I bought hens at a auction!

webbysmeme

Crowing
Feb 10, 2018
940
4,773
377
Outside of Pontiac Illinois
I bought three hens and a huge rooster at a town auction, they said they were 7 months old. I've had them three weeks now and they haven't laid any eggs. I think they are maybe too old to lay❓
They are not very active, and one of them has a shut eye! How can you tell how old they are? I was afraid of getting baby chicks. I really don't know why. I'm thinking now, I will order some babies. Can anyone suggest a good hatchery?
 

oldhenlikesdogs

I Want Ice Cream
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Jul 16, 2015
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Auction birds are often other people's culls. Many can carry some nasty diseases. I never buy adult birds anymore. You may want to wait on chicks until you make sure these aren't typhoid Marys, or at least keep them away for a while. I personally would get rid of them and start clean and stay clean. I only buy chicks or hatching eggs now.
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,615
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CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
Agree with OHLD. The fact that you have one with a shut eye does not bode well for them being healthy. I keep a closed flock, and will not bring any adult birds onto my property. I have a friend who's been trying to give his healthy flock to me since last fall. Even healthy birds with known history are not welcome here! IMO, the risk is too great.
 

webbysmeme

Crowing
Feb 10, 2018
940
4,773
377
Outside of Pontiac Illinois
Auction birds are often other people's culls. Many can carry some nasty diseases. I never buy adult birds anymore. You may want to wait on chicks until you make sure these aren't typhoid Marys, or at least keep them away for a while. I personally would get rid of them and start clean and stay clean. I only buy chicks or hatching eggs now.
Thank you. How would you go about getting rid of them?
 

CannedMonster

Free Ranging
Nov 26, 2017
2,282
4,829
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Southwest Idaho
I was nervous about getting chicks in the mail.
So I compromised and got some at the feed store. That way I could see that they were eating, drinking and behaving normally. And I could observe them and pick the ones I wanted (that looked the healthiest and were colors I liked).
It’s turned out good so far.
I had three (out of 8) with a little pasty butt and that was easily remedied with some q-tips and warm water.
I also would be very concerned about getting adult birds because of infectious disease.
 

PirateGirl

Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist
Mar 11, 2017
7,203
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632
South Park, Colorado, USA
Sometimes when birds move to a new home, even if they were previously actively laying, the stress of the move and the new environment can cause them to stop. My adult ducks didn't lay until I'd had them about 6 weeks. I too feared they were older than I was told (and they may be). The best you can do is give them a good routine with quality food and fresh water daily and a comfortable living conditions and hopefully once they settle in, they will lay for you.

If you have concerns about their health, post a new thread with as much information as you can provide including photos and the BYC community can certainly offer some suggestions and advice to help get the birds healthy again. A healthy bird is more likely to resume laying as well, but if their energy is being spent fighting infection or something, they may not be laying either. A shut eye can be something as minor as a pecking injury or some pine shavings in the eye, or something more serious like a sinus/respiratory infection. There are some very knowledgeable people on BYC and they can certainly help you attempt to identify and treat any problems in your flock.

Good luck!
 

oldhenlikesdogs

I Want Ice Cream
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Jul 16, 2015
45,832
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Wisconsin
Thank you. How would you go about getting rid of them?
I personally would either butcher or cull depending on their state, or try giving them away for someone else to do so.

Birds do get stressed being moved. Chickens can easily pick up all kinds of diseases going to an auction even if they went to it looking healthy. Too many devastated flock owners on this site that brought bad diseases home by buying adult birds.

I think you should probably choose to keep these birds and see how it turns out or cull them and get chicks. I would wait until summer if you are still wanting to keep these birds and get chicks so any diseases have a chance to run their course, and either the birds die or they get over anything they are carrying. Though they can be carrying stuff that could affect any future chicks. It just depends on what you want to do and are comfortable doing.
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,615
27,049
917
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
You certainly have nothing to lose by keeping them and seeing how they do. You've already bought them. However, I'd not try to add chicks to the existing birds this season. How big is your coop and run?(dimensions)? You may have issues by having a rooster and only 3 hens. Generally, having a rooster and just a few hens in a small set up can cause issues including overbreeding, injury to the hens, stress and agression from being crowded. IMO, adding a roo to a flock requires much more than the minimum recommended space of 4 s.f. in coop and 10 s.f. in run per bird.

Also, since you did bring a roo home, you will be having fertile eggs. If your birds ARE healthy, you can grow your own replacement chicks as long as you have enough room for them. (a multi age flock requires EVEN more room!)
 

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