2 year old chickens not laying eggs/chronic feather plucking. HELP!

Sharagemini

Hatching
Sep 5, 2019
1
1
6
Hello all
I'm new to chickens so I'll start there. We were given 7, 2 year old hens and have had them about 2 months. The previous owner had communicated to us the chickens have always had feather plucking issues and bald patches. She said she couldn't figure out why they had chronic issues with this but have been otherwise healthy. I did a bunch of research and tried modifying their diet (more protein, more greens, vegetables, live worms every other day, cherries). They eat very well! Fresh water and food daily. They live in an enclosed chicken mansion with lots of space to roam. Perches, brood boxes, fresh bedding, dust bath. They don't have cannibalism and don't seem to be picking for blood. We do live in southern New Mexico and we have very hot summers. I've heard heat stress can cause feather plucking. None of our neighbors with chickens have had this problem so I'm unsure it's the heat. We've also been told maybe it's mites? I can't let them free range unfortunately. We live on a big ranch and all the dogs roam around freely including the neighbors dog that's eaten chickens. We also have a resident owl that killed one of our free ranging roosters. The other issue is they don't lay. We have one hen that lays about 2 eggs per week and that's it. 2 year old chickens should be laying more right? I just want healthy chickens and I want to figure out the feather issue/egg laying issue.
 

21hens-incharge

Nuttier than a squirrels stash
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
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Mar 9, 2014
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:welcome

Let's start at the beginning.....

What breed or breeds are the birds?
How big in feet by feet is the coop? The run?
What is the protein percentage in the feed you are using?
Have you checked them for mites and lice?
Where on the birds are the bald/plucked areas?
Pictures really help there.

Is it possible they are older than 2 years?

Feather picking can be a habit and hard to break.

Yes 2 year old hens SHOULD be laying pretty well....depending on breed. Some breeds are not good layers to begin with.

I am confident that the members here can help sort out the issues.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
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My Coop
My Coop
Hello all
I'm new to chickens so I'll start there. We were given 7, 2 year old hens and have had them about 2 months. The previous owner had communicated to us the chickens have always had feather plucking issues and bald patches. She said she couldn't figure out why they had chronic issues with this but have been otherwise healthy. I did a bunch of research and tried modifying their diet (more protein, more greens, vegetables, live worms every other day, cherries). They eat very well! Fresh water and food daily. They live in an enclosed chicken mansion with lots of space to roam. Perches, brood boxes, fresh bedding, dust bath. They don't have cannibalism and don't seem to be picking for blood. We do live in southern New Mexico and we have very hot summers. I've heard heat stress can cause feather plucking. None of our neighbors with chickens have had this problem so I'm unsure it's the heat. We've also been told maybe it's mites? I can't let them free range unfortunately. We live on a big ranch and all the dogs roam around freely including the neighbors dog that's eaten chickens. We also have a resident owl that killed one of our free ranging roosters. The other issue is they don't lay. We have one hen that lays about 2 eggs per week and that's it. 2 year old chickens should be laying more right? I just want healthy chickens and I want to figure out the feather issue/egg laying issue.
Hello and welcome to BYC!

You mentioned making changes to the diet by offering various new foods. What is their base feed? I would stop feeding all treats and stick to just a complete diet. I personally prefer Flock Raiser crumbles with two containers on the side, near the feeders, one containing oyster shell and the other grit. Any complete feed with 18-20% protein is a good choice.

When you say they have plenty of space, can you please elaborate? How many square feet in the run and in the coop? Can you post some pictures?
 

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