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My hens stopped laying eggs!

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 

I have two 10-month old hens.  One of them gave me a few eggs in Feb. (we have a light in our coop), then stopped, and the other one gave me a few eggs in March, then nothing.  Why have they stopped?  They seem healthy, it's spring so they're not molting--what is it?

An old farmer told me that if their combs are bright red, that means they're laying.  He said that also applies to when they get older.  The one that gave me eggs first has a pinkish comb, but the other one has a bright red comb, just like my older hens that are laying.

I free-range my chickens, and I kept these two in the coop for a week; that's when I got one of the eggs from the one who laid in March, but then she stopped.  And my other hen didn't lay anything.

My husband says if they don't start laying soon, we'll have to give them a one-way ticket to the freezer.  hit

We give them layer pellets; is there anything else I can give them to get them laying?

What are the symptoms if a chicken is egg-bound?

How long should we wait?

Homeschooling Mom of three kids, husband in the military, 16 permanent chickens and a fluctuating number of others headed for the pot, 2 cats, and a few fish.

"A coincidence is a small miracle in which God prefers to remain anonymous."

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Homeschooling Mom of three kids, husband in the military, 16 permanent chickens and a fluctuating number of others headed for the pot, 2 cats, and a few fish.

"A coincidence is a small miracle in which God prefers to remain anonymous."

Reply
post #2 of 41

I would suspect they've found a secret hiding place somewhere to lay their eggs.....Spend some time watching them......then you will find it!  wink

Currently keeping a flock of 14 chickens, one rooster and 13 hens.  I have three Easter Eggers, three Golden Buffs, two Marans and six Buff Brahmas.  My hobbies are gardening, chicken keeping, and beekeeping.  I'm married with two sons, a step son and daughter, and two really cute grandkids!
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Currently keeping a flock of 14 chickens, one rooster and 13 hens.  I have three Easter Eggers, three Golden Buffs, two Marans and six Buff Brahmas.  My hobbies are gardening, chicken keeping, and beekeeping.  I'm married with two sons, a step son and daughter, and two really cute grandkids!
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post #3 of 41

Time for lock down again.  They are hiding eggs to hatch.  Also make sure your protien is higher than 16% for free ranging.  I feed 20% and free range.  The ranging will cut feed protien down some and 16% goes down to 12 to 14% and is not enough to lay on.  Up that protien lock them up for a week and you should be good to go.

Tamara   breeding Partridge Plymouth Rocks
owned by 2 English Shepherd farm dogs 2 cats and 1 loving husband

Chickens Blog http://bmvchickens.wordpress.com/

http://www.bluemoonvalley.com/  Our farm website

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Tamara   breeding Partridge Plymouth Rocks
owned by 2 English Shepherd farm dogs 2 cats and 1 loving husband

Chickens Blog http://bmvchickens.wordpress.com/

http://www.bluemoonvalley.com/  Our farm website

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post #4 of 41

You didn't say what breed they are.
Also, you said there's light in the coop. How many hours of light/dark a day counting sun/artificial light.


Edited by ChickenCanoe - 5/4/11 at 9:09am

God bless the entire world - no exceptions.
Honey Bees, Black Penedesencas, among others

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God bless the entire world - no exceptions.
Honey Bees, Black Penedesencas, among others

Reply
post #5 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cybercat 

Time for lock down again.  They are hiding eggs to hatch.  Also make sure your protien is higher than 16% for free ranging.  I feed 20% and free range.  The ranging will cut feed protien down some and 16% goes down to 12 to 14% and is not enough to lay on.  Up that protien lock them up for a week and you should be good to go.


Thanks; I didn't know that about the protien.  I thought they mostly needed protien to rebuild feathers when they're molting, and calcium when they're laying.  I guess the feed bag will tell me what percent protien it has in the food.  What is a good way of adding more protien?


Edited by Peregrine - 5/4/11 at 12:22pm

Homeschooling Mom of three kids, husband in the military, 16 permanent chickens and a fluctuating number of others headed for the pot, 2 cats, and a few fish.

"A coincidence is a small miracle in which God prefers to remain anonymous."

Reply

Homeschooling Mom of three kids, husband in the military, 16 permanent chickens and a fluctuating number of others headed for the pot, 2 cats, and a few fish.

"A coincidence is a small miracle in which God prefers to remain anonymous."

Reply
post #6 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChickenCanoe 

You didn't say what breed they are.
Also, you said there's light in the coop. How many hours of light/dark a day counting sun/artificial light.


