Still not laying! Was I duped???


In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 23, 2014
We bought 14 hens (9 Barred Rock, 5 Australorp) off of CraigsList. The guy stated all birds were between one year and one year, 3 months old, and that all were laying. When we arrived to pick up the girls, the conditions were horrible. Over 270 chickens stuffed into a ramshackle old garage. The guy said that Animal Control required that he keep them inside because the neighbors were complaining. He also said that he had 30 days to get rid of the chickens before they would be taken from him. He was attempting to free range over 300 birds on 5 acres -- abandoned acres. No one lived on the property, and it was dusty, brown, and dry. Not a food dish, waterer, or anything green in sight.

We figured we were rescuing the birds and had high hopes for a beginning flock and fresh eggs. Though I casually checked them over, it became apparent that they were lice infested within a few days of bringing them home. After reading on BYC several homeopathic/natural ways to rid the hens of their lice, we went with a Poultry Day Spa option. The girls are lice free now. They are fed well, housed well, and loved well. However, we've had the girls here for almost 5 weeks and we've not yet seen a single egg out of any of them!!

They have a wonderful coop with run, are given opportunities to free range, eat layer feed supplemented with several natural items, are given crushed egg shells for calcium, have fresh water, nesting boxes, roosts, dust baths, the works.

Yes, I'm sure they're not overcrowded.
Yes, I'm sure they're fed enough/the right things/not too many treats.
No, they do not have any stressors that we can figure out.
No, they do not exhibit any symptoms of being unhealthy.
Though there are feathers in the coop and run, by inspecting the birds, they do not seem to be going through a molt.

What I am unsure of is their age, and am now wondering if the guy duped us. From what I've read, there isn't any really good ways to tell the age of a chicken. What else could keep my girls from laying?

So, my question is this: how long do we feed/house/water these birds without any eggs? We are homesteaders on a very limited income and had hoped to have eggs for ourselves and to sell. We've lovingly named these birds, "The Freeloaders," and are very discouraged.

Any help/input you can give us would be highly appreciated!
Thanks in advance!


10 Years
Mar 24, 2009
California, central valley
There could be quite a number of factors that are causing this. Age would be a big one, I would have my doubts about the fellow you got them from knowing their ages so exactly when he had so many birds and in the conditions you described. The stress of being moved to a new location is another. Poor health also takes a while to correct, since you've only had them 5 weeks it may take some more time. It doesn't help that now the days are getting shorter and it's time to start molting. If you are starting to see feathers then some of them may be starting.

Since they were infested with lice, and based on the conditions you described, they most likely are full of worms as well. I'd deworm them all with Valbazen. You want to use something broad spectrum but also safe since it's possible they could have a heavy load of worms. You don't want to use something that will kill all the worms off fast and risk dead worm blockages/toxicity.

I would deworm them and then just see how it goes. Let them get plenty of good feed and get over any molting they are going to do. If they are older birds then what you were told it's possible you might not see eggs until spring.


8 Years
Aug 29, 2012
Agree with above, they could have been quite undernourished and stressed too so may take a little longer to recover. Hopefully the poor things settle in soon.

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