A question about egg laying that hasn't been completely answered in a sticky or from my research, PL

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Monster 550, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. Monster 550

    Monster 550 New Egg

    Jul 28, 2012
    Since every situation and hen will vary I hope to get help with my situation and hens. I recently traded 2 young BRH hens for 2 (supposedly) egg laying Barred Rocks about 2 weeks ago which I was told were around 1 1/2 to 2 years old and laid about 2-4 eggs each per week. So far I haven't gotten any. My coop is 8'x8' with 2 nest boxes for just the two hens and a male Mini Rex rabbit lives in the coop with them. He can't get to the nest boxes and isn't mean, but suppect he's a stress factor for the hens. I noticed right away that my old roost was too high for the larger birds who can't fly as good as the young BRH's so I've adjusted it lower and even added another lower roost that they've shown no interest in. I started them with no artificial light for a few days then turned on a light for warmth and light turning it off for several hours at night and now leave it on 24 hours most days. Since the rabbit shares their water and eats their food when he doesn't want his I added another water supply and food source up high opposite of the original. They're on laying crumble and seem to eat very well and have solid waste's. The smaller of the two likes to roost on the edge of the nest box and sometimes faces outwards causing waste to drop in, but I go out regularly at night to check on her and close a door to that box until she uses the roost. She is getting used to the lower roost now and hasn't used the box for a few days. Inside the boxes I've tried 2 ping pong balls, 1 ball and no balls, but think that's more or less to get them to lay where I want, not to lay period. I clean the coop every morning to make sure it's clean. There's no way any rodents or predators can or have gotten in so I know that's not it. I'm in central California where the temperatures have just started to drop so I don't expect them to lay every day and understand that they've just moved into their new home, but isn't 2 weeks a bit long to not see any eggs from hens that were supposedly laying before I got them? This morning my hopes were high as when I went to clean the coop I found the bigger hen (who never goes into the nest boxes) in a nest box nesting on the ping pong ball, but still no egg. Does this mean that she could be getting closer? Also I've seperated the rabbit into a hutch built into the coop, but can't remove him completely until I build him a new hutch because my female rabbit is expecting so has the hutch to herself. I also don't expect the hens or male rabbit for that matter are eating the eggs because I go out there at least every couple of hours to check and haven't found any signs of shells, whites or yolk anywhere. Sorry for the long post, but I want to try and get my situation clear so I can get any help I can. To end I will say the hens seem to have gotten comfy in their new coop and seem to know where everything is now and don't seem stressed, but my guess would be the rabbit would be causing it if they were. Please help!
  2. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    Chickens really hate change. Their new home is a factory but perhaps the fact that you keep making changes to their home is also causing them a longer delay? It is also the season for less eggs. Her behavior seems hopeful. I think you will have eggs soon. Good luck!
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Stressed chickens won't lay and they not only had the stress of being moved, they're now living with a "strange creature". My hens are scared of animals they're not familiar with, like dogs and cats. They don't know which animals are harmless pets, they see a thread and possible predator. So your rabbit, along with the stress of being moved could well be the cause.
    We're also moving into winter now with shorter days which means a natural break for most hens and time to molt for older hens. Your hens may be going into molt. They are old enough...
    Give them little longer.
  4. Monster 550

    Monster 550 New Egg

    Jul 28, 2012
    Thanks guys, I was really worried about the rabbit living with them and had hoped that my changes to the coop weren't too negative and were actually more positive like the roost situation that they couldn't reach. I had also figured that I wouldn't see an egg or 2 a day with their re-homing and season change, but was hopeful for at least an egg a week. So on to the good ironic news, after typing this long initial post I went out to check on them and the bigger hen was in the nest box again. As soon as she saw me she got up, looked back and jumped out. Low and behold there was a nice clean egg right next to the ping pong ball. The look back she did seemed almost like she was telling me it was there. Before starting this thread I did lock up the rabbit so locked up is where he'll stay for most of the time for now on. The wait was worth seeing the looks on my kids' faces when they saw their first backyard chicken egg. Thanks again and I'll let everyone know if the other hen lays anytime soon.
  5. McGobs

    McGobs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2012
    middle of the summer I made some changes to the coop. Moved the nestboxes from one wall to another wall. ALL 19 of my hens stopped laying for almost a month. I knew they were going to stop...but didn't think it would take a month for them to start back up again.
  6. janelle18

    janelle18 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2012
    Ontario, Canada
    My Coop
    that's funny! but at least you have an egg now! Usually if they sit in the nest box and get comfy (pull shavings/straw around them) then they are going to lay an egg or are at least thinking about it. Sometimes mine just like to check out the nest boxes but they usually go in an out quick.

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