I've fallen out of chicken love

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by NotSoChickenLove, Jun 1, 2017.

  1. NotSoChickenLove

    NotSoChickenLove Chillin' With My Peeps

    107
    65
    76
    Jun 1, 2017
    NZ
    This is my first foray into chicken keeping. I have two brown shavers that arrived covered with lice at 22 weeks old. Nearly 3 months later and these guys have never laid an egg in their lives, nor do they show any sign of it. They're happy and healthy (and lice free), and they will now eat a few things other than laying pellets. They didn't know what veges were when they arrived. Had a chicken person come and look at them today, she showed me how to measure between their pin bones. They both at just on one finger. She reckons they're 22 weeks NOW and the breeder lied about their age. Anyway, I've had months of worrying about chickens, trying to create things chickens might like, trying out new veges etc on chickens and generally being all excited about chickens. Now I'm just disappointed and tired and not very into these chickens. I don't really know what to do. Suggestions? Are they likely to lay normally or will they end up having issues because they've been on laying pellets from far too early?
     
    biophiliac and MamaChick74 like this.
  2. Mace Gill

    Mace Gill Chillin' With My Peeps

    591
    776
    186
    May 26, 2017
    New Jersey
    If your friend is correct and they are 22 weeks old NOW, they can start laying at any time. The breed can start laying anywhere from 18 to 28 weeks, and if there growing conditions have been ... well ... less than ideal, they may start a little late. If their shape is 'off' it doesn't mean that they won't lay, just might mean they won't lay as often.

    If I may ask, what was it that made you want to get chickens?
     
  3. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

    8,598
    974
    361
    Jul 28, 2008
    MA
    Where did you get them? Do they look any different (size wise, comb color, etc), or sound different than when you got them? If someone thinks they are 22 weeks old now, then they would have been only 10 weeks old when you got them. They would have looked smaller, had small pale combs and would have still been peeping.

    I'm wondering if they were much older rather than younger when you got them. Can you post a picture?
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017
  4. MamaChick74

    MamaChick74 Chillin' With My Peeps

    113
    58
    96
    May 27, 2017
    New Hampshire USA
    You rescued them...that in my book is a wonderful thing you did! They are now happy and healthy. You deserve a pat on the back for making that happen.
    It they are 22 weeks now then they should be laying real soon. Put out some oyster shell in a dish so they have it when the need it for the calcium for the egg shells. Try some watermelon rinds, corn on the cob, strawberry tops....basically any scraps. There is a thread on chicken treats somewhere here on BYC. Good luck and keep us posted if and when they lay! I hope when they do it will bring back some of your excitement.
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

    18,953
    6,411
    526
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    Photo of your birds would be helpful. Close up of combs, faces, and legs helpful. What breed are they? Where did you get them? I'm wondering if someone sold you some spent layers. In which case, their laying days may be over. If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, something just is not ringing true here. Even older birds should be cranking out eggs this time of the year.
     
    biophiliac and drumstick diva like this.
  6. NotSoChickenLove

    NotSoChickenLove Chillin' With My Peeps

    107
    65
    76
    Jun 1, 2017
    NZ
    Thanks everyone. I'm sure they were younger. When I got them they were a bit gawky looking, with very pale little stripes of combs and funny little bodies on giant long legs. Now they're double the size, with bright red actual combs and wattles. They look like compact, fat hens now, with lots of glossy feathers. Obviously, I had no idea what I was really looking for and trusted the breeder. They don't make a great deal of noise, except for chuckling at each other if there's some nice food, or outraged bawks if they get handled or shooed out of the vege garden. They didn't make much noise when I got them either.

    I'm in NZ and I got them from a place called Chook Manor. NOW I've heard all sorts of things about them!

    I got chickens for free range eggs, essentially. There have been lots of scandals here about free range eggs that turned out not to be, and I'm just not interested in supporting the battery industry in any way. If I free range them myself, I know exactly what kind of life they have. Later down the track when I know a bit more about chickens, the plan is to free range a few meat birds as well. I'm not remotely squeamish about butchering livestock, as long as I know they had a good life and I'm doing it quickly and humanely.
     
    biophiliac, Mace Gill and MamaChick74 like this.
  7. NotSoChickenLove

    NotSoChickenLove Chillin' With My Peeps

    107
    65
    76
    Jun 1, 2017
    NZ
    This was the first treat I gave them, since it was in season when I got them. They had ZERO idea what to do with it and just left the cob pieces untouched. I had to cut the corn kernels off the cob and mix a few at a time in with their laying pellets. After a few weeks they knew exactly what kernels were, and a few weeks after that managed to identify a cob. Now it's a special treat on a string if I'm going to be out all day. Their other special treat is dried mealworms. They'll come running from across the section if I crouch down with my hand out!

    Their main diet is laying pellets that have 18% ruminant protein. I was told that was the thing. It has calcium as well, but they do have oyster grit if they want it.
     
    biophiliac, MamaChick74 and Mace Gill like this.
  8. Mace Gill

    Mace Gill Chillin' With My Peeps

    591
    776
    186
    May 26, 2017
    New Jersey
    I'd recommend a dual purpose breed if you casually raising for your own needs. Saves a lot of trouble keeping one flock together, I'd think. I don't know the size of the NZ Red Shaver, but if you don't think they're big enough to eat, try Black Australorps ... they are fantastic layers, and decent for meat.
     
    biophiliac likes this.
  9. Mace Gill

    Mace Gill Chillin' With My Peeps

    591
    776
    186
    May 26, 2017
    New Jersey
    out of mealworms.jpg
    They need oyster shells, but that is not the same as grit. Since your birds forage, they are probably picking up enough grit along the way.

    My girls LOVE their mealworms!
     
  10. NotSoChickenLove

    NotSoChickenLove Chillin' With My Peeps

    107
    65
    76
    Jun 1, 2017
    NZ
    They're a commercial egg hybrid, I think, so a compact breed? Big or not, they'll be tough as old boots even as youngsters. They'd be soup chickens. I think the most popular meat ones are Cobb or something like that here??

    Do chickens prefer being in flocks with their own breeds? I thought they were happy enough interacting with any other chicken, but I obviously know diddly squat about chickens! Are chickens racist?!
     
    Junochick, PennyM and biophiliac like this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by