I have a mixed flock of 3 established hens plus 5 pullets that have just come into lay. The 8 girls have been living together for about two months. Of the pullets, the Easter Egger was the first of the chicks to lay at 19 weeks of age. That was 6 weeks ago and she has laid consistently since that time. Until a week ago, that is.
About a week ago, the EE laid an egg with a thin shell that she managed to crush. That was odd as all her prior eggs had really nice, hard shells. There had been no change to her diet so I was left wondering the cause of the thin shell and chalked it up to her being an immature layer. However, that was the last egg she laid. We've had nothing from her since that time.
Since then I've been watching her closely. She's eating well, her crop feels fine, her poo looks fine, I see no evidence of bugs or parasites - internal or external. She's not exhibiting symptoms of internal laying as she's up and about and eating just fine. No evidence of any pain, no swollen abdomen. However, about the time she laid her final thin shelled egg, I did find one drop of blood on the roost. I could never tell who it came from and figured it was from someone getting pecked at night as they shuffled about for prime roosting spots.
In the week after her final egg, the EE became distant from the rest of the flock - particularly the older girls. She would hang back when I brought feed to them, waiting until everyone was done before getting any. Previously she would have been leader of the pack to get to the food. I threw out some BOSS to see her reaction and she hung back and then did everything in her power to keep from being anywhere near the three older hens.
I'm wondering if we're having a shift in pecking order and if that's impacted her laying. Thinking maybe one of the big gals pecked her good and she's so upset she's quit laying. Has anyone experienced a similar situation? Not sure there's anything I can do to change things. I'm still rather new at this and chicken social issues are a bit foreign to me!