chickens have all stopped laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by wildwestcoast, Nov 9, 2015.

  1. wildwestcoast

    wildwestcoast Out Of The Brooder

    okay so I apologize in advance if this is a question that has been asked to death :) BUT...I am stumped as to why my chickens (6 hens) have all stopped laying suddenly. No eggs for several days. they are not sick, they are not moulting. yes it's a bit colder and we have a couple hours less daylight..but all stopping at once? I have been getting 5 or 6 eggs a day like clockwork since they matured. They are only about 7 months old. If they had a fright how long does it take them to get back on track? I'm thinking maybe a predator is lurking at night? or maybe the odd firecracker going off in the distance (Halloween last week) would these things interfere with egg laying?
  2. silverlaced44

    silverlaced44 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 27, 2015
    Some chickens stop laying when winter is coming.
  3. wildwestcoast

    wildwestcoast Out Of The Brooder

    just like that? :( I expected a slow down not a complete strike
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    They may have had a scare.
    Any changes happening around in the coop?...that can throw them off too.
    Did they run out of feed or water.... for even a few hours?
    What are you feeding?
    Do you free range? They may have found a spot they like better to lay.

    Some first year layers can slow down or stop in the winter due to low light,
    but it looks as if you have production reds?
    I wouldn't think they would, but you never know with live animals...
    ....and a few days is not bad, they are not vending machines, may be just taking a break.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2015
  5. wildwestcoast

    wildwestcoast Out Of The Brooder

    thanks for the reply. I haven't seen any changes around the coop. They haven't run out of food at all or water. I feed layer pellets in a feeder that takes half a bag so they have constant access. I throw a handful or two of scratch in the run if I don't have any veggie bits, sometimes just toss in some kale from my garden or bits of interesting weeds. they have cleaