Originally Posted by Colette
Hello peeps! Hope everyone's turkey day was awesome. I need some help please.
One of my grandson's was given 3 hens from his grandfather. (They live in St. Pete Florida.) The 3 girls were with other hens, quail, phesants and ducks. When my grandson brought them to my house, I put the 3 in a quarrentine pen and will keep them there for another week or so. These 3 new girls are around 7 months old and have never laid any eggs. I am thinking they didn't have the right food and maybe their living conditions weren't all that clean. Am I on the right track? How can I tell the approximate age of these girls? They are a mixture of who knows what but one of them, the largest of the 3, is a smoke/silver color. Any idea what she might be? All their combs and waddles are small. I will try and get some pictures and post them.
Also, is it really necessary to build a private hen house for my girls? They seem to do just fine as they are. I am also concerned with the cold. I know Florida isn't snowville, but I am concerned for my girls.
Thanks for any help.
Hi there and welcome, and congrats on the new mini flock!
Nobody's chickens are laying this year. There are a few thousand chicks that came from hatcheries this past spring that should have started laying in the last 2-3 months and haven't even started showing signs yet. Just yesterday, my barred rock (almost 8 months old) finally squatted, and she was at laying age almost 3 months ago. She musta heard me talkin' about whether or not she'd be better as chile verde or as a stew with dumplings. LOL! My welsummer and RIR are still not showing any signs, no squatting, though the RIR did finally start to develop wattles this past week--they are all of a few millimeters now! LOL!
As far as the Florida cold, just make sure they have a draft-free roost area to sleep. Mine sleep in an open-air outdoor pen in northern California with enclosed roost areas for them. I used to live in Louisiana, so I know those harsh southern winters can be bitterly cold because the humidity in the air freezes & bites right through you (you don't have to have snow for it to be cold enough to make you miserable LOL).
Don't be too alarmed they're not laying. It's not just you. It's everybody who got pullets (young hens) that were hatched this past spring. Some people's chickens have started laying, but an inordinate number (more than usual) have not and are slow to mature & it seems to be nation-wide. I, too, wondered if I had been feeding them wrong or something, but they've been here over six months and getting all the right food & still nothing. Same with another friend of mine who bought hatchery chicks that hatched in March--her girls have at least had combs, wattles, and showing signs of egg-laying maturity for several months now, but just no squatting and no eggs. Buncha freeloadin' chickens. LOL.
I know some people swear by hatcheries, but so many of them are producing birds that lay late if they lay at all. I'll only buy from BYCers in the future, seriously.