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chickens wont lay eggs - Page 4

post #31 of 70

We've been dealing with the same thing.  Our hobby flock is about 2 1/2 yrs old. We have 10 healthy layers-- 2 Americauna's, 1 Buff Oprington, 2 barred rocks, 1 RI Red, 2 Australorps, and 2 Turkens (with 1 Turken rooster, one 4 mo. old Buff Orpington, and one 4 1/2 mo. old Marans).  The layers all STOPPED laying but one for almost 2 months Aug-Sept.  Our resident "Chicken Whisperer" at 4H told us, "If your chickens don't molt in the summertime for some reason they don't lay well.".  NOT A CLUE why unless it was the heat stressing them?  Sure enough, the one who was laying was the only one molting.  NONE of the rest of the flock has molted in a good year.  And they are getting the same feed and care as usual.  
After 2 mos. of ONE LONE EGG A DAY (sometimes  none) we started getting 2-3 eggs a day about 3 wks ago.  Again, this 2-3 eggs a day is from 10 healthy layers. So crazy.   

What is strange is we had a hobby flock with our two older daughters for 10 yrs and and they NEVER completely stopped laying like this, no matter how old they were.  They slowed but not for TWO MONTHS straight ever.  We had plenty of eggs and were selling them to friends all the time back then.   
Just 4 days ago we put an LED light in our chicken pen that is on a timer.  We aren't wanting to weary our girls but we ARE hoping to get more eggs and read that chickens need 14 hours of daylight to lay. We have the light on a timer so it is only on 3 hours after dusk, then shuts off for the night. If the daylight thing is accurate then maybe that is part of our issue?  We have had a LOT of overcast days early mornings and late afternoons GREATLY shortening the daylight 3-4 days a week the last two months.  Hoping that is coming to an end here in the southeast.

The only other thing we've not done in a while is add catfish feed to our chickens feed.  We did that last year to increase their protein to help them recover from molting and read that it is helpful.  The same article said that dry dog or cat food wasn't as good to supplement with because of the taurine and that catfish feed is better.  We may mix some into their usual feed again 2-3 times a week and see if that helps with the laying.

It's been so puzzling as this never happened with our old flock of 10 yrs before.  I even broke down and ordered 7 chicks from a reputable chicken supplier that we get in 3 weeks in hopes of perking up our egg production when they get old enough to lay.  Read all the comments and will keep reading.  Thanks for the comments/info.


post #32 of 70

Hi Robin.  It sounds like you are at least having more luck than me.  I only have 3 hens that could possibly lay right now.  One is 5 months old and hasn't started yet. (that is another headache) the other two are the ones mentioned in the previous post.  The EE which I believe is just too darn old and never given me an egg started to get a little too pushy to the other young ones and I decided she is just not worth keeping and feeding.  The other hen that was giving me one egg a day until August when she stopped all of a sudden, has still not given me any and it has now been about 2 1/2 months of no eggs.  Since I am new to the backyard chicken raising I am holding out hope that she is just molting.  She has been dropping feathers and looks a little like the roo has been mating her but my roo is only 5 months as well and I have not seen him go at her.  He seems intimidated by her so I doubt the feather loss is from that.  She is eating fine and looks glossy and healthy.  I did switch over to all flock feed and offer oyster shells so hopefully all of that will work.


I did read about the 14 hours of daylight but also heard that it didn't have to be bright sunlight, and some of the chickens raised in the backyards of city properties were actually getting enough light because of the street lamps.  So I am not sure if overcast skys would be much of a problem.


It is kind of embarrassing going to the only grocery store in town and all of my neighbors see me buying eggs when I have a coop in the backyard!  good luck and please post again if you get the girls going...thanks

post #33 of 70

I will let you know if something seems to help.  It's aggravating to not get hardly any eggs.  And it just adds insult to injury when we, like you, have had to go BUY eggs while feeding and caring for 10 layers that are the picture of health.  Just shoot me now.  lol  Makes for an expensive hobby.  The least our girls can do is help defray the cost of the care we give them with some eggs.  :)   

post #34 of 70

I am right there with you.  I was worried I was doing something wrong but really, how hard can it be?  feed and water and nice place to run around... I decided to raise some of my own chicks instead of inheriting the "old" ones.  Even then the EE I thought was broody would sit on the eggs for  a few hours then get up and wander off for hours... that experiment didn't work.  Ended up getting an bator and hatched out 6, unfortunately 2 are roos and the other 4 are pullets but they are only 2 months old so it will be a while before I get eggs.  Yes I had to get someone to donate eggs for me to put in the bator.  that is pathetic as well.

