since it is a rare commodity.

    Thanks ever so much for any suggestions or feedback.

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  106. Barbara Thorbjornsson6/8/13, 10:48 AM

    love this informative article. Thanks Kathy.

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  107. Just got my first egg yesterday from my Cuckoo Marans "Jethrine"...it's speckled & on the small size but I could not be a prouder Papa...! One down 10 more girls to go...!

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  108. This is really nice to know. I didn't realize when & why a hens come and waddles got bigger and redder so quick at a certain age. Now I know what to look for in some of my 5 month old OEGB!!

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  109. TheChickenChick6/10/13, 9:03 PM

    Congratulations! That's so eggciting!

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  110. Shaleena loves her pet hens7/17/13, 10:46 PM

    Thank you this article helped so much. Could a newly laying hen lay two eggs at the same time?- this is about the eating egg

    Thank you
    my chickens:

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  111. Joyce Lynn Stillings-Gardenhir7/31/13, 5:25 PM

    We are new to chickens....we have 12 hens and 1 roo, one or two of them has begun laying but we only get an egg every 3 or 4 days....is this normal or should it be more consistent?

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  112. I've got 3 White Leghorns, which are 22 weeks old and me and my little brother cant wait to see when they will lay their first egg :D Thanks for the tips.

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  113. MY Ameraucana Easter Egger Just laid a green egg... She is only 14 weeks old! That's too soon right??

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  114. TheChickenChick8/18/13, 10:17 PM

    That's pretty early. Any chance there are lights on inside the coop all night?

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  115. No, they are in bed at dusk and rise at dawn. We just integrated the younger ones with the laying hens, and after doing a little research I read that if the young ones start eating the laying mash, with the extra calcium and such, that they can begin to lay too early and it can cause health and longevity issues. The way we are set up now we can't feed them separately so I'm not sure what to do. Any ideas?
    Thanks!

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  116. Ok, So our green egg yesterday was NOT from our ameraucana! It is from our duck!
    Although we have Pekin ducks, she apparently is not a pure Pekin (their eggs are white) so she must be a hybrid. The texture of the egg is different, it's harder and glossier, which is why I kept searching until I found posts about green duck eggs. Nature is amazing!

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  117. TheChickenChick8/19/13, 12:31 PM

    They are GORGEOUS!!

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  118. TheChickenChick8/19/13, 11:14 PM

    Feed everyone starter/grower feed and provide oyster shell in a separate dish for the laying hens.

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  119. Yes will do. Thanks!

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  120. Karrie Sedlmeyer8/20/13, 3:51 PM

    honestly, your info has been so very helpful in all aspects of my chicken-rearing months. thanks so much!!!!

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  121. Sumer Fisher8/20/13, 4:08 PM

    My red Sex-linked is getting ready to lay her first egg, she is about 4 1/2-5 months old. I haven't put her on the egg laying food yet because I didn't think she was ready to lay yet, or any of the rest of them for that matter. I plan to get some this weekend, will this hurt the quality of the egg since she wasn't on it before she started squatting?

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  122. Thanks for the info! I decided to go out and check on the girls and I got TWO eggs today! :D Just waiting on our buff orp to start...

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  123. Carol Ann McGrath8/20/13, 6:01 PM

    Thanks for the great info! I am looking forward to my first eggs later this fall ;~)

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  124. TheChickenChick8/21/13, 2:10 AM

    Congratulations!

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  125. TheChickenChick8/21/13, 2:11 AM

    Thanks Karrie, that's nice to know.♥

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  126. TheChickenChick8/21/13, 4:57 PM

    Go with whatever the feed manufacturer recommends.

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  127. TheChickenChick8/21/13, 4:57 PM

    No, she'll be fine.

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  128. Sumer Fisher8/22/13, 9:59 AM

    thank you, I was worried about it. I thought she still had some time, but I guess not. I hope to have my first egg from her within a couple of days. I'm sooo excited!!

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  129. Rachelle Barnes-Bradford8/25/13, 7:49 AM

    This site is hot, cant wait for my first egg.

