18 mth old hens are not laying and I have no idea why.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jennyburro, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. jennyburro

    jennyburro New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Oct 1, 2013
    I have 4 hens, 18 months old, all different breeds. At the beginning of summer one went broody and it seemed to kick off some kind of problem and now all 4 are not laying at haven't for at least 4 months. They were previously very good layers. The Americauna hasn't laid at all, the Brahma and the Welsummer lay about once a week, the Cochin who was broody does the best, with about 3/week. I have no idea what's wrong. They eat layer pellets, they get some treats, the coop is nice and clean, they have tons of outdoor space with lots of light, they free range sometimes, there is no trauma or significant fighting (from what i can tell), it's not too cold or too hot, I can't figure it out. The only thing I can think is that they don't all sleep on the roost and the Americauna sleeps in the nest boxes. We love them but I'm sick of buying store eggs and taking care of these free-loaders! Help!!!
     
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

    36,684
    4,699
    566
    Feb 18, 2011
    Ohio
    First questions are, are you sure they are not hiding eggs somewhere, or might there be something that is eating/stealing eggs.
    http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ps029 is a good page on possible reasons. First thing i usually do is check to be sure they don't have mites or something, them try upping the protein % a little if they are on 16% layer. Normally you would expect them to go into molt around the age they are now, yours might have gone into molt early for some reason, they do take awhile to get back in stride.
     
  3. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

    2,069
    198
    271
    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    14-18 months is prime time for chickens to molt. The decreasing day length also will have a major effect on hens of this age. Even if they laid well last fall, without extra lighting to make 14 hours of light, they may not lay very well. Broodiness could also have an effect on the rest of your flock. I started with a broody Welsummer about 6 weeks ago & even with light, my hens are only laying 2-4/12 each day. The Welsummers are molting after less than a year of laying, which is really poor! First time in 20 years that I've had chickens molting so early. Don't know if it's crappy chickens or the weird weather we had this year. Hope this helps.
     
  4. jennyburro

    jennyburro New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Oct 1, 2013
    Thanks for the replies, that's a lot of good information, I hadn't considered mites or changing their diet. They haven't lost any feathers, so I'm not sure about molting. Hopefully things will pick up. Thanks again!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by