If my hens don't start laying, into the pot they'll go!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mlmaxson, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. mlmaxson

    mlmaxson Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 31, 2009
    Gurley
    Hey everyone! I'm new to BYC and am newer to chickens than I thought. I had them growing up, but it's been a few years, am finally out on my own, married, starting my little zoo, and am lost and confused not having good old mom around all the time to help me out.

    I have recently purchased 4 hens from a guy at a trade day. I was told they were about a year and a half old and had been laying. After posting pics on BYC, I think that they are gameing crosses (very pretty I may add!). My dilemma is that my husband did not want me to get more animals, as we already have dogs, cats, and rabbits, but I promised him these would be different. These girls would earn their keep! Two months later, they aren't. Since I bought them already grown, ready to lay, they are not only NOT earning their keep, but aren't even friendly so I can't use the excuse "but they really like us honey!" like I have most of the other animals.

    HELP ME HELP THEM TO START LAYING!!

    I have them in an 8x8 ft 'coop'. It's a 3 sided structure that has a wide swinging door in the front. I can swing the door open to give them access to an 8x8ft-ish open/grassy (right now it's mud because of all our rain) area for them. It's really simple though, made from old fencing that that we knocked down. It has 5 nesting boxes I made from plywood, which they do roost in, and a few places to perch, which they do hang out on. I can swing the door closed to close them in and protect them from the bad weather. I'm feeding them Layena and all my old scraps. This morning was butternut squash, bread, raisins, and they share my rabbit's greens (what-evers in season). They always have fresh clean water. What's up with them? I mentioned to my hubby that we need to install a light and that might help. But with any man who already thinks that his wife had a bad idea and he was appeasing her, simply throwing more money at it will only make it worse. So no light UNLESS THEY LAY EGGS! We also have a 40x50 foot side yard that I want to fence in and give them a nice area to free range in, but again, he'd only be willing to put out the money IF THEY LAY EGGS! These ladies don't know how good they'd have it IF THEY'D ONLY LAY EGGS [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I've looked everywhere hoping they were hiding the eggs. But I can't find anything but more poop. They squawk and squeal and make all those funny noises like my mom's RIR's do when they'd be laying. I'd sneak into the coop, peak under the girl in the roost, and only see her feet. Am I missing something? Did I get duped into buying the only hens in the world that won't lay eggs?[​IMG]
     
  2. chickenma

    chickenma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 8, 2008
    North Carolina
    Is it possible they eat the eggs? look for eggshells.
    If you can't find anything I would lock one up in a dog crate, big box and keep it there for 1 or 3 days. If your chickens are laying , you will find an egg. keep an close eye on the box and crate maybe she will surprise you with an egg.
    Other wise they are ready for stew. Your husband is wright if they don't lay an egg , they got to go . It's nice to take care of chickens but it's nicer to get some yummy eggs.
    good luck
     
  3. cybercat

    cybercat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 22, 2007
    Greeneville, Tn
    Chances are due to the breed mix and their age you will not see alot of eggs. Post pics so we can advise better. Most chickens due there best laying in the first year and then lay less after that. Game birds are not known for laying abilty. If you want layers look for Rocks, sex links, RiR or EEs. Read up on breeds in the breed section here. It sounds like you are doing everything right just wrong breeds and age.
     
  4. mlmaxson

    mlmaxson Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 31, 2009
    Gurley
    Here is a link to the previous post about the breed, it has some pictures.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=286524

    Do you think it's possible that they're just taking a long break for the winter? I don't want to give up on the yet, but I'm ready for at least 1 egg. I haven't seen any broken eggs or indications that something else is coming into the coop to collect them. I'll try penning one of them up. Do you think it would be okay to put 1 in a dog pen and leave the pen in the coop with the other chickens?
     
  5. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    Seattle
    They could be laying elsewhere, if they free range. I've had the experience of crawling on my stomach, WAY deep under blackberry thickets, and discovering a nest full of eggs!

    If not, they may need a little more protein or just a little more daylight to begin laying. Personally, I would give them until spring. If they STILL haven't begun laying in the spring, and they aren't molting, then figure out their fate.
     
  6. greenpeeps

    greenpeeps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 15, 2009
    Greenford, Ohio
    Maybe they were older then he said. Sadly that happens. You know spring is coming and the local feed stores will have chicks pretty cheap. Just saying.... Do some research first.

    I spent 15.00 on 6 sexlinks last Easter. We had tons of eggs untill the late molt. Once we started getting eggs hubby was very happy with the new residents. They started laying again two days ago.

    Good Luck
     
  7. RedfogsFlock

    RedfogsFlock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 17, 2010
    Wittmann, AZ
    seein as I'm pretty new to chickens too I may be missing something, BUT I didn't see where you are giving them any egg mash? My girls are still pretty young, but in the winter I do have to give em the mash.
    I don't know just a thought.[​IMG]
     
  8. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Is that Gurley, New South Wales . . . [​IMG]? The days are long in that part of the world in January but here in North America, depending on how far you are north - the birds can't be getting much sunlight.

    My coop light began life as a mechanic's drop light. It couldn't have been easier or much cheaper to bring light into the coop.

    An 8' by 8' pen isn't really too small for only 4 hens but don't expect any grass to grow there. Plants will not have a chance.

    As has been pointed out, a game bird's laying ability isn't usually of the greatest emphasis in a breeding program. At 1 1/2, their laying has slowed a bit also.

    You are feeding "Layena and all my old scraps." Those scraps may be diluting the nutrients in the diet needed to make eggs. It takes a fairly high protein diet and much of what we throw away is high in carbohydrates and not protein. Unless we can pay close attention to what the birds are getting, it is probably best to think of kitchen scraps as just treats - if we want good egg production.

    Your nesting boxes are where the hens are roosting? That isn't the purpose for a nest and the boxes will just become a pile of poop where you won't want to find any eggs anyway. You should be moving the hens out of the nest boxes and onto a roost. It is probably best to block the boxes during the late afternoon and open them again in the morning.

    After that, you can threaten them with the frying pan . . .

    Steve
     
  9. chickluver:D

    chickluver:D Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 20, 2010
    maryland
    maybe there roos or unlayeggosouruseatious extinct chickens [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    ________________
    1 netherland dwarf bunny.1 cat.1parrot.1injurned northern flying squirrel.8 hens.and eggs in my hova bator!!!
     
  10. FortWorthChicks

    FortWorthChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 21, 2009
    Fort Worth
    I gave my girls a light on a timer and some treats, leftovers and they started right up. Most days 4 eggs with only 5 hens [​IMG]

    best of luck. I do wonder about the true age of the hens.
     

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