So I'm pretty pleased with myself-- I managed to incorporate a new hen into my established flock and it all went pretty smoothly I followed a lot of tips on here to make it work... I kept April quarantined for a month, gave her supplements in her water, moved her gradually within sight of the other birds, let all the hens free range together until finally (as of two days ago) they are conflict-free in the same coop and run. However, this new hen has not laid an egg yet, which puzzles me. I had read that the transition might mean a wait of anywhere between 3 days and 3 weeks, but now we're at a solid MONTH of no egg!!
April (the new hen) is the same age as my other hens (about a year old) and when we got her (April 2), she was spending the last few weeks of cold weather in a large barn. At her previous home, she was basically 'wintering' in the barn-- when she came to our house she spent a few days in our garage, then we put her in an A-frame tractor in the backyard. It was a lot of adjustment for her right off the bat-- where she came from, it was REALLY loud, she was mixed in among roosters and a lot of other loud squawkers. My garage (and eventually my backyard) must have felt like sensory deprivation in those first weeks!!
Anyway, so she spent several weeks in the backyard tractor, she acclimated to our other birds (5 hens) and now they are together in the much larger coop/run. Now that she's with the other hens, I don't have much way of knowing for sure if she's laying (all five hens are different breeds, the brown eggs look similar), but as of two days ago (right before we put her in there), she hadn't laid an egg for a MONTH. Since we got her she's also been dropping lots of feathers, I don't know if that is from stress or what. She doesn't look odd or scraggly, just dropping lots of big beautiful feathers. If she's molting, does that mean she would go weeks without laying?
Does it typically happen that a hen this age (about a year) could go so long without laying? I really thought this was sort of their prime laying age, it surprises me that she just shut down so long...
thanks in advance for any thoughts!