I am brand new here, and new to chicken raising, having only just acquired 3 beautiful bantam partridge wyandottes last month. I am located in Perth, Australia, and I have already got questions that I'm hoping I can get some help with here. I bought my chooks from a breeder and given the age he gave me, I'm guessing they hatched early December 2016, making them approx 24 weeks now. They were raised on crumble (the breeder had hundreds of birds so I'm guessing too many for scraps, and I'm fairly certain they had always been cooped). They aren't laying yet, but their combs have turned from light pink to a darkish pink and appear to be getting larger. I've managed to tame them somewhat with mealworms, and they are now free ranging.
Question 1: from what I've read, wyandottes start laying around 6 months old (give or take a few weeks) however we're coming into winter here. Will that affect when they start laying? Do bantams lay earlier/later than regular sized hens?
Question 2: my chooks won't eat scraps!! Does anyone have any suggestions? I figure they don't recognize fresh foods as food, I've tried greens, corn, watermelon, porridge, etc and they just aren't interested at all. I've tried scattering a little crumble/seeds over the fresh food but they just go around it. I've withheld the seed for a day or so but I'm worried they will starve. My next step would be 'borrowing' a friends chickens to teach them how to eat scraps but I'd love some suggestions!
Question 3: at 24 weeks, they still aren't perching. Is this normal at this age? They all just huddle in the nest box. The coop we have is a standard store bought one but I have a feeling the perches aren't high enough. We've tried poking them onto the perches but they are still a bit timid and usually just jump off again pretty quick.
So, I feel like we have defective chickens! No eggs, won't eat scraps, just so far costing us lots of money (meal worms aren't cheap!) Would love any advice.
The attached picture is from the day we bought them home, about 4.5 months old.