33 weeks old and no eggs yet?


10 Years
Nov 14, 2009
Kingman Arizona
I have an assortment of bantams I got earlier this year, they are 33 weeks old exactly today. And I have not gotten any eggs--there was one a few weeks ago that MIGHT have come from one of them, or it might have been from one of the older Buff Orphingtons I have that have stopped laying and are awaiting freezer camp. (5 years old)

I feed them a mix of whole grains and some Flock Raiser, I have to be pretty sparing with the bagged feed because it is extremely expensive here. They get a minimum of 2 hours of semi-supervised free-range time every day. I give them food scraps and weeds/vegetables/leaves/worms/bugs from the garden also, probably a gallon or two a day split between 30 or so birds. They all come in at night with big bulging crops, so I think they are eating well enough. They also have free access to brewery spent grain, which is about 25% protein, as a protein supplement, and I give them a few handfuls of dry cat food as well, as a treat to make them come into their pen when it is time.

I am very sure they are not hiding their eggs. I am checking them every 30 minutes while they are out, and I check all their favorite places to hang out. Also, since I don't let them out on the same schedule every day, you would think one would lay an egg in the coop/pen at least sometimes. I thought maybe a predator was coming in and eating all the eggs, so I baited the nest boxes with some storebought eggs. In two weeks of leaving them there, only two disappeared out of a dozen, so not too bad.

Some of the girls have very bright red faces. None do the "squat" but they also don't let me get my hand near them because they don't want me to catch them. I don't notice that my rooster the same age is interested in mating them anymore either, but he used to, during the summer. He stopped crowing for a while too, but started again about a month ago.

Anyone have any ideas what is going on?
Well they are probably old enough to start Layer feed and I'm sure that would help the process along. Also...I have some lilac bushes around my yard, I was wondering why I wasn't getting any eggs....finally discovered a mother load in the trees!..You might have to go on easter egg hunt:) Good luck...
Can you pen them up for a few days, away from the older girls? Have you seen any squatting, egg song? Are their combs and wattles bright red??
You say you give them flockraiser sparingly because it's expensive. This leads me to think they are not getting enough food and/or protein. If they aren't eating enough, they won't lay because their body is in survival mode. You can mix the flockraiser with layer feed, or just give layer feed to make it less expensive for you.
Layer feed and Flock Raiser are the same price, about $20 per bag. Sometimes I go to the feed store and they don't have anything at all but scratch or horse feed, chicken food is a "seasonal item" to them, they order it when they are selling chicks in the spring, and don't really keep ordering it after mid summer, other than scratch. They can't really sell expensive feeds like that in an area with 15% unemployment and a pretty poor and uneducated population anyway. Most people feed cracked corn only, and their birds seem to lay ok.

I can't really pen them up all the time, as I rely on being able to free range them part time for food, otherwise I could not afford to keep them. But it's not a hobby or a pet for me, it's a food source, we need to have the livestock to feed ourselves as we don't really shop at the grocery store if we can avoid it. People raised chickens successfully long before there was bagged convenient chicken feed. I have raised chickens in the past on nothing but free range and scratch feed, and I had eggs coming out my ears. Maybe chickens have changed that much since I had my last flock, 15 years ago or so...? I give them a pretty good sized meal of bagged feed every evening, and a few handfuls of dry cat food most days too; all of them go to bed with bulging crops. They all look healthy, they are shiny and nicely feathered--I just won a big handful of ribbons with my birds at the county fair. They aren't skinny either. I haven't gotten any brewery grain for them in about a month now, the brewery slows down its production in fall and winter, so I am giving them the cat food to substitute as a protein source. When the mash is available, I allow them to eat as much as they like. (It's 20% protein or so) They also eat the crumbly leafy stuff that falls out of my alfalfa hay bales and builds up on the ground, they love that (25% protein, I had the hay tested) and stuff themselves with it. It is easy to check for where they could be laying eggs, there is not much greenery out here in the desert for them to hide in, just a few big shrubs, and I check under those multiple times a day.

I see no squatting, but they are all a little skittish about my hand coming towards them, since they anticipate being caught when that happens. They run away. The rooster (Old English Game) was mating with the older hens during the summer, as well as the young ones--he is the same age as they are, but now he is not mating anyone. I'd say over half the pullets have bright red faces. No egg songs, no interest in the laying boxes other than a few who sleep in them because they can't get up on the roosts with the other birds (frizzles, they can't fly).

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