Rather to our surprise, a couple of the allotment hens have started laying.
They were exactly 21 weeks old on the day we got the first egg. I was expecting to wait until 24 weeks, so this was much earlier than we’d planned for. The first eggs are quite small of course, but they’ll get bigger as the birds mature further.
We’d been providing grit for them for several weeks now, which explains the good quality of the shells, but we hadn’t started weaning them on to layers pellets. We’ve hastily started adding around a third of layers pellets to their growers feed.
Of our 5 hens, 2 are from a batch of eggs that we think are Ixworths crossed with some sort of meat bird. The other 3 look far more like the genuine article. Given that the eggs are quite brown, whereas Ixworth eggs should be pale cream coloured, it looks as though it’s the two crosses that have come into lay early.