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My girls have COMPLETELY stopped laying! WHY? What can I do?

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 

I have four hens, two Buff Orpingtons and two Barred Rocks, about a year old, and in great health.  Up until this week they've been laying very well, but suddenly, they've gone on strike.  NO eggs for a few days!  What could be the problem?  Is this normal?  They're not acting broody, and I'm not seeing tons of feathers, like they're molting.  They're all acting, eating, pooping normally, just not laying eggs.  hmm

What can I do to get the production up?

Keepin' it real for my peeps:  a dh, a dd(age 10) two Leonberger dogs, three haughty, self-absorbed cats and the REAL "peeps," four darling hens:  2 Buff Orpingtons and 2 Barred Plymoth Rocks.
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Keepin' it real for my peeps:  a dh, a dd(age 10) two Leonberger dogs, three haughty, self-absorbed cats and the REAL "peeps," four darling hens:  2 Buff Orpingtons and 2 Barred Plymoth Rocks.
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post #2 of 45

Could they be hiding eggs? That seems to be a fairly common reason for sudden dramatic drop off in egg production.

post #3 of 45

Perhaps the voices in their heads are telling them not to lay...

But seriously, there are all sorts of factors influencing laying hens, physical, emotional, hormonal, environmental, & psychological.  I've heard reports from other chicken keepers about their flocks "mysteriously" slowing/stopping production for a period of time, mine did the same a few months ago & I still don't know exactly why.

It seems the best you can do is try to address all the factors & concerns.  The first thing is to rule out hidden nests & egg eating.  Keep them confined so they'll lay in their nest boxes & check more frequently during the day to see if anyone is eating up the eggs. 
Keep watch on their health & well-being, perhaps add some supplements like oyster shell, dairy, ACV, vitamins or electrolytes.
Make sure they're not getting too many treats so they're not eating enough of their layer ration.
Check for mites or worms. 
Clean out & fluff up their nest boxes, add new & interesting nest eggs.
Offer them cash incentives.  Make a sticker chart for them.  Promise them a trip to Disney Land.

Hopefully their egg strike will end soon, before you have to actually *koff*koff* buy eggs at the store!

It's not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy!
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It's not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy!
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post #4 of 45

Sometimes it's something as simple as a change in the temperatures.  A sudden drop/spike could do it.  Or have they been stressed lately?  Moved recently?  They're probably about due for a good molt, or could be broody.  Some breeds are known for their "group broodiness".  One stops, all stops kind of thing.

post #5 of 45
Thread Starter 

HI there,
Thanks for the replies.  Cash incentives!  Sticker Charts!  Trips to DisneyLand!  Why didn't I think of those things?!  big_smile

Seriously--- nothing has changed!  They're not stressed, their diet is good (layer pellets, a bit of scratch every other day or so, clean water, AviaCharge 2000.  The temperature has been unseasonably cold here for the last week or so, could that be it?  Their activity level doesn't seem to have changed, and there's no place they could be hiding them.  If they were eating them, wouldn't I see some evidence?  I"ll keep checking, though.  They don't seem to be ready to molt; I haven't seen any feathers around. 

Maybe some dummy eggs in the nestboxes? 
I only have one egg left!  I need to buy eggs for the first time since they started laying in October!  For SHAME!  :-)

Any other ideas???

Keepin' it real for my peeps:  a dh, a dd(age 10) two Leonberger dogs, three haughty, self-absorbed cats and the REAL "peeps," four darling hens:  2 Buff Orpingtons and 2 Barred Plymoth Rocks.
Reply
Keepin' it real for my peeps:  a dh, a dd(age 10) two Leonberger dogs, three haughty, self-absorbed cats and the REAL "peeps," four darling hens:  2 Buff Orpingtons and 2 Barred Plymoth Rocks.
Reply
post #6 of 45

Fake eggs in the nest boxes might help.  Chickens like to follow fads, and a fake egg might inspire them. 

I hope you can at least find another backyard chicken keeper in your area from whom to buy your eggs, I'm too spoiled to ever want to go back to store-bought eggs. 

Of course, Murphy's Law dictates that the more eggs you buy to fill your refrigerator the sooner your hens will begin laying again...

It's not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy!
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It's not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy!
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post #7 of 45

Maybe they're hiding the eggs, too? I have an 8-month old New Hampshire Red pullet that's still not laying, but there's a place in the coop that I haven't inspected yet......hmmm...

Or do you think there might be egg-eaters in your coop? They usually wait for the hen to lay and then feast on the egg once she's done, or they might be taking a break from laying, although I'm not sure.......sorry I haven't been much of help! I hope you get the solution soon!

Oh and yes - putting fake eggs in the nest boxes might help give them the message. Good luck!

I am the chick that never was
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I am the chick that never was
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post #8 of 45

My hens haven't completely stopped laying, but production is down.  I posted it on here and the reponse I got was maybe they're too old?  Dunno...

chickens, ducks,, seasonal cornish X, horses,  sheep, a milk cow, asnd a milk goat, dogs,  cats, and eggs in the 'bator.. And the greatest family in the world!
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chickens, ducks,, seasonal cornish X, horses,  sheep, a milk cow, asnd a milk goat, dogs,  cats, and eggs in the 'bator.. And the greatest family in the world!
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post #9 of 45

Check them for lice/mites. If you are sure that is not the problem....this is what my grandpa has alwass done. He raised chickens all his life.... old
If your hens are not laying..and you are not seeing lice/mites...get a bucket of corn. He always used a 5 gallon bucket. NOT cracked corn, hard feed corn. Fill the bucket with the corn, and add water to just cover the top of the corn. Add one can of red hot pepper. mix it in a little..then let it set overnight. In the morning the corn will have "popped" from absorbing the water. Feed it to those chickens...as much as they will eat in one day. Give it about a day or so, and be ready for eggs....LOTS and LOTS of eggs. I remember my mother doing this with her hens one spring....oh BOY did we have the eggs. we couldn't GIVE them away fast enough. So we started feeding them to the pigs. This is called " burning the moult" It is not harmfull to the chickens. Just cleans out their system a little, and gives them a jump start on the laying season.

Deb
Heavens Door Acres
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Deb
Heavens Door Acres
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post #10 of 45

Astrid-

my standards are doingt he same thing! No idea why. I am going to trat for mites just in case.....

Maybe they dont liek all tehh rain we have been having!

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