Barred Rock stopped laying, stays in laying box

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by voodoorider37, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. voodoorider37

    voodoorider37 New Egg

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    Apr 9, 2012
    Denver
    We've got three hens: a barred rock and an americana who are both about 1 year old, and a production red who's about 2.5 years old. The barred rock and americana both started laying last fall and have been reliable producers. Over the coldest part of the winter, all the birds dramatically slowed production (we live in Denver). This spring, the production red had trouble forming egg shells, so we supplemented oyster shell to the feed, and the production red started reliably producing again.

    However, about 7 - 10 days after beginning the oyster shell supplement, our barred rock stopped laying. She has since spent almost all of her time in a laying box, when before she almost always spent days outside in the run and nights on the roosting rod. There's no poop in the box, and she's definitely losing weight. She'll sit on the other bird's eggs after they lay, and puffs up whenever I disrupt her to gather the other eggs. She's always tended to sit on the eggs longer than the others, but usually she's sitting on her own egg.

    She hasn't laid since last Monday (a week ago), when before she had never missed more than one day. Her behavior is out of character - she squawks whenever I open the laying box and stays put instead of easily rousing and leaving. So far, I've gently investigated her vent with a lubed rubber glove (last Thursday), and soaked her in warm water for about 20 minutes (Friday). Nothing seems to make the situation better, and I fear she's going to die if I don't get an egg out of her. If she's not egg bound, what else could it be?

    Thanks,

    Jack
     
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Hi Jack-

    There's nothing wrong with your Barred Rock. She is broody! It's like this hormonal thing that comes over a hen, making her really want to hatch eggs.

    You could do two things, find some fertile eggs for her and let her hatch them, or, you could try and break her broodiness by putting her in a wire cage, with food, and water, but no bedding. If you can set the cage up on a box or elevate it in some way, sometimes that helps break their broodiness.

    Or you can just let her alone and eventually, she'll come out of it, but they do stay broody for quite some time.....I've had them stay broody for nearly two months.

    Oh, one more thing, she might have a bald belly, because the broody hen will pull out her belly feathers so that her skin can come in contact with the eggs to keep them warmer, so don't worry about that.

    Take care, and at least you know she's not sick,
    Sharon
     
  3. klmclain1

    klmclain1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 14, 2011
    She's just broody. If you want to break her of it - you'll need to put her in something like a wire dog kennel lifted off the ground at least a couple of inches (I put mine on bricks) the intent being to allow air circulation to cool her belly. Don't put any kind of nesting box or material in it. I usually put a piece of log in so she'll have a place to roost. Give her her own water and food. It will take probably 7 -- 10 days. Let her out occasionally to be with her buds (I usually do it once a day so she doesn't get so lonely), but if she runs to the nest within 30 minutes, you'll need to segregate her again.

    Of course, your other choice is to let her hatch some eggs!
     
  4. texas75563

    texas75563 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 24, 2012
    Linden, Texas
    Its called going broody. She is trying to set and hatch the eggs. Do you have a rooster and are the eggs fertile? Do want some more chicks? Those are 1st questions that need answering.
    If the eggs aren't fertile or you don't want any chicks: about twice a day take her off the nest and carry her around in your arms for about 10 to 15 minutes or put ice cubes under her in her nest. Those are 2 things I have read on here. You can do a search for broody hens to double check and find more answers.
     
  5. voodoorider37

    voodoorider37 New Egg

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    Apr 9, 2012
    Denver
    Hey guys,

    Thanks for taking a minute to respond. This is the first time we've been through broodiness, and I'm happy to hear she's okay. We'll start trying to break her of her natural desire to be a momma!

    Jack
     

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