How to care for your point of lay chickens September 19 2015
This is a very new experience for your chickens – the first time they have travelled, the first time that they have arrived in a new home. They need to settle, relax and appreciate their new environment. Keep the chickens in the coop for two to three days so that they realise that this is their new home, with food, water and nesting boxes. Make sure that dogs are kept away from them as the sound of barking is something that perhaps they have not experienced before, even if it is the other side of their coop.
Your chickens will be about 22-24 weeks old and will be described as point of lay but that term is not specific. It does not mean that your chickens will be laying straight away. The actual point at which your chicken will lay depends on the breed, time of year and even how they were reared. The first eggs will be quite small and are known as pullet eggs. When your chicken lays her first egg, she will make such an excited cackling sound that you, if in earshot, will be alerted. She will be very pleased with her achievement – and you will be too, no doubt! A pure bred chicken will start laying later than the hybrid variety – perhaps at 30 weeks.
You should feed your hens on layers pellets – make sure that there is food in feeders and water in the hen house for them to eat when they are shut in at night time. Poultry grit will also need to be supplied. Scatter some pellets on the ground outside in the run, so that the birds can forage for food. Also, corn scattered in the afternoon is a great treat for them, however do not give them too much corn as that will affect egg production. They will soon learn to come running for this and it will provide endless amusement for yourself and family. With access to soil, the hens will make a dust bath which will help them keep fresh and reduce chances of them carrying lice and mites.
Finally, when your point of lay chicken does begin laying, collect the eggs regularly. Imitation eggs can be placed in the nesting boxes to encourage your chicken to lay her eggs in the correct place.
Your “girls” will reward the love and attention that you show them as chickens can be a source not just of eggs but also fun, education and entertainment for all the family!