My son sent me this pic and it was exactly how I have been feeling.

Hope it makes you smile.

post #35 of 70

PS  That does sound like she's molting--dropping feathers.  Ours would get a few thin-feathers spots when molting where you could see their skin some.  Takes about 2-3 months.  Ours looked a bit ragged when molting but were otherwise healthy.  
Watch to make sure her skin isn't angry-red.  Here in FL a year ago chickens were molting longer than usual everywhere locally.  We noticed our molting hens skin looking angry-red in spots (it should be pale-pink), so dusted them with 5% sevin dust in case mites were in the mix.  Sure enough, by the next day their skin was pale-pink and no longer angry-red in spots which told us they were being extra-stressed from some mites, which sometimes happens.  We cleaned out their laying boxes and sprinkled some 5% Sevin dust into the corners of the laying boxes as mites hide in seams of roosts and laying boxes, then filled with fresh hay.  We added some catfish feed into their chicken layer feed and that noticeably helped their feathers grow in quicker when we did.  She should be good as new once she finishes molting.      

post #36 of 70

So far she isn't down to the skin in any one spot.  I did notice it is a little bare right behind her crown but most of the loss appears to be down by the wings on the back.  I have been looking her over for mites and haven't seen any indication.  Their coop has pine shavings instead of hay and I clean that out really well each week and since the weather has turned flies have been more of an issue up here in Michigan so I used a spray of Cyzmic that will kill the mites and keep everything from coming back for a while.  I had heard about it on this site from "gentleman farmer" and it is safe to use around animals.  This has been a great purchase because I even use it around my windows and porches and it keeps everything from trying to get in the house for winter! 


If she is molting I hope she hurries up and gets those feathers back in because it is starting to dip down in the 30's and 40's at night up here.

keep in touch... maybe we will both start getting eggs soon.

post #37 of 70

Oh, also.. what is catfish feed?  never heard of it.  where do you get it?


post #38 of 70

HAHA!!!  ExACTLY.  Slackers.  :D

Catfish feed is a bag of feed used for catfish.  We got a bag at Tractor Supply when we picked up our layer feed.  It's higher in protein and a lot of "chicken folks" on Facebook Backyard Chickens page said it is helpful when chickens are molting or in the winter when its cold and they may need more protein. I went out tonight and added a scoop to their chicken feed and will get our daughter to add it to their feed every couple of days and see if that helps.  

Back when our hens had mites they didn't all have them, just a few that pow-wowed around and roosted together.  We never actually saw mites, but the chickens' skin responded immediately when we used the 5% Sevin dust by going back to pink instead of angry-red, so that let us know.  Mabye it was just beginning when we caught it? 

Also, when ours molted they weren't bald but they did have very thinned out feathers in spots--usually at the shoulders, or sides of the hips, thin spots in general here and there with some skin showing, and a thin tail sometimes.  They just looked a bit ragged when molting.  

Edited by Robin1980 - 10/12/15 at 7:28pm
post #39 of 70

HI, I have a run that is divided between the 2 month olds and the other's (only 3 of them)  I can pick up the younger ones with no problems but the older ones will not allow it so I haven't been able to check for mites on them.  The young ones are fine and I can get down close to the others and do see any issues so I think we are good here on that.  I seen the home page has a molt picture contest.  Wow, some of those look so bad!  I only have one that is losing feathers and not all over yet and since she stopped laying in August I am hoping she is close to being done with the molt process.  

Thanks for the info on catfish feed.  I will have to check that out at the farm and home store here in town.


Good luck and I will keep you in my thoughts when and if I ever get an egg!

post #40 of 70

Hey Robin1980, did you ever get your egg?  My one hen that suddenly stopped laying in August gave me an egg today... woo hoo... maybe she is done molting.  It was a nice surprise.  Now if the 6 month old will start I will be most relieved.

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