The hen with the pinkish comb gave me a few blue eggs in Feb, so I'm sure she's an EE (she's the first offspring we've had from my EE hen and an unknown rooster, which I now know must be EE, since his daughter laying blue eggs), and the other hen gave us pale pink/brown eggs, just like one of my other hens, which I think is a RIR.  I bought my first set of chicks from a local farmer, who wasn't too specific on their breed.  idunno

We had the light on for 15 hrs total light  (the timer turned it on at 5am, off after the sun rose, on just before sunset, and off at 8pm)

Homeschooling Mom of three kids, husband in the military, 16 permanent chickens and a fluctuating number of others headed for the pot, 2 cats, and a few fish.

"A coincidence is a small miracle in which God prefers to remain anonymous."

Reply

Homeschooling Mom of three kids, husband in the military, 16 permanent chickens and a fluctuating number of others headed for the pot, 2 cats, and a few fish.

"A coincidence is a small miracle in which God prefers to remain anonymous."

Reply
post #7 of 41

Are you feeding them the layer feed too or just scratch?? You have to feed
laying feed too

post #8 of 41
Thread Starter 

Yes, we just feed them layer feed (and kitchen scraps).  But all of my hens eat the same thing.  The older 4 are laying fine, almost daily.  It's just these 2 that are being stubborn.

Homeschooling Mom of three kids, husband in the military, 16 permanent chickens and a fluctuating number of others headed for the pot, 2 cats, and a few fish.

"A coincidence is a small miracle in which God prefers to remain anonymous."

Reply

Homeschooling Mom of three kids, husband in the military, 16 permanent chickens and a fluctuating number of others headed for the pot, 2 cats, and a few fish.

"A coincidence is a small miracle in which God prefers to remain anonymous."

Reply
post #9 of 41

I have had the same problem with my Sex-Link Hens but they are a little older (3 years old) I even went so far as to call a vet and see what was wrong. She said " Always remember, the only hen that will lay an egg is a happy one. If a hen feels safe, secure and cared for (and is healthy) she will lay. If she stops, she is telling you that something is wrong."

Best advice I was ever given. Hens are very picky when it comes to laying. I found out that a possum had been harassing my girls at night and since possums are a predator, the hens refused to lay in that coop because their maternal instinct told them it was not safe for babies.

Your hens are proably laying their eggs in the yard or in some high grass. Coop them up for about three weeks (I did this and it worked) and provide a nest box about 8 inches lower than the roost that is in a dry, draft-free place. Then ,every day, make sure the nest box has plenty of bedding in it and is still dry. Feed the Hens Layers Pellets and some extra Oyster Shells and in a week or so you'll have eggs. Then when you let them out (I advise after about ten eggs per hen) Leave the coop door open so the hens can come and go as they please. They will still forage in the yard but when it's egg time they should return to the coop.

I did this with my Red Sex-Links and Black Giant (no longer have) hens in march because they all started in Febuary. Because of the possum I moved my girls to a safer pen and kept them in lock down for three (almost 4) weeks. Then let the out in the mornings and all but one laid in the coop. I got this idea from BYC! Hope it helps!


Always Happy to Offer My Experiance!


Timothy in KY smile

The last 15 years of my life as a Breeder of Show Quality American Gamefowl.
I have however started beggining to star small breeding flocks of high quality Silver Phoenix, Blue Cochin, and soon srriving will be my live long goal breed for showing, the Black Sumatra AND White Sumatra (bantam in white) by obtaining a few of the first of this variation to be retailed in my area (or anywhere I have...

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The last 15 years of my life as a Breeder of Show Quality American Gamefowl.
I have however started beggining to star small breeding flocks of high quality Silver Phoenix, Blue Cochin, and soon srriving will be my live long goal breed for showing, the Black Sumatra AND White Sumatra (bantam in white) by obtaining a few of the first of this variation to be retailed in my area (or anywhere I have...

Reply
post #10 of 41

I had a simliear problem last summer with my hens. I was free ranging them. I got a good game bird feed 22% and the egg production went back up. Plus their molt went so much better with the higher protein.

a very loving and patient  husband  4 kids 2 daughter 2 sons 2 granddaughters 6 dogs, 6 cats, 1 ferret,
3 bantams 2 Plymouth barred rock. 2  buffs 1 Red star sex links , 1 black star sex links, 2 Australops, 1 Very sweet bantam rooster. 2 barnyard mix hens                                           
the love child story. http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.ph...
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a very loving and patient  husband  4 kids 2 daughter 2 sons 2 granddaughters 6 dogs, 6 cats, 1 ferret,
3 bantams 2 Plymouth barred rock. 2  buffs 1 Red star sex links , 1 black star sex links, 2 Australops, 1 Very sweet bantam rooster. 2 barnyard mix hens                                           
the love child story. http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.ph...
Reply
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