I have three Old English Game bantams. I bought them as Layers and it took a while for them to get laying, but when the time and season finally came, my lovely little girls started leaving me the most dainty eggs.
It felt like a millennia, from when I picked them up and took them to their new home, to when they first laid an egg. I knew that it would take the girls some time to adjust to the new surrounds and be comfortable enough to start laying, but I was still really eager and over-keen to see that first white teardrop pearl sitting in the laying nest. Alas, I had brought my girls home in a typical Melbourne winter month of June, freezing and wet and the shortest days of the year. What girl wants to put out in that weather?!
Diligently, I checked my girls and their nesting boxes each day, often several times a day, without success. I became a bit nervous when my neighbor (whose parents had owned chickens) would lean over the fence to check on my egg-count. He offered some great suggestions to help get them started, although everything had proven fruitless – we even tried a golf ball in the nesting box (which is a really difficult tee-off position!) I became more than a little paranoid by the third month when my girls had still not found comfort enough to lay an egg. But as their honeymoon period started to expire and the seasons shifted from blue to green, nature stepped in and took its course. You can’t fast track nature – mother nature is her own mistress.
When the time came, my lovely little girls finally started laying and it was brilliant! The only thing that topped it – aside from the exquisite poached eggs and bacon the next morning – was that my girls would approach me for a pat every morning.
They were finally happy.
I can not offer any advice on how to get your girls to lay. For me… it was just a waiting game… a very long waiting game. It may have been separation anxiety from their move, it may have been the dark and gloomy days, it may have been that I had the wrong straw in their nesting box… but at the end of the day, it’s really a girl’s prerogative to decide when they are comfortable and happy.