9-month old hen stopped laying after predator attack


7 Years
Jul 18, 2012
Carmel Valley, CA
Hello BYC. I'm still new to chickens and hope you can help. A month or so ago, some kind of predator attacked our flock, and we lost one chicken (completely disappeared) and another had a lot of tail feathers missing, but seemed otherwise OK. But, the now-tailless chicken has not laid since. Is it possible her egg tract was injured? She seems OK, is still eating, can't find any wounds but I'm taking my husband's word for it about that. One month later, is it worth taking her to the vet? Is there anything we can do to help her?

I don't think she stopped laying because of the time of year. Our weather was beautiful until just a few days ago - sunny, temps in the 70s and 80s - and none of our other hens stopped/slowed laying until about a week ago. Tailless hen stopped laying over a month ago, literally the day after the attack. We have several Buff Orpingtons, and the one who stopped laying is the only BO who stopped laying at that time.

In case you were wondering how the attack occurred, we used to let our chickens out into the yard (about a 1/2 acre in back) if we were out with them. However, even though it's a fenced yard in a rural area, and we were nearby, we couldn't always see the flock. We didn't see the attack - which happened around 2pm, not even close to evening! - but are guessing coyote, fox or raccoon. We don't let the hens out anymore. They are not happy about this.
I have had hens go off laying from stressful events. Mine went on a 3 week strike when we moved. Unless she has any obvious external injuries, I wouldn't think it would be worth it to take her to the vet; he is likely to shrug and say "she'll recover or she won't," which you knew already. Just give her time, keep things peaceful, and I will bet she will come around.

If you see a lot of her feathers coming out around her neck, she might be molting, too. My Wyandotte just started the other day, and generally they don't lay while they molt.

Good luck!
An egg could have broke inside her. You should at least try to treat as if that was the case. Just soak her in luke-warm water for a while and if your comfortable doing this yourself. lol. Stick your finger in her vent and feel around for any egg shell shards and such. I will be following this thread to see how she does! Good luck and Hope i could help!
One of mine stopped laying after surviving two raccoon attacks. She was one of my best layers before that. Frankly, I never thought she would lay again. She's really shy to begin with and this didn't help. The first couple of nights after the first attack, she wanted to go to bed under the porch and we had to crawl under every night to get her. I also entertained thoughts that she was egg bound or something like that. (After the second attack, I was only getting 1 egg per day from 5 hens! - one hadn't started laying yet despite being over 30 weeks, one has aged out and two laid one egg each every other day.) However, she's laying again and every day now. I think it took 6 weeks. So, give your girl some time. Everyone seems to have recovered from the attack. I'm getting three or four eggs a day now!

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