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  130. My chicken just layed her first egg on saturday and she hasn't lay today or yesterday is this normal

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  131. TheChickenChick8/28/13, 11:14 AM

    Yes, not every hen will lay an egg every day.

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  132. Hey Kathy, I'm a little worried about my girls. I'm only getting 2 to 3 eggs a day now. It is starting to get cooler so heat isn't a factor, I'm in east NC. I have 6, 6 month olds and about 2 months ago we got 4 grown hens and a rooster. They seem to be eating a lot but they look smaller. I have seen feathers in the yard so I'm sure they are molting (?spelling). Do I need to add a light on a timer? Any other advice?

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  133. TheChickenChick8/29/13, 11:36 PM

    Take a look at this article, it will lead to other articles, including the one I wrote about supplemental lighting: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/12/decrease-in-egg-production-causes.html

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  134. my chicken are beginning to lay, but not using the nesting boxes provided, so eggs are broken from falling from roost. What should I do?

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  135. my young chickens are beginning to lay, but doing so as they roost and not in the nesting boxes provided. What should I do?

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  136. TheChickenChick9/5/13, 12:14 AM

    You can put some wooden eggs or golf balls in the nest boxes. They'll figure it out. They often lay eggs in odd places in the beginning.

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  137. Sallyintucson9/5/13, 12:29 AM

    Have you 1) checked your local laws and 2) asked your neighbors how they would feel about you having chickens? Can't hurt to ask!

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  138. Laura Allegretti Goldner9/7/13, 4:48 PM

    I got my first hens in the early spring. They should be ready to lay. My question is what time of day do they usually lay their eggs. I've been trying to keep them in their coop tile about 9:00 am. They they pretty much free range. I just don't want them to lay somewhere that I can't find them. Do you know how long I should keep them in their coop in the morning?

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  139. Laura Allegretti Goldner9/7/13, 4:53 PM

    I just got my first hens in the spring time. They are just about ready to lay. What time of the morning do they usually lay? My hens are let out of the coop to free range at about 9:00 am. I'm worried they are going to lay somewhere and I won't be able to find them. What time is safe to let them out in the morning? I appreciate any info. you can give me. Thanks!

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  140. First egg today!! So exciting. Don't know if it came from the Wyandots or the Sicilian Buttercup- they all seem to have the larger and darker wattles and combs, as compared to our Silkie, Buff Orp and Americauna. This is all great info.

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  141. i have a rooster and he follows my hens but every time he got to close the hens, most of the hens run away
    why does this happen?

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  142. TheChickenChick9/11/13, 12:08 AM

    Congratulations Amy!!

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  143. TheChickenChick9/11/13, 12:12 AM

    Maybe they have headaches? lol I don't know, I'd have to know more about the circumstances surrounding the encounters.

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  144. Chris Stack9/21/13, 2:45 PM

    I am very nervous about my dog chasing my 6 chickens. I have had chickens before but we never had a dog. I yell at my dog to stop chasing them. She actually follows them when they run so I am not sure if that is considering chasing. Will it make us not have eggs?

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  145. TheChickenChick9/22/13, 10:45 PM

    The stress of being chased by a dog can certainly affect a hen's egg production. Just so you know, dogs are the #1 killer of chickens. You're going to need to keep the dog penned out or the chickens secured inside the coop/run.

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  146. proudconservative10749/23/13, 6:05 PM

    hi, i have 5 chickens and there starting to dig in the dirt should i get them each a nesting box or what

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  147. TheChickenChick9/23/13, 10:35 PM

    They are probably dust-bathing, which is a good thing. http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2013/01/chicken-dust-baths-ultimate-spa.html Nest boxes have nothing to do with chickens digging in the dirt. You should have one nest box available in the coop for every four layers.

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  148. how can I tell how old my pullets are, I have 4, I am new to keeping chickens n would like to know when im likely to see an egg, any advice would be welcome, thank you

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  149. I have a couple questions. My 3 chickens have laid 2 eggs but they are very very small and have no yokes? Is this normal? And at what point in the winter do I need to put a light out to make the days seem longer? I live in Washington and we have days and days of gloomy, no sun, always raining weather. And no snow so it gets very very dark.

