Help! Six month old pullets NOT laying!


Jan 30, 2013
I have five pullets (SLW, RSL, leghorn, blue cochin, and salmon faverolle), all hatched mid February, and none of them are laying. Really breaking my head trying to figure it out. They have a small coop - about 8'x5' open air coop with two roosts and two milk crates converted to nest boxes. They don't even go into their nest boxes except to kick all the bedding out of it. They don't do anything but dig holes in the coop and lay in them. Any ideas on what I can do to make them lay?
When you say that they don't to "anything" but lay about in holes they've dug, do you mean that literally-- that they're not running about, scratching everywhere, eating and drinking well, making noise, eating bugs? If so, it sounds like they may be sick; I'd post in the "chicken illness" part of the forum for advice there.

If they are healthy (running, scratching, eating, drinking, etc)-- let's see... 40 sq ft for 5 birds is on the small side, but not so small that it should stress them to the point of not laying. Five different breeds means that it's not just a late-developing breed or bad gene pool or something. By six months, you'd have noticed if they were all roosters, I think... So let's ask the big question: what are you feeding them? To get eggs, you'll need to be giving them plenty of feed that is specifically labeled "for layers" that will have the right ratio of nutrients (especially protein) for egg-laying. If you've been feeding them layer feed, try waiting a few more weeks (b/c six months is not THAT late) then switching brands-- poke around here, there's tons of recommendations.

Good luck!
Thanks for the info! I'm being a little dramatic in saying they don't do anything. They're very healthy girls. I've had them since they were hatched along with 15 others that have given away. They used to have full run of the yard, but that got way too messy so I reduced my flock size a while ago and permanently put them in the coop they used for sleeping. They fit just fine and get plenty of grass/veggies with their layer feed. I even put plywood over and behind the milk crates to make it dark and still nothing. I was going to add a run - about another 30 sq ft, but now I'm second guessing even keeping them. I really only want them for fresh eggs. I'm going to give them a couple more weeks and see what happens.
6 months is a good average but it not a rule for all birds. Anywhere from 4-8 months is still in the perfectly normal range for most breeds. Are they hatchery birds or from a breeder? Birds from a breeder on average start a little later (and thus lay a little longer). I read on here about peoples hatchery birds starting at 4-6 months but my backyard breeder hens are more in then 6-8 month range and the one show quality bird I bought was even later than that.

How long ago did you reduce your flock and change their daily routine? Chickens are very affected by change, even small things that might seem silly to people. It is possible that this change caused some stress which in theory could temporarily affect laying. There is no way to know for sure and I would not worry too much about it. Just a possible factor of why they might be on the later side.

Look at their combs and waddles. Before they start laying they get noticeably redder and fuller. Are any of them squatting yet? These are all physical signs that they will lay soon. You might also start to see them checking out the nest boxes.

How long have you had them on layer feed? I think it is always good to note that layer feed is for laying birds it does not help bird start laying.

Good luck!
Got my first egg on Sunday from my leghorn! Been getting one egg everyday from her. Now it's time for the others to contribute as well...

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