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Chickens not laying - I've tried everything!

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I've got 7 hens of varied breeds (Americana, Buff Orpington, silver sebright, d'uncle mille fleur, blue maran mix, red leghorn mix), they're not more than 1.5years old.  They haven't laid well for about 6 months, I haven't had eggs in over a month!  At first I thought it was their food, so I changed to Scratch & Peck starter with higher protein, and always offer oyster shells.  Their water always has apple cider vinegar, their food is treated with food grade diatomaceous earth for 3 weeks now.  There's one hen that's mid molt, but the rest have molted.  I live in California, not too cold weather, and currently 10 hours of sunlight.  I recently started giving them extra light in the evenings hoping to get them laying again.  

 

My hens are let out into my yard several days a week to forage for bugs and greens from my garden.  

 

Honestly, if they don't start laying by march, I may have to butcher them for my family and start over.  However, if I do that, and maybe I'm missing something that will eventually lead those to stop laying?  

 

Please, if you know of something else I could try to get them to start laying, let me know!

post #2 of 4

Relax. It's normal for hens over a year old to take a few months off after molting. Molting is incredibly demanding on their bodies. All those feathers need to grow back in fully (can take over a month), then they need to get themselves back up to a healthy weight (can take another month or more). They will start laying again, when they are ready. In the meantime, make sure they have access to as much high protein feed as they want. Also keep in mind, your bantams are not typically prolific layers to begin with.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

I've been dealing with hens not laying regularly for more than 6 months!  I went from getting 6 eggs a day to 4 eggs a day to 3 eggs (then I had a broody mama) then 2 eggs, then 0-1, now none.  It seems like maybe something else is going on.  Here's a breakdown of their recent history

 

The d'uccle mille flour turned broody and her chicks were born in early July, she began laying for a couple weeks (3-4 eggs a week or so) then stopped in November, she molted immediately after her chicks were born.  

 

The Buff Orpington stopped laying first sometime in June and didn't molt until recently, she looks and acts healthy otherwise, though her comb is pink and small, not red.  

 

The Ameraucana stopped laying when she molted, but finished her molt in November or early December.  She's healthy with a tiny comb, but she never had a very large comb.  

 

The Silver Sebright, honestly I doubt she's ever laid eggs, but she's beautiful!

 

The Blue Maran mix, is a bit over 6 months (her adoptive mama is the d'uccle) and hasn't started laying yet, I'm assuming she will when days are longer.  Her comb is nice and red.  

 

The Leghorn sisters.  One stopped laying a while back when she started molting and never started back up, despite molting in September.  Maybe she doesn't lay because she has spurs?  Her comb is dark pink, but tiny in comparison to when she's laying.  Her sister only recently stopped laying because of a molt in early December, and hasn't started back up.  However, she's currently ill, has a swollen abdomen, but hasn't stopped eating or moving around.  This has been going on since end of December.  Her comb is getting progressively smaller and pinker.  


Edited by adrastia - 1/25/16 at 8:25pm
post #4 of 4
I also live in northern CA, not far from Oakland, and my girls haven't started back up again after molting. They will, though; I think you just need to give them some more time. I just heard about someone in town getting their first eggs of the year a couple of days ago, so I think we are getting there in this part of CA.
Edited by Ballerina Bird - 1/25/16 at 8:33pm
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