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  150. Becky Knutson9/27/13, 6:01 PM

    We have 5 hens and they started laying about 4 weeks ago. Two are Americans and we get 1-2 eggs each day and 1 white egg every day or two from our white leghorn. Two are Black Australorps, but we are only getting 1 brown egg every 2-3 days. It seems like one of them isn't laying. How would I tell if something is wrong? Or is it common for some hens to just be slower to start laying?

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  151. I have 4 pullets that were all purchased at the same time (1 -2 days old). 3 of the 4 are laying, but the 4th is not. Any ideas on why one would not lay eggs? I've been getting one egg a day from the three.

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  152. Shannon Evans9/30/13, 3:14 PM

    I purchased my 5 Austrolorpe chicks on, May 3, 2013. On Thursday September 26, 2013 I found one teeny little egg in a nesting box, it is now Monday September 30, and there have been no more eggs. Is that normal? I thought once they started laying that you could count on an egg or two every day or every other day? Should I be worried?

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  153. I have four Rhode Island Reds, and they are just now 20 wks. old...One of them started laying about two weeks ago, but I don't believe the others have started laying yet, although, I can't really tell...My excitement at finding the first very small brown egg was delightful...You will be very excited, too.

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  154. Laura, my one chicken, out of four, always lays their egg around 10:00am...I can't wait until the other three start laying.

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  155. Nicky and Annalisa10/10/13, 12:33 PM

    This is a great article, my daughter and I are now waiting for our new hens (as from Sunday) to lay and all you said indicates Miranda is ready (red full sized wattle etc) but Dumbledora and Lady Tottington are still rather in their infancy! Each day is fasctinating!
    Nicky and Annalisa x

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  156. TheChickenChick10/13/13, 11:42 PM

    Congratulations!! So exciting, isn't it?!

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  157. None of my hens will eat calcium/oyster shells. They are ages 7 months to 2 yrs old. I have it in a separate bowl but they are not interested. The eggs are fine, once in awhile I get one that looks like a membrane with no shell but thats rare. Is there anything I can try?

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  158. TheChickenChick10/18/13, 10:14 PM

    If they don't feel they need more calcium than the amount that is already in their layer ration, they won't eat it and they don't need to. Don't worry about it.

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  159. Ok thank you and I appreciate the quick reply! You have been so very helpful.

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  160. Sicilian Buttercup eggs are white and, I think, Wyandotte eggs are brown, so that might tell you which one is laying. My first chickens were Sicilian Buttercups - love them!

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  161. still waiting for my first egg. only had the girls 3 weeks though so I know I need to be patient. Have an amberlink a bluebell and a warren. the warren is the youngest about 4 months the others two are about 6 months and bigger than the warren. I am so excited as I've wanted chickens for ages. The dog doesn't bother them I think he feels pushed out and doesn't go in the garden as much as he used to, and although the girls are wary of him they don't mind him in the garden.

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  162. I am so happy to have found you! We have free range hens...5. I have a few questions about one hen in particular. She seems out of sorts, almost constipated. She lays shell-less eggs and her droppings are consistent with a stringy egg white. She's always been a "solo wanderer," but I'm not sure how to help her. And..we live in Suffield:) Suggestions?

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  163. Thank you I need this information I have French black coppers and they where born in april and may and I have not seen any eggs as of yet, I was getting a little worried but this sure helped. any other information I should know?

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  164. It always amuses me when they do the egg squat. They look so surprised the first time, too. But not nearly as surprised as when they lay the first egg, I imagine!

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  165. The last of my 6 month old girlz has now started to lay (Blue Silkie). She however has not yet used the nesting boxes. She has used the poop board twice and in the run once. Should I just give nature the time needed or actually place her in one of the boxes. Note: all the others are using the proper facilities.

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  166. TheChickenChick11/7/13, 8:36 PM

    Give her some time.

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  167. Debbie Jaynes11/8/13, 1:13 PM

    Question about when will they lay? I purchased my chicks on June 1 when will they approximately start laying taking into account that it is now coming onto winter. So far nothing :0 I keep looking with anticipation each day.

