Are my chickens mad at me?

urbanPastoral

Chirping
10 Years
Mar 6, 2010
1
0
60
Saint Paul MN
Hi All, been reading for a long time and have been able to answer all my questions on the site without having to post a new topic. . .until now! About a week ago, my birds stopped laying eggs. I'm looking for ideas, suggestions, advice on whether or not to freak out. Relevant information:
1. We live in Minnesota, in an urban neighborhood. Weather's been good for a few weeks now, days getting longer, sunny, around 40 F.
2. I have 4 hens, 2 Barred Rocks, about 1 year old, 1 Red Sex link & 1 Rhode Island Red, both about 11 months old.
3. All started laying at normal age, and were excellent layers, laying through the coldest & darkest part of winter (with no artificial light).
4. None appear to be molting. The Barred Rocks did go through a partial molt around December, but are fully feathered now.
5. All appear to be healthy, not acting strange, eating, pooping, etc. normally.
6. None are acting broody.
7. There's no sign of anything or anyone coming into the coop to steal eggs.
8. The chickens live in an 8x8 converted shed attached to the back of the garage. Poured cement floor, partially insulated, deep litter method, cozy nest boxes full of clean straw, several places to roost, well-ventilated. They free-range during the day in our fully-fenced yard and are securely locked up at night.
9. They eat layer crumbles, fresh water every morning. Treats include yogurt (weekly), veggie scraps from the kitchen, scratch, occasional mealworms and they had parrot grit w/ oyster shell (free choice) for a couple months when there was no dirt for them to scratch in.
The only things that are different recently is that the weather is better, some snow melted and the chickens have been able to scratch around in the dirt (mud), and they seem to be eating a little less of their crumbles. The only other thing I can think of is that we went on a trip for a week and the birds had a different caretaker. The day that we got home is when they stopped laying. They're totally mad at us! We've left them for a week before and they didn't seem to mind, so I can't imagine what's going on now.
Thanks for any help!
 

Tala

Flock Mistress
10 Years
Apr 14, 2009
6,372
56
251
Benton (Saline County) AR
Quote:
So, the other caretaker collected the eggs for you while you were gone? And they laid while you were gone right?
And suddenly there is no eggs....

Are you collecting eggs after work or something, coz I'm thinking that possibly the other caretaker is still taking your eggs!

Just my first though, don't be offended if it's wrong
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tamelroy

Songster
11 Years
Jan 19, 2009
458
0
152
Mass
Just a though new myself.

If they free range, are they hiding them? Spring is coming, maybe they are going broody and gathing clutches? I dunno, just a thought.
 

Bat Cave Silkies

Songster
9 Years
Feb 11, 2010
1,330
22
151
Bat Cave, NC
My first thought is its just biologically time for them to stop laying and give their bodies a rest. The breeds you have don't normally go broody---that instinct has been pretty much bred out of them. They don't HAVE to be moulting to stop laying.
If they've layed through the winter for you--I think they're just taking a break.
 

ChickyLaura

The Crazy Chicken Lady
11 Years
Mar 31, 2009
1,176
19
196
Eastern/Central PA
I'm definitely not a chicken expert, but
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Maybe your chickens are "hiding" their eggs. I am having a heck of a time getting my chickens to lay their eggs in my nest boxes. But at least now they are laying consistently in the same spot... Good luck, though!
 

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