Can hens be traumatized into not laying?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by raro, Dec 3, 2013.

  1. raro

    raro Out Of The Brooder

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    I had 6 hens who were laying, on average, 4-5 eggs a day. Then a raccoon managed to get in and slaughtered 3 of them. Obviously, they were traumatized. I went and bought 3 more hens, and since they are all relatively docile breeds (dominique, Americana, RI red, and orpingtons) they seem to get along very well.
    But there have been NO eggs at all since mid September. The new ones each laid ONE egg, then stopped. They are young (I was told they had just started laying, around 20 weeks old), and my original ones are laying age. But it has been MONTHS now and...nothing! I used to get eggs through the winter months, just not as often, so I know it's not the season. And I am checking daily for anything that could steal eggs...my beagle is a great watchdog for snakes and raccoons (just wish she had been outside when the stupid coon attacked before!)
    And I have tried keeping them in the coop all day just to see if maybe they are laying and I'm not finding the hiding place...nope. I have checked the entire back yard just in case they're hiding them...nope. I can see if the original three were so traumatized it affected their laying...but not the new ones!
    Any idea? I have even kept watch to see if they could be eating them, but I see no evidence of that. Am I missing something?! Help!!
     
  2. imogene08

    imogene08 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes hens could be traumatized from a event such as a predator attack.Have you checked if they are laying secretly are maybe they are in molt?Manu things can cause a hen to stop laying.
     
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    For the older ones it could be trauma from the attack and then having new members introduced to the flock. The newer ones are probably stressed from moving into a new home with new flock mates. Add to that the shorter days and that could explain the lack of eggs.
     
  4. raro

    raro Out Of The Brooder

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    Would you have any idea how long it could last? Could it be permanent? It's been more than 6 weeks, so I would assume they'd start laying now. I haven't even seen them nesting! They eat well and seem okay, just not interested in nesting. I used to keep them under my deck, where there is lattice to keep them kind of feeling safe and protected. Could the backyard (which is not very big) seem like too much room? I thought they would prefer more room ,but it almost seems like they're scared of it, and they definitely all huddle together out there.
     
  5. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    It's impossible to say. I've moved hens in the past that laid within days of arriving at their new home and I've had a hen lay 3 months after I rescued her and brought her home. Make sure they eat well, are comfortable, parasite and pest free (i.e. check for worms/mites/fleas) and give them time.
     

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