50+ Hens Suddenly stop laying. HELP!!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by HeatherFeather, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. HeatherFeather

    HeatherFeather Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 16, 2009
    Severn Bridge, ON
    Hi There.

    We're in a suddenly desperate situation with our laying flock on our farm, and any help and advice is much appreciated.

    We have 59 laying hens, most of them are 1 YO BSL, RIR, and CR-X. 14 are 1.5 YO RSL, and there is a handful of marans, ameraucanas, 1 YO and 5 Heritage hens which are 3.

    Our typical daily egg count is in the 40s. We have a small egg CSA of customers who we are obligated to provide eggs to, and we sell at our farm gate.

    We have a Salatin style "Eggmobile" and are rotationally grazing on pasture within an electric poultry net. The mobile is moved once a week. The hens have been in this system since the first week of April. The birds are serviced twice daily with feed and water. We feed Homestead Organics certified organic feed which contains a high grade mineral premix and a probiotic (I think this is known to be the best certified feed avail. in Canada). We strictly follow the Canadian Organic Standard.

    There are two Ameraucana roos in with the group, and they are pretty well mated, some of the hens have feather loss on their backs from the roos. There is a sub-group which lives in the winter coop and free ranges, just 5 hens and one roo. No feather loss.

    Nearly all of these hens have ceased to lay over the past two weeks. 4 hens are broody, but that shouldn't make this happen. Today I gathered 8 eggs total.

    Any help or advice is much appreciated, we are so stressed, I'm sure you can imagine, the cost to support this group Organically when they aren't laying. (no, switching from Organic isn't an option)
  2. champer

    champer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2011
    San Martin, CA
    What a terrible situation. I'm afraid I don't have any knowledge to share, but sure hope others can help you out. Best wishes!
  3. WA4-Hpoultrymom

    WA4-Hpoultrymom Never enough coops...

    Feb 5, 2009
    Monroe, WA
    My Coop
    Could they be going into their molt? It usually happens when they are around 12-18 months.
  4. AccentOnHakes

    AccentOnHakes Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 2, 2009
    Maybe you have a predator issue, or an egg-eater?
  5. incubatingisfun

    incubatingisfun Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2009
    My guess would be some kind of predator scared them sometimes that can stop egg laying for a while
  6. TrystInn

    TrystInn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 16, 2009
    Southern Arizona
    I'm thinking you've got a gear up for a mass molt on your hands, but just in case, a few things to try:

    Can you boost their protein for a week? Sometimes that can help the ladies get back into lay.

    A red light stimulates the reproductive system.

    Try a Mustard Egg: blow out a couple of fresh eggs, fill with mustard and seal holes with wax. Place them in various boxes. If you see the ladies (or lad) covered in mustard, you'll know you have an egg eater!

    You might also give the coop a thorough cleaning out to see if you can find any small cracks or holes, rodent droppings or insect activity. The coop fill can hide lots of things.
  7. andrea98

    andrea98 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2009
    in my barnyard....ohio
    The last few weeks mine have stopped laying also ... Maybe something going on with nature?? I'm in Ohio , my friends chickens along with her father in laws have stopped also [​IMG]
  8. CariLynn

    CariLynn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 23, 2010
    State of confusion
    yea throw my flock into the pot of not laying well either. I have 15 chickens, two are roo's, 5 of those are pullets, and the rest adult, 2.5 year old hens. I went from getting 7 to 8 eggs to 4 to 5 and that is all. Thank goodness we don't eat eggs each and every day, so I can still sell to those who call on a small scale, but it is still worrisome. As for molt, I know my adult roo Chief is molting, finding his feathers around so who knows...could be the weather, as I have come to realize when the pressure is up or down, or any drastic change, they stop laying for a few days.
  9. riane'smimi

    riane'smimi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 2, 2010
    orange va
    Mine have also stopped laying .not one today out of my layers,yesterday was 1.They are young and none of them are a year old yet.They just started laying really good this past month and justy stopped.
  10. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by