18 mo old hen not laying


In the Brooder
Jul 26, 2016
Hoping someone can provide some insight to our issue!
We have 3 hens, 2 - 18 mo. old and 1 - 6 mo. old. One of the 18 month old girls has only laid 2 eggs in the 2 1/2 months we've had her - the other two are laying pretty much daily. They get the same feed and treats, exercise, etc...
Multiple times a day she'll go into the nesting box and make noises like she's laying but no eggs. She'll even squat down on the deck or in the yard while free-ranging and pump her tail like she's trying to lay. We suspected she was egg bound but she seems otherwise perfectly happy and healthy and we can't feel anything on her rear end that would suggest that. When they came to us both 18-mo olds were molting - the other hen's feathers have mostly grown back but the non-layer still has a bald patch on her back that seems a little dry.
My husband has suggested she's going through "henopause", though we have no real reason to believe she's older than we were told! :)
Any thoughts or suggestions would be helpful! Thanks!
What breed is she? Some higher production breeds can quit at that age. Otherwise what are you feeding. Sometimes layer doesn't have enough protein to support laying and molting, especially if you are feeding anything extra. Try switching to a higher protein feed and give her time.
She's a red sexlink and we're feeding organic layer feed. Are you saying she could be done laying at 18-mo old?
We'll try the higher protein feed & see if that helps...
Are you free ranging? She may be laying out in range area.
If she has a bald patch she may not be molting if you're not seeing new pin feathers coming in there.
Would think a squatting bird would be laying....but is can also just be general submission. I'd check her vent and pelvic points.

Signs of onset of lay---I've found the pelvic points to be the most accurate.
If you touch their back they will hunker down on the ground, then shake their tail feathers when they get back up.
This shows they are sexually mature and egg laying is close at hand.

Combs and Wattles:
Plump, shiny red - usually means laying.
Shriveled, dryish looking and pale - usually means not laying.
Tho I have found that the combs and wattles can look full and red one minute then pale back out the next due to exertion or excitement, can drive ya nuts when waiting for a pullet to lay!

Dry, tight, and smaller - usually not laying.
Moist, wide, and larger - usually laying

Pelvic Points 2 bony points(pelvic bones) on either side of vent:
Less than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means not laying.
More than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means laying.
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She's a red sexlink and we're feeding organic layer feed.  Are you saying she could be done laying at 18-mo old? 
We'll try the higher protein feed & see if that helps...
Some unfortunately can be. The few sex links I had quit about that age, though I haven't owned many of them and I too were feeding layer at the time. Both showed sign of deficiencies, one was an egg eater and the other was a feather eater, so I believe they definitely need extra protein.

I switched last year to an all Flock that was 18%, didn't seem like it was much of a jump. My birds molted quickly and resumed laying in December, mine wouldn't resume in past years until around February on layer. I also recently had a 7 year old hen resume laying after quitting two years ago. I'm attributing it to the extra protein feed.

I feed scratch daily, so my protein was being diluted down below 16% which the layer is. That's the minimum necessary to keep a hen laying and healthy. Layer if fed should be the only thing fed.

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