There are various ideas on when chickens start to lay, commercial layers I think begin at 12 weeks however I think that specific breed bantams may take a little longer. Although the three Sussex were theoretically the same age Cybil the silver was by far the oldest and within a couple of weeks was already stopping and lowering her wings if your hand got anywhere near her - a sure sign of readiness to lay. Add to that perfect adult plumage, well developed wattles and lots of confidence she soon took over as head of the flock. By contrast Margot the light Sussex was still acquire her adolescent plumage and still a very young lady.
Checking the nestbox was a daily but overly optimistic activity however when I was away in Antwerp at a conference I got a text "We have an egg!!!!!!". So Friday 19th we were the happy owners of at least one laying hen.
Needless to say, being a bantam, it was a small egg but being of a pinkish hue we surmised that it was Harriet the silkie that had produced, well done Harriet.
Sunday 21st saw the second egg (at this rate we will be a major force in the semi organic egg market)
So on to today and Monday 22nd............
Off today so the girls were again at liberty. I was gardening for most of the time and Cybil was (1) completely in my space and wouldn't leave me alone. Re-potting plants generally meant removing her from the pot before putting the plant in, raking up meant removing the hen from in front of the rake.
(2) breaking into the house. She scaled a 4ft fence to get into the kitchen where she was removed several times. When she disappeared again I found here scrabbling about in the bottom of the airing cupboard! So that was it, doors closed.
(3) what a noisy chicken however her clucking changed and all of a sudden I realised that she was wanted it lay.
Absolutely NO interest in laying in the nest boxes in the run she had obviously been hunting a nest site. I opened the shed door and opened the door to one of the carrying boxes, Cybil was straight in! I threw in a couple of handfuls of barley straw and she was instantly nestbuilding and within 10 minutes an egg.
Herein lies the mystery. The egg is very similar to the first two (that we had thought that Harriet had laid). Of course its not impossible for hens to lay an egg a day but this fast? and also if she had been the producer of the first two eggs, why didn't she lay in the same place and make such a fuss of finding somewhere different to lay her egg?
I'm off tomorrow so lets see if there is an egg and where its laid (and if I can, see who produced it!)
Of course after the triumphant arrival of the egg Cybil decided on a celebration, its called shoulder hopping and ear pecking.