Not laying eggs


In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 27, 2014
Merrill, WI
I just got two chickens from a friend: a Black Star and an Isa Brown. They are 7 months old and haven't started laying yet. When I picked them up, I realized that they were only feeding them cracked corn and grit. The chickens were free ranged until a fox got four other member of their flock, so the previous owner recently built them a shelter and run. Would their food be what's causing them not to lay? The stress from the fox? How do I get them to start laying?
I'd get them breeder feeds for a few months at least, to build them up. Otherwise you're risking them dying not too far in the future. Reproduction is a serious strain on females, it can be lethal to healthy females never mind such starved ones.

Layer feeds alone aren't high enough in the general spectrum of nutrients to ethically feed to starved pullets. To put this in perspective, you've got the equivalent of children-cum-teenagers which have been starved, and which are now by nature of their breed type and physiology going to be under demand to produce reproductively like adults, when they were never given enough to grow their bodies into adulthood in the first place. (It doesn't matter whether the eggs are fertile or not, creating eggs is a female's reproductive function and is a heavy demand on her system).

If you just get them layer feeds they will likely begin laying soon, but they've been ill done by, to be only fed corn and grits, so you can fairly safely bet on them dying of unnecessary problems not too long in the future if just put onto layer feeds. Given their previous diet, they are severely deficient in pretty much the whole spectrum of nutrients and to be a humane animal owner you need to give them a time to build up and heal from their deficient past before demanding your money's worth from them.

Layer feeds are developed to compel production from these types of hens, not just support it; for breeds such as Isabrowns and some other commercial layers production is not something their bodies will cease unless they're literally in dire straits. Normal hens of non-commercial breeds will only produce when in good enough condition but for commercial layers their condition is of secondary importance and it takes a serious problem for them to cease. Laying is not a sign of happiness as some think, nor of health, nor of a balanced diet.

Best wishes.
Thank you for the info. I do give my flock laying feed and plenty of fresh fruits, veggies, treats, ect. I really hope these two new hens don't end up having health issues. They are beatiful birds. I raise my chickens simply for pets and to have eggs for my family. I am new to this, but I did know that these two hens should have been laying by now.
Well, if you know to feed them right, they should come good, but, a bad start stays with them for life.

I'm not trying to criticize your friend, we all make mistakes.

Giving a chook a bad start sets them back for life so you can pretty much expect these hens you've just gotten to always be more delicate than the ones that have been raised properly.

Best wishes with them.

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