15 hens, 6 mo to 5 years all stopped laying

mikic

In the Brooder
Sep 30, 2018
11
5
26
We've had chickens for 10+ years, usually keep a flock of around 20. We add a few pullets every year or so to keep egg production up. Currently we have 13 laying-age hens, 6 are between 6-9 months old, the rest vary 1-5 years. We've always had good egg production (6-8/day), even some laying during high summer/cold winter temps and while molting. We live in Austin, TX, so no extreme cold here and they actually molted early this year (Aug-Sept). So, we are at a total loss as to why, about 7 weeks ago, our egg production suddenly dropped to 2-3/day for a couple of weeks. The next week we only collected two eggs all week. And then no eggs since (four weeks now)!!
Anyone with experience like this?
 

sourland

Broody Magician
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 3, 2009
119,142
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Welcome to BYC. It's not uncommon for older birds to take a break in the laying cycle after molting and the shortened day length. It is somewhat more unusual for the pullets (depending upon breed) to stop laying. Have there been any stresses or changes in husbandry/feed ?
 

mikic

In the Brooder
Sep 30, 2018
11
5
26
Welcome to BYC. It's not uncommon for older birds to take a break in the laying cycle after molting and the shortened day length. It is somewhat more unusual for the pullets (depending upon breed) to stop laying. Have there been any stresses or changes in husbandry/feed ?
yes, we've experienced aging and molting breaks in our flock over the last 10+ years, but never the entire flock taking an extended sabbatical, without one single egg in 4 weeks. Especially when we have 6 pullets that have just entered peak production age (6-9 mo). And we have 6 more ages 2-4 yrs that should be laying. No changes or unusual stress, they made it through the hot Austin summer and this didn't start until temps were cooler in late Sept, and past their molting period. Like I said, dropped to 2-3 eggs/day for a couple of weeks. We were out of town for the next two weeks and when we returned our house sitter had only collected 2 eggs the first week that we were gone, none the second week. None since.
 

mikic

In the Brooder
Sep 30, 2018
11
5
26
Are they free ranged?
Any chance you have a predator eating eggs?
our hens have a very large, predator-proof run (never breached in 10+ years). We are certain that nothing is eating the eggs (really, what would eat that many eggs every day for four+ weeks?), they just aren't laying any.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
95,139
126,027
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
our hens have a very large, predator-proof run
Big enough with places to hide eggs?

really, what would eat that many eggs every day for four+ weeks?
Rats.

So the olders started laying again after molting in Aug-Sept....then stopped again?

Do they all have pale combs and tight pelvic points?
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/who-is-laying-and-who-is-not-butt-check.73309/

What all and how exactly do you feed..any changes in that??
Is feed fresh, mfg date within a couple few months?

Just some thoughts.
 

ShannonR

Free Ranging
5 Years
Sep 17, 2015
2,535
16,777
552
yes, we've experienced aging and molting breaks in our flock over the last 10+ years, but never the entire flock taking an extended sabbatical, without one single egg in 4 weeks. Especially when we have 6 pullets that have just entered peak production age (6-9 mo). And we have 6 more ages 2-4 yrs that should be laying. No changes or unusual stress, they made it through the hot Austin summer and this didn't start until temps were cooler in late Sept, and past their molting period. Like I said, dropped to 2-3 eggs/day for a couple of weeks. We were out of town for the next two weeks and when we returned our house sitter had only collected 2 eggs the first week that we were gone, none the second week. None since.
House sitter may not have gathered eggs as regularly as you'd like, and the hens have learned to eat them. This scenario makes more sense than anything else I can come up with, considering the info you've given us.
 

MANNA-PRO

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