Adult Hen Not Laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bludvamp, Jul 11, 2008.

  1. bludvamp

    bludvamp New Egg

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    Jul 11, 2008
    This will be a long post, but I want to give all the background information.

    We have 3 ladies -- Heckle, Jeckyll and Hyde. We got them March, 2007 -- so they are all about 18 months old. All 3 laid eggs all summer, and they lay sparsely through the winter too. They are Auracanas, so we had gotten used to one little green egg every day from each of them. Like I said, they made it through the winter, laying some eggs (about 5 a week over all). Then, just as winter ended (we are in Southern Oregon, so these are mild winters with some snow and about 3-4 months of temperatures around freezing), all 3 molted. Molting lasted about a month, and it was an easy molt, with everyone just losing head and neck feathers. I say easy, because I didn't have to go through it! During molting, egg-laying dropped to 2-3 eggs per week, which was more than we had expected.

    So, when molting stopped, we were ready for egg production to come back. Only it hasn't. 2 of the hens -- Heckle and Hyde -- are only laying one egg every other day (so 50% production from each). And Jeckyll goes into the laying boxes, sometimes sitting on top of one of the other laying hens. She'll sit there for hours, but no egg. She even tricks me by squawking like she laid an egg!

    We're pretty sure Jeckyll isn't blocked up, because this has been going on for a couple of months, and she poops fine. Heckle was blocked up once, so we witnessed how traumatic that was, and I'm certain Jeckyll wouldn't be able to fool us for 2 months! She shows no signs of any problem -- she roams freely with the other birds, jumps up on the fence easily, asks to be picked up if I walk by.

    Like I said, these are Auracanas all over a year, who have been laying since 4 months of age. I feed them organic laying pellets mixed with oyster shells. They get food scraps and crushed eggshells also. Their coop is enormous, has an inside and a caged-in outside, and we let them free roam over our yard if we are home. These chickens are leading the good life!

    Based on this info, does anyone know why my hens are not laying as much as last year, and why Jeckyll isn't laying at all, but just going through the motions???
     
  2. augiedranch

    augiedranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 14, 2008
    Texas
    are they eating their eggs?

    i know some people have problems with that.

    also i had a problem with a snake. a snake can get into chicken wire, wood anything it wants to.
    anywase, i thought two of my hens werent laying, in which they had been but a snake would eat them every single day... check for a snake maybe


    also, they sound pretty spoiled,, just make sure they arent wanting to go broody,, they stop laying when they do that..

    make sure they arent egg bound etc.

    also, egg production declines if there are any sort of parasites.. try deworming with wazine and panacure.

    hope this helps
     
  3. bludvamp

    bludvamp New Egg

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    Jul 11, 2008
    Thank you for all the suggestions.

    I know they're not eating their eggs, and I'm pretty sure it's not a snake (I've never seen any snakes or evidence of them in my neighborhood). And I know they're not egg-bound, because they poop OK, and two are laying eggs -- but only half as often as before.

    How would I know if they had parasites? Would there be any outward sign or other behavior issues?

    How do I stop them from wanting to go broody? Right now we have plastic eggs in their boxes (left over from training them to lay there). I think Jeckyll believes she's incubating them. Is that a problem?
     
  4. augiedranch

    augiedranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    once they go broody there is no way to stop them. but thats prob whats wrong with her... and from what i hear,,, she wil stay there for months to try to hatch the eggs... its sad.. they are sopose to be on the eggs for like three weeks, but my nieghbor had a hen sit on a nest for seven weeks!!!! the hen was really weak, skinny and dehydrated,, i dont know if it died or not, i didnt hear back from her.

    if she is going broody put baby chicks under her at night, or put some fertile eggs under her so she can hatch them herself.

    also, no outward signs sometimes on parasites.. other signs are diarrhea, skinny, dull feathers, dull comb, then if its really bad, lethargic, death.


    i deworm mine twice a year. you can take poop up to ur vet to check for parasties. or just deworm them as a preventative. i work at a vet clinic so i get free access to a microscope so thats how i know what worms they have etc. this year i havent had a problem with any parasites though! [​IMG]


    hope this helps. and i bet shes broody... youll be a new momma! [​IMG]
     
  5. bludvamp

    bludvamp New Egg

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    Jul 11, 2008
    LOLOLOLOL.

    I can't be a new momma -- we don't have a rooster. She's busily trying to hatch plastic Easter Eggs. I'll remove the plastic eggs -- maybe that will stop it. Poor Jeckyll -- we've always said she's our slow chicken. Luckily she leaves to eat and drink (she's also our fattest chicken).

    Thanks for the heads-up on the parasites.
     
  6. sweetshoplady

    sweetshoplady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2008
    Venice, Florida
    She doesn't know that those plastic eggs won't hatch. I had a hen go broody before I got a rooster. Funniest thing, cuz she was laying her eggs in a bucket and I didn't realize it til I saw her in there and refuse to come out. [​IMG]

    Hope your hens get back into the swing of things and everything's ok with them.
     
  7. bludvamp

    bludvamp New Egg

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    Jul 11, 2008
    Oh that's funny! I've been singing "Broody Chicken, Broody Chicken" all day -- I may have to make up lyrics to sing to little Jeckyll. :)
     
  8. bludvamp

    bludvamp New Egg

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    Jul 11, 2008
    Well, I think that was the issue -- thank you for your suggestions!!! I removed the plastic eggs, and the next day, Jeckyll popped out the biggest egg I've ever seen from these birds! Thank you!
     

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