Purchasing started pullets from Meyer Hatchery is a great way to “jump-start” your flock’s egg production. There are several considerations when getting started pullets settled into their new homes to begin laying eggs. This is not a comprehensive list, but rather a starting point for reference.
It is important to note that started pullets are between 16 to 20 weeks of age, and maturity can vary from bird to bird and breed to breed. Additionally, any changes can disrupt the laying cycle for 3+ weeks. Due to conditions beyond our control; such as feed, environment, or lighting, we are unable to guarantee the production rate and/or start of production of these birds.
- Moving into a new coop is stressful. That move is made even more stressful if you are integrating your new pullets into an existing flock. Make sure the pullets are not being bullied by resident chickens and can access feed and water freely. Allow the birds to settle in with minimal outside distractions.
- The time of year the pullets arrive may affect their onset of lay. While the days are still growing shorter in the fall and winter, most chickens will not have a sufficiently long photoperiod to stimulate the onset of their laying cycle. Read more about how day length affects laying over on the Meyer Hatchery blog.
- Are predators or other wild animals scaring them? Even if you are not actively losing any chickens to predators, lurking rats, opossums, hawks, and other intruders could cause enough stress to your flock to cause them to delay the onset of laying or stop altogether if they’ve started.
- Feed an age-appropriate high-quality layer feed. Started pullets are between 16-20 weeks of age at the time of arrival to you, so they are ready to eat layer feed instead of chick feed. Make sure your feed is high-quality. Unfortunately, cheap poultry feed is made with sub-par ingredients (especially for the protein source) that could cause your hens to slow down egg production or stop laying eggs.
- Check for internal and/or external parasites. Started pullets purchased from Meyer Hatchery are fully vaccinated and de-wormed before your purchase. However, poultry parasites can be difficult to detect and eradicate in a coop and run where wild birds have access or poultry have been housed before your pullets’ arrival. Be vigilant about regular health checks and treat for parasites if needed.
- Disease pathogens could temporarily or permanently affect their laying ability. As mentioned above, your started pullets have been fully vaccinated to prevent common poultry illnesses. But no vaccine is a 100% guarantee that your flock will never get sick with one of the many illnesses that can afflict them. Good biosecurity is important to protect them.
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