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Eggs in Winter (General Discussion)

by Lisa Nelson, Monday, January 16, 2017, 15:17 (371 days ago)

Hello Everyone,
Things here are going well with the Guineas I got last summer. I have 15, 1 from a batch of 24 eggs purchased, and 14 of 15 keets that I purchased. They seem cozy in their pen.

My question today is, out of the research I've done about Guineas, I've learned that they lay in the Mayish time zone of the year. I have someone(s) laying eggs here in January. I've gotten 9 eggs so far, 5 were frozen and cracked. I've got 5 in the incubator. Does anyone else have any experience with this?

Thank you in advance!!

First-time layers sometimes start in the middle of winter

by Barbara, Tuesday, January 17, 2017, 00:19 (371 days ago) @ Lisa Nelson

They may continue to lay for several months, or they may lay briefly and then start up again later in the spring. Most of the time this seems to be a one-time thing, and they will start to lay in the spring (anytime from March-May) when the next year rolls around.

Do you keep their pen/coop well lit, or does their diet consist of a very high protein feed? If so, those factors could have something to do with their early laying.

First-time layers sometimes start in the middle of winter

by Lisa Nelson, Tuesday, January 17, 2017, 13:31 (370 days ago) @ Barbara

Thank you Barbara for the info!

I have a heat lamp in there only, and all I can get is either turkey feed or something that's under 15% protein. I thought I had to have something over 18% protein for them.

I don't mind they are laying lol, just wondered why they were being different and how to handle the eggs I find that aren't frozen and cracked.

It's really not that uncommon

by Barbara, Tuesday, January 17, 2017, 22:06 (370 days ago) @ Lisa Nelson

First-time layers seem to lay a little earlier than they do in subsequent laying seasons. The hens will start when their reproductive sysems are mature, and that can vary quite a bit depending on environmental conditions, diet, lighting, temperature, etc. Occasionally, a hen may even start to lay in the fall of the year she is hatched.

You might want to consider that early layers may not be producing fertile eggs. Just because the hens are laying doesn't mean that the males are ready to breed. It might be best to take the eggs for eating during the winter. Besides the possibility that they aren't viable, it is more difficult to care for any keets that are hatched during the colder months.

It's really not that uncommon

by Lisa Nelson, Tuesday, January 17, 2017, 22:52 (370 days ago) @ Barbara

Thank you sooo much Barbara!!! It's nice to get info from experience, especially since I can't find info on the net lol.

Don't forget the Calcium!

by BennieAndTheJets, Wednesday, January 18, 2017, 03:30 (370 days ago) @ Lisa Nelson

Crushed oyster shell is very important for the hens when they start laying

I almost lost one hen my first year because I did not know to give that to them when they started laying

they will deplete the calcium in their bodies and can die from that if they don't have a chance to eat some

offer it free choice and make sure all hens can get to it, if they want some

in my experience, first time laying hens will start to lay when they are 6 months old, then, as Barbara said, they may realize, oh, it's winter, and stop again until spring, and then only lay in the summer, as they are supposed to do ;-)

Good luck with your little charges! :-D

Don't forget the Calcium!

by Lisa Nelson, Wednesday, January 18, 2017, 12:26 (369 days ago) @ BennieAndTheJets

Thank you soooo much, I did forget it!

Don't forget the Calcium!

by Heritage Hens @, Tuesday, February 14, 2017, 17:31 (342 days ago) @ Lisa Nelson

Lisa, what area are you from?
Here in Vermont, my G's follow about the same laying, setting, and hatching schedule as do our wild turkeys. We often forget this is a wild species.

As Barbara said, as the hens get older and wiser, they know when it is safe to begin making that big nest bowl and start depositing a huge clutch and will then determine when its safe to set and hatch.

To me it is so exasperating to have to wait so long to have the fertile eggs and have enough to incubate or put under a willing chicken hen! Last year my first keets did not hatch until May 23rd. A very long wait indeed. Whereas my Orpingtons always jump the gun and want to start setting when old man winter is still blasting the barn.

Heritage Hens Homestead

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