We recently got our chickens I think 3 weeks. We got 6 eggs out of 4 chickens the first week then bam nothing. They aren't eating the pellets and one is constantly laying down or whatever the chicken term is lol again we are very new to this could use some advice. also my mom thinks we need to clean the pen since they are not free range because the dogs will eat them. how should we go about cleaning the poop off the ground? thanks in advance. :)
Welcome to BYC!
A little more information would help us to help you. What breed(s) are the birds and what age were you told they were when you got them? What size is the area of your birds' run and their coop (this will factor into the cleaning/maintenance and also can effect production)?
Stress, such as being moved to a new home, can cause a disruption in the production of eggs even in healthy birds. Because of the time involved in the making of an egg (around 25 hours give or take) when you pick up new birds and bring them home there is generally already an egg in process and it can take a day or two for the stress to really sink in and cause an issue so you often get a couple of eggs from the new birds and then see a full stop. As they acclimate to their new home and become comfortable again they start to lay.
You mention they don't seem to be consuming the pellets you are feeding - what pellets are you suing and did you ask the seller what the birds were accustomed to eating? Feed comes in various forms and if these birds are accustomed to a mash, crumbles, fermented feed, etc the pellets may be off-putting to them. Are they eating anything else - are you offering kitchen scraps, scratch grain, etc? Clearly they are eating *something* because at 3+ weeks in they'd have succumbed to starvation at this point if they were not eating anything. It may help you to go out at dusk and pick up a bird -- feel their crop (the area to the side of the breast bone) -- chickens like to fill their crop prior to going to roost at night so you should feel a good, full crop (their chest may even seem to bulge).......if you feel a full crop you'll know they are taking in feed. What sort of feeder are you using? Many times using a large, bulk feeder for a small flock can give the appearance that they aren't eating the feed because it can take some good time for them to put enough of a dent in the supply to make it noticeable.
When you say one bird is always laying down - is she inside the coop or out in the run? Is she laying in the position one would associate with a hen on a nest (feet under her) or on her side with her legs sprawled out? If you approach does she stand and move about - when she's moving is she moving normally or slowly/stumbly/etc?
As to cleaning - again, what is the area you are working with -- it may help if you post photos so we can see what you are dealing with and tailor our suggestions to that. Are you using a fixed housing unit or a mobile/tractor unit that gets moved around to new spots as needed? Are they on open ground underneath or a hard surface?