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  168. Kathy, what breed is ghe speckled hen under the mating pics? she is beautiful

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  169. TheChickenChick11/8/13, 3:15 PM

    That's Kate, she's a Speckled Sussex, Jenn.

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  170. I have never seen one with so much white. Pretty girl

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  171. My chickens are only 15weeks old, I bought them at 4days old in August of 2013. One of the chickens laid an egg today, is this normal?

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  172. TheChickenChick11/12/13, 11:35 PM

    That's pretty early. Which breed are they? Any chance they have light on 24 hours/day?

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  173. My buff Orpington hasn't laid an egg yet. She is 8 months old. We have 3 other chickens that are the same age but they are Americaunas. They all laid eggs at 5 months. My question is, How long is normal to wait for her to lay and do some hens never lay? Thank you. I love your site! Lisa in Santa Cruz, Ca

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  174. TheChickenChick11/17/13, 6:57 PM

    They'll get there, Lisa. ;)

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  175. I was looking for aguide like this almost a month ago. Zero responses on a local chicken board. Saddened me. More braggers and I I I then helpful local folks raising chickens in the same climate. So blessed to have found you! Thank you!

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  176. crazychickenmama11/18/13, 10:43 AM

    Hi..just wanted to ask what breed laid the dark brown egg in the photo above???

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  177. Just saw the squat you are talking about this past Saturday! Heard some squeaking looked to find Frank our rooster on one of our Ameraucana Wheaten! She is amount 21 weeks old, got her and her sister in August. Looking for our first blue egg tomorrow on my birthday������

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  178. TheChickenChick11/18/13, 7:59 PM

    Thanks Arin. Nice to have you here!

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  179. TheChickenChick11/18/13, 7:59 PM

    That is from a Black Copper Marans hen.

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  180. TheChickenChick11/18/13, 8:00 PM

    That would be a fabulous gift!!

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  181. Dorothy Anna Gagnon11/20/13, 9:26 AM

    Hoping to have eggs soon!!! I love my chickens so much! I can stand outside the pin & go to talking and my hen will come right up to me. :) She knows who the pretty bird is..... Keeping my fingers crossed for eggs by Christmas or before. :)

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  182. Elizabeth Lea Barnes12/3/13, 3:22 PM

    okay so we got our first egg on Thanksgiving, now, 5 days later and still nothing is this normal or when can I expect another?

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  183. Melanie Gantzer12/14/13, 12:17 PM

    I know this May seem like a dumb question, but can you eat their first eggs? Or should you wait till they've laid a couple to try one?

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  184. TheChickenChick12/15/13, 2:18 AM

    Yes, you can eat their first eggs. :)

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  185. I purchased 2amerucano, 3barred rock, 1polish, and3orfington in April. Onyl one egg a day so far. One of the orfington lays egg every day but not the others. Its has been 9months, should I wait or sell them?

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  186. The silkie I recently purchased was labeled a "spring hatch Roo." Seems as though they were wrong. Started noticing this little silkie doing the squat, last week, when it was approached by my Roo. Not the least bit disappointed, as I already have one roo, i'm kinda secretly hoping for on of those o' so famous broody butt silkie hens. :) My question for you chicken chick is, "Will a rooster do the mating squat like a hen or, have I FINALLY got myself a Silkie hen. :))))))))))

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  187. TheChickenChick12/18/13, 12:42 PM

    Sounds like a pullet to me.

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  188. Just went out to meet my sisters four month old chickens, and there were four eggs in there! It's the dead of winter, but by looking at them I'd say three are laying or about to lay. No supplemental light. My seven month old Easter eggers are just starting, and they have supplemental light!

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  189. TheChickenChick1/5/14, 1:08 AM

    First year layers don't need supplemental light. ;)

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  190. Aly Bessey1/5/14, 4:56 PM

    Thanks!!! Mine are just about ready, I am starting to see and hear the signs!! I am very excited for it.

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  191. Ricky Jackson1/12/14, 11:49 PM

    So I put some chickens with my rooster about a month ago and one of the chickens layed an egg about three days ago and hasnt layed any more is that normal

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