2 of my hens stopped laying?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Shay321, Mar 19, 2017.

  1. Shay321

    Shay321 New Egg

    9
    0
    9
    Sep 5, 2016
    we have 4 chickens all under a year old, 3 of them started laying in Jan. and one still hasn't laid yet. 2 of the laying hens stopped laying about a week ago. they are acting normal, eating and drinking normal. should I be worried?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,699
    2,648
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    It happens from time to time. More information needed.
    What breeds?
    Exact age?
    What feed? Protein and calcium % and how long have they been eating it? What were they fed the first 15 weeks?
    What housing? Light, amount of time outdoors?
     
  3. mobius

    mobius Chillin' With My Peeps

    in addition, any signs of a molt going on?
     
  4. Shay321

    Shay321 New Egg

    9
    0
    9
    Sep 5, 2016
    one is a speckled sussex the other is an Easter egger, no extra light, we open their coop at 6am and close it when it gets dark. they will be 28 weeks on the 21st. and they eat nutrena country feeds egg layer pellets. that they have been getting sense they were 19 weeks old. we also give them crushed oyster shells.
     
  5. Shay321

    Shay321 New Egg

    9
    0
    9
    Sep 5, 2016
    no signs of molting
     
  6. mobius

    mobius Chillin' With My Peeps

    For some reason I am smiling here, because one next step is to see if they are going broody. I had a hen that literally disappeared over the fence for a week when she started laying ( I thought I had lost her to predators despite extensive searching for her). She had built a beautiful little ground nest with a dozen eggs in it...and she was completely hidden. I was super relieved because I had given up hope! Thought I had lost the little stinker and I had no idea what was going on...

    Looking elsewhere for your eggs might be a good step. Where were they laying? In nest boxes always? New layers will look around for other nests, as protection. I originally found an egg here or there in flower beds while they were getting the hang of it.

    I hung a pillowcase as a curtain (very stylish) over their nest boxes, kept the boxes clean and comfy, and put herbs like mint and lavender in there. Now that is the only place they lay (preferring one box to the other always).
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
    1 person likes this.
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,699
    2,648
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    That's a good program. They are still young and days are still getting longer if you're in the Northern Hemisphere. Depending on your latitude, you are close to 12 hours of light now. Increasing day length vs. length of darkness is the key to stimulating production. Not every line of EE are great egg producers. 4 birds is a small sample size. You could possibly have some less productive birds but be patient. In the next month or two, with birds that age, you should be getting lots more eggs.

    My one concern is for the one that hasn't started laying yet. 9 weeks without building an egg shell.
    I would handle each bird and check the keel bone to determine how thin they are. While you are holding the bird, check the space between the pointy pelvic bones on both sides of the vent. If there is less than 2 fingers width, they are not at point of lay. If wider than that, eggs should be coming soon.
    Since you are already providing oyster shell on the side, I might try getting a higher protein starter feed and mixing that half and half with the layer feed or just provide some fish or meat every couple days till they kick start. Protein helps ovulation. Calcium doesn't but does replace what is lost in the medullary bone when a shell is made.
     
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,699
    2,648
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Good points.
     
  9. mobius

    mobius Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you @ChickenCanoe !

    Forgot to add:

    One of the things I did after the broody incident was then keep the chickens in the coop/run until about 11 am, by which time they have often laid eggs. If they are out at 6 am (which I think is very nice actually) they may be nesting elsewhere.

    Now that they are routinely consistently laying in nest boxes, I can let them out at any time, of course.
     
  10. Shay321

    Shay321 New Egg

    9
    0
    9
    Sep 5, 2016
    thank you everyone for your help! I think they are molting, there were a ton of feathers when i cleaned out the coop this morning and one of them is starting to look scruffy!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by