Australorp Hen Laying Question


11 Years
Jan 30, 2011
North GA Mountains - Ellijay

I recently purchased 9 Australorp Hens and one Rooster that I was told were two years of age and
'about to go into molt'. I've had them now for two weeks and, although they seem
quite happy and adjusted to their 'new' home and are eating well - they show no
signs of going into molt AND THEY HAVE LAID ZERO EGGS!

They are 'mild mannered' which I'm told is common for the breed ( I have Welsummers,
Barred Rocks and Easter Eggers ). I did not put them in with the flock as I didn't want
to cause them stress so they are in their own private large coop and covered run and
get steady diet of premium layer pellets with pre and pro biotics as well as fresh fruit
and garden greens and premium sunflower seed scratch daily.

They all have gorgeous plumage and dark red healthy looking little combs and wattles. I am aware that at two years of age egg production would have 'slowed down' but, as I intend to breed them,
I wasn't as concerned about number of eggs but quality of birds
but if I want to hatch some out I sure do need some fertile eggs!

Can any of you Australorp owners give me any guidance here or speculate on what
may be going on regarding lack of eggs in this scenario?

Thanks for any input you may have.

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You've probably seen a molt. They normally start up around the head and work their way back. When they start it's not always that noticeable. So they may be starting a molt. Or since they look so good, maybe they are finishing a molt?

When chickens get stressed they can stop laying for a while. Moving them to a new location will cause stress. If they were two years old and are not molting, some should be laying by now though. They don't usually all stay stressed that long.

They may be older than two years. Even then, with that many chickens you should be getting an occasionaly egg. They don't all absolutely stop laying when they get older, they just slow down.

Are you sure something is not getting the eggs? Are they hiding a nest? These are the two most common causes of hens not laying that should be, though this time of year the molt really jumnps up there as a cause.

I really don't know what is going on. I like Australorp. I'm mixing my own mix of breeds and I absolutely have Australorp in that mix. I strongly suspect a molt, but it's hard to be sure when I'm not there looking at them.

Good luck! These things are not always easy.
With my eyes I can't tell from those photos, even after I cleaned my glasses. Some look like, yeah, it could be a molt. Others look more like, probably not.

Are you seeing any black feathers laying around? Sometimes with mine they look almost naked and others the only way I can really tell they are molting is that I see extra feathers laaying around.

Another thought, one I hate to mention. I see you have other hens in with them. How are they acting? It's possible that your flock had a disease or some parasite, maybe cocci, that has infected the new flock. Your old flock may be immune and it's taking the new birds a while to build up their immunities. It's not always the new flock that has the disease or parasites.

Even if this is the case, it is not necessarily a death sentence. It's actually fairly common. Sometimes it is serious but often the newly infected birds spend a while building up their immunities and then get on with life. A lot of the time, this affects them so little the owner does not even noitice. The reason I hate to mention it is that some people will freak out over this just being a possibility when in reality is is usually not a big problem.

I suggest you just be patient. Watch them for signs of disease or parasites for sure, but don't stress about it. My Australorp lay pretty well in the winter when they get over the molt. By springtime you will probably be real happy you got them. I know that doesn't put any eggs in the incubatior right now.
Thanks so much for your reply and insights. There is only one pullet in with the Australorps ( she is an EE who just began laying the most gorgeous
pale green eggs! ) The EE, Honeybee, is totally 'bonded' to that coop and will not leave it - even to go outside into the run - that's the only place I had
for the 'newbies' so she is with them and they get along wonderfully but I hope she hasn't infected them with something. I'll keep a close eye on all and
hope that you are right about my being glad I got them by this Spring.

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