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one hen stopped laying

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I have one Americana hen that stopped laying about four days ago. She has been very consistent up till now - only skips one day here and there once she started laying almost a year ago - and even layed all through winter. She is just over a year old and seems happy and healthy otherwise. All of her sisters are still laying. I have seen some feathers in the run - but mostly from the other hens and it has been very windy - so pretty sure she is not molting.

 

She is pretty much at the bottom of the pecking order and it seems like the other girls might be pecking at her a little more than usual - but nothing drastic. She does not have wounds or bald spots or anything. Maybe stress?

 

I did find what might have been an egg without a shell two days ago in the coop (a big sticky yellowish clump). I wondered if the other girls might be eating her eggs - but why just hers and no others? They have never eaten their eggs before.

 

Any ideas would help! Thanks!

post #2 of 8
If she's been laying pretty consistently for a year she might just be beginning to slow down a bit, that's a long time to keep it up without a few pauses.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
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Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your reply. I actually was expecting my girls to slow down on laying during the winter - but all five kept going pretty well. I guess I just got worried that something might be wrong. I've read about hens being egg bound - but she seems to be acting normally other than not laying (she does still sit in her favorite nest box at times). I did catch one of the more dominant hens chasing her out of the nest box today. so maybe she is also being bullied a bit. Or like you said - she is just taking a well deserved rest!

post #4 of 8
She could also be going broody.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #5 of 8

A big sticky yellowish clump?

Did you happen to take pic of it, then cut it open and take another pic?

Could be a 'lash egg'.

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

I didn't get a picture - it was all mushed into their pine shavings. Couldn't tell if it was a partly eaten egg (no shell anywhere) or a egg without a shell or a particularly nasty cecal poop. 

post #7 of 8
You really don't know which hen the "mushed" egg came from, so it's useless as evidence that can be linked to the hen you're concerned about.

First, it's only been four days since your hen has laid. It's normal for many hens to take time out from laying after a period of consistent laying. They will resume laying again in time. How long depends on the individual. It can be a week or even a month or two.

Occasionally, a hen will have trouble passing a stubborn egg. The signs of this are sitting for long periods on the nest without any results, and the rest of the time, she will be wandering around the run, clucking irritably and continuously. This can stretch out for several days and the hen will not exhibit any other signs of distress.

I have such a hen. Her first egg each season is hard for her to pass. Her behavior is exactly as I described above. As soon as I see she's trying to lay an egg with no results, I get a dog crate out and place a heating pad inside layered between two towels. An alternative is to soak her in warm water for half an hour, but I've found the heating pad is so much easier and less messy.

I do this once or twice each day until she finally passes the egg. This time it took three days of the heat treatment and she finally laid the egg.

A hen who is egg bound will behave differently. She will go completely mute and hang around on the edges of the run or face a wall in the coop, holding her tail down and flat. Again, a heat treatment, either heat pad or warm soak will sometimes help relax her to release the stubborn egg. But many times, when they reach this stage, it's too late to do much. It's far better to recognize a hen who is trying to lay a stubborn egg, and give her some heat early before the eggs get backed up.

Watch your hen's behavior. It will indicate what you need to do for her, if anything.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks to everyone for all your input and advice! She laid an egg sometime last night or early this morning! But I am going to keep all this advice in mind. I am a nervous mother as I am fairly new to chicken keeping!

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