Freeloading chickens

TwinChickens

Chirping
Feb 10, 2018
31
54
79
Western Australia
We got three new bundles of joy, two red sex links and an australorp, at 16 weeks old, and despite some health complications in the beginning, we expected eggs fairly soon after getting them. Fast forward to now, 18 weeks later, we still have no eggs. The weather has been warm but not boiling, they live with two older chooks who don't lay anymore, they look fully grown and have access to our entire garden and all the bugs and weeds they can eat, along with layer crumble and kitchen vegetable scraps, plus they've all had vet check ups and are a good weight so they are perfectly healthy enough to lay eggs, but they just aren't. Is there anything that would stop them from laying, or am I just being a paranoid mother?
 

Dayrel

Songster
Mar 18, 2017
757
1,753
206
Indiana
They are old enough to be laying. They have access to your entire garden? Are you free-ranging them?

If so, they quite possibly have found a nice corner to lay eggs in instead of your nest boxes. You can either watch them during the day to see if they disappear somewhere or lock them up for the day and see if any eggs appear.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
71,430
73,212
1,557
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
What were the "health complications"?

You are in decreasing daylight, ~4wks to solstice,
so that could definitely have an affect.

Layer feed might be too low of nutrition, with the additions of scraps and foraging.

...and this:
If so, they quite possibly have found a nice corner to lay eggs in instead of your nest boxes. You can either watch them during the day to see if they disappear somewhere or lock them up for the day and see if any eggs appear.
Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop for a week or so can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop and maybe run 24/7 for a few days to a week, provided you have adequate space and ventilation, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.

Before locking them up, you can do an exam that will tell you..
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/who-is-laying-and-who-is-not-butt-check.73309/
 
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