Chickens not laying


In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 29, 2013
We bought some supposedly 1yr old hens from a local source, 3 weeks ago. They are nice hens, gentle and seem to be quite happy and adjusted to their new coup environment. But they still not layed any eggs. It is warm and sunny here for the last 3 days, they have enjoyed sun bathing and dust bathing and scratching around for all the emerging bugs. They are out of the coup just after dawn and spend most of the day in the yard. My DH thinks we were duped and they are not young but older hens, but I don't really know how to tell. They are fluffy and fine and healthy looking. So when will we have eggs?
When you say "in the yard," what kind of yard are we talking? A chicken yard, or a family back yard with lots of nice places to hide a nest?

I would lock them in the hen house for several days to make absolutely sure they're not laying. If they're outside all day, they may be hiding their eggs.

My DH is convinced that they are old. Here is the best picture I could get of the two of them, what do you all think?
Can you get a close up of their legs and feet that would show the texture? And a close up of the head? Those are the places you look for age.
The hen on the bottom isn't laying. See how pale and shriveled her comb is? Also, whomever clipped their beaks did an awful job. They didn't leave enough for the hens to eat with, poor things. You might want to make sure they get crumble from a feeder they can scoop feed out of. I also have hens that have clipped beaks, but they have much longer beaks and can even free range.

Based on the legs, they are older hens, at least a year old. They are red sex links, which should lay very well for two years and then less well for the third year--but will still lay some eggs in the third year. They don't just quit.

Usually when you see those bright yellow legs, that also means that they're not laying or are at the very beginning of a laying cycle after a long moult. The yellow color leaches out over the laying cycle.

Based on the photo alone, I'd say the darker hen with the redder comb and yellower legs may start laying soon. Don't know about the other, and don't know why they're not, sorry.
When I checked on them this afternoon I discovered allot of feathers, that look like the one with the lighter feet. Could be they are starting a moult I guess. But I thought they were supposed to lay before they moulted? They are supposed to be 1yr old hens.
Chickens often skip a moult their first fall and then have a harder moult the following spring. If you're seeing feathers, I'd bet that's what it is.

When you move birds and they are stressed, they can take a long time to get over it. Feed them some higher protein feed to help with the moult and hopefully they'll come out of it sooner. A little flock raiser mixed into their feed or some cat food fed as treats or your meaty table scraps would do it.

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