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Any sleuths out there? Hen stopped laying days after 8 week chicks introduced.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ChickensInSF, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. ChickensInSF

    ChickensInSF Hatching

    Feb 4, 2013
    Hey Chicken Friends,

    I posted elsewhere a week or so ago for advice on introducing 5 new chicks (then 8 weeks old) to our 6 month old, new laying hen, but this is a more egg-laying specific question.

    My little Rhode Island Red Hen began laying in the final days of January. Exactly two weeks ago we got five 8 week old chicks (now 10 week old chicks) who are in the run with her, but separated in a large dog kennel. As she had been two for several weeks prior, I let her out in the afternoon to range the yard and find any bugs, kale, etc. that she chooses. When she does this I close her out of the chicken run where the coop is and let the chicks explore more in the run.

    She has gotten the same layer food (not crumbles) since December and up until last Saturday she laid 12 days in a row. Since then she has gone 7 days without laying a single egg. What happened?! Is she stressed? She paces around the chicks kennel and other than a week ago when I let them be in the same space, they have not had physical access to each other. (On that note, she pecked a feather off of the wing of one chick so I am waiting a couple more weeks until they are larger.) She went straight to their (medicated) chick crumbles, which I do not want her eating because I only want my layers eating organic feed.

    Her food seems pecked at, but she is really not eating much of it, and it is in a large metal food container now, as opposed to the old chick feeder that she used up until a week or so before I got the new chicks.

    I suspected she is put off by the new friends and for whatever reason, not eating enough to sustain egg production. Should I get organic chick crumbles and let all of them at it and supplement her diet in the garden with more protein and oyster shells? Any good ideas?


  2. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Songster

    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    If she is shut out in the yard for part of the day I would make sure you don't have a hidden nest somewhere just in case.

    In general, chickens can be stressed by anything new even if it is something minor or silly. Any change in routine or new bird or thing can potentially get them a little messed up. My guess is she just needs time to adjust.

    Because you are about to have a mixed flock for a little while and you are wanting to feed organic I would put everyone on the same organic non-medicated starter or grower feed. I dont personally used medicated starter but a lot of the people who do seem to stop around 6-8 weeks anyway. A non-medicated organic starter or grower will be great for your young birds and you laying hen. Just leave out a bowl of oyster shells or some other calcium to supplement the calcium that is no longer in the feed. The laying hen will eat as needed and the young birds will not eat it if they do not need it. Laying feed is bad for young bird and you don't want them eating that.

    Once everyone is laying you can switch to layer feed if you choose or just keep with what you have.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013

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