at the end of my rope--ARG

AP332

In the Brooder
Dec 1, 2018
9
30
36
I only have 4 girls left out of 10. They have not laid any eggs at all since the middle of summer. They are only 2 1/2 or so and I just can't find any reason for this. They look fine, nice feathers with no parasites. They have slowed down on their feed with less interest in scraps. We have a very nice coop with a roost and nice nesting boxes and it is very secure with good ventilation. The girls are buff orpingtons, which are my favorite breed, and all the others I have had have been healthy and usually lay until they die. :) Can anyone tell me what to do, or look for? I don't have any vets here that deal with chickens.
 

AP332

In the Brooder
Dec 1, 2018
9
30
36
Thanks for the welcome. I did read that article but still am at a loss as to why my girls just stopped so suddenly in the middle of summer. I have had them slow down before but not just stop cold. Just lately they have slowed down on their feed so maybe they are ill. I am getting some new girls this spring but hate to just give up on these. I think I will try a little apple cider vinegar in their water and see if they perk up. Any other suggestions will be welcome.
 

50-45-1

Free Ranging
13 Years
Feb 25, 2008
2,639
8,410
626
Northern Michigan (tip of the little finger area)
My Coop
My Coop
If they are free ranging as stated they may be laying eggs elswhere.
Put some fake eggs or golf balls in your nest boxes to entice them to lay there.
Another possibility would be egg eating, any evidance of that? Sticky mess anywhere?
Molting then colder weather here has slowed my girls conciderably. Maybe they just need some down time.
 

Shamo Hybrid

Songster
Jun 6, 2018
1,976
2,245
226
Perhaps you can play sounds of rooster crows to entice them into producing eggs..... it could probably trigger the mother nature instinct in them to want to lay eggs for offspring? Wouldn't hurt to try.
 

feathermaid

Egg Obsessed
Feb 5, 2018
3,126
23,286
942
Northwest Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
How and when did your other chickens die? Predators, disease?

If anything traumatic happened in the summer, or a change in their environment happened (like a new coop), they could have stopped laying for a bit. Chickens are sensitive to disruptions in their routine, or pretty much all changes in general, which could lead to a temporary halt in their egg production.

So maybe... by the time they got their bearings again, the days became shorter and their pineal glands told them to just stop laying altogether for the winter. Many chicken breeds will keep laying fine through their first couple winters, but then their bodies need to take a break. My girls laid great through their 1st winter, a little less the second, and then completely quit the 3rd winter, but started again in the spring. Laying hens need at least 14 hrs of daylight to produce eggs, so by this time of year -regardless of the time they already quit, they are unlikely to start laying again until the days get longer.

Some people add supplemental light in winter to keep the eggs coming, which is still possible for you too, just start in gradual increments:
Supplemental Light in the Chicken Coop: Why and How

Dangers of Supplemental Coop Light
(had to throw that link in there too!)

Or you could try a regular flock rotation in the future to keep yourself in a steady supply of eggs all year:
A Three Year Chicken Rotation

Best wishes!
 

Peppercorngal

Crowing
Feb 5, 2018
2,586
5,937
371
Feather Falls, CA
My hens have always been really regular layers, used the nesting boxes always and are slowing down now that winter is here. I have a little shed that I keep straw and wood shavings in. I've left it open and don't mind if the girls forage in there. To my surprise today I went to get the wood shavings after cleaning the coop and found an egg in it! Your hens may have found a nice alternate place to lay and you just don't know it yet????

straw storage far small.jpg straw storage small.jpg Egg in shavings bag small.jpg
 

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