Barred Rock hens usually start laying eggs at the age of 17 to 22 weeks, approximately five months of age. You may be wondering are barred rock chickens good egg layers? We will explore egg formation from beginning to end.
Signs Your Barred Rock Hen Will Start Laying Soon
Enlarged Reddening Wattles and Combs
When young hens mature, the wattles and combs will become increasingly large. If it happens very early before the chicken turns eight weeks, it may be a sign that the bird is a young rooster. Young chickens, on the other hand, develop their wattles and combs very slowly.
When the hormones finally shift, and the hen gets ready to start laying, the face, wattles, and comb will turn brighter red in color from the usual light pink. The comb and wattles will also swell and eventually become large.
The Hen Will Start to Explore the Nesting Box Area
A few weeks before she can start laying, the hen will usually begin to show a lot of interest in the nesting section. If the hen is not ready to start laying eggs, you will find her testing out the nesting box by sitting inside. If it is a young barred rock hen laying for the first time, you can encourage her to lay eggs by placing false eggs in the nesting box. You should avoid hiding them in the yard or putting them on the floor of the coop.
Barred Rock hens will lay more if they see other eggs. You can use golf balls or specialty fake wood eggs.
The Hen May Get Louder
Like other breeds of chicken, Barred Rock hens will get louder when they are about to lay eggs. They will make the egg before and after laying eggs. This may prolong for more minutes after they have laid eggs or before they lay. You should therefore know that your hens are about to lay eggs when they get louder.
An Increase in Appetite
When young hens gear up to start laying, their bodies usually go through many changes both outside and inside. The egg-laying formation and laying process typically require a lot of energy. Your maturing chickens will start eating more feed than usual when they are about to start laying.
Unlike chicks and young pullets, laying Barred Rock hens will have a variety of nutritional needs. Young chickens are usually fed on grower and starter feeds with high proteins levels to support faster growth. On the other hand, layer feeds contain fewer proteins but are rich in calcium to help egg formation. You should, therefore, introduce layers feed gradually to your chickens when they have matured and are ready to start laying.
The Submissive Squat
Squatting behavior is one of the most trusted signs that a chicken is about to start laying eggs. If you reach your hand to pet a Barred Rock hen that is about to lay eggs, she may squat and even put the wings slightly out to the sides. This is mainly referred to as the Submissive Squat.
The biological meaning of squatting is that the hen is willing and ready to be mounted by a rooster so that her forthcoming eggs can be fertilized. It is important to note that not all hens will squat when they are about to legs. However, when they do, it is a good sign that she will be laying eggs soon.
How Many Eggs Can Barred Rock Hens Lay?
Barred Rock hens are generally good layers. They are among the best backyard breeds you can consider adding to your flock if you want a constant supply of fresh eggs.
A healthy and well-fed Barred Rock hen can lay about four eggs in a week. This translates to approximately 200 eggs in a year. If you have more Barred Rock hens in your flock, you can be sure of finding many eggs in their nest boxes. The breed is considered to be among the best layers.
Barred Rock Chicken Egg Appearance
Barred Rock hens lay light brown colored eggs. They may lay medium or large eggs. The hens lay beautiful eggs with a classic color, shape, and size that you will likely come across in any supermarket. Most chicken keepers prefer adding Barred Rocks chickens to their flock because of their extraordinary eggs.
For How Long Can Barred Rock Hens Lay Eggs?
Barred Rock hens follow a laying span like most traditional breeds of chicken that lay eggs on the higher end of the scale. They can hit their prime at the age of 2 years. After that, you are more likely to see a drop in the production of eggs with approximately 10% every year.
The chickens have a life span expectancy of about seven to eight years. If your Barred Rock hen starts to lay eggs at the age of five months, then you can expect approximately 800 eggs in her lifetime.
Barred Rocks Egg Formation Process
The egg formation process of Barred Rock hens is just the same as that of other chickens. The process begins with the formation of the egg yolk in the ovary of the hen. After reaching the right size, the yolk is then released to the oviduct. The rest of the egg is formed in the oviduct.
As the egg moves through the oviduct of the hen, the egg white or albumen is added. The layer may take approximately three hours to be formed.
The next layer that will be added in the oviduct after the addition of the egg white is the shell membrane. It usually takes about an hour for this process to be complete. The shell membrane is a thin layer found between the shell and the egg white. It appears like tissue paper. If you tried cracking an egg and it did not crack, then it is the shell membrane that was holding everything together.
Formation of the Shell
The shell is added when the egg gets to the uterus of the hen. The formation of the eggshell usually takes most of the time in the egg formation process of the hen. It is formed in layers and can take approximately 19 or 20 hours. The pigment is added during the process. All shells begin as white. However, the brown coloring of the Barred Rocks is added at this stage.
In the formation of an egg, the brown pigmentation is usually added last and is only found on the egg surface. The inside of the eggshell of a brown egg will be white if you crack it open.
The last layer that will be added in the egg formation process is the bloom. This is a protective layer covering the eggshell and is added just before the egg leaves the hen’s uterus and exits from its vent. The bloom maintains the moisture of the egg and protects it from bacteria. An egg with an intact bloom will stay fresh for a long time.
Feeding Laying Barred Rock Hens
A proper feeding program of your Barred Rock hens will ensure the maximum production of eggs. Once the hens get ready to start laying eggs (usually at the age of 18 weeks), you will have to switch to a layer feed for good production of eggs.
Your hens will require large amounts of calcium to help in the formation of the eggshell. Laying mashes contain about 3% to 4% of calcium. Barred Rock hens may only require about 1.3% calcium in their feed when laying eggs. You will have to avoid huge quantities of calcium from the growing Barred Rocks as it can damage the kidney.
You can also supplement their diet with ground oyster shells. Since Barred Rock hens are high producers of eggs, they will require the extra calcium produced by the oyster shells. It is important to monitor the eggshell quality to determine if you have to add a supplemental oyster shell to the diet of your hens. Oyster shell supplementation can help if your hens are laying thin-shelled eggs or cracked eggs.
For a prolonged egg production of your Barred Rock hens, you can provide layer diets with about 14% proteins.
In addition to nutritious and high-quality feeds, your Barred Rock hens will also need a consistent supply of clean water. Chickens usually drink water two times more than the amount of feed consumed. Lack of enough clean water can result in dehydrated and stressed hens.
Barred Rock chickens are among the best backyard breeds that you can include in your flock. They are docile, rigid, and are not prone to health issues. It is therefore easy to maintain them. They are a popular backyard breed because of their egg productivity.
Having a few Barred Rock hens in your flock will ensure a constant supply of eggs, and you can even start selling them. This is a worthy breed that you can include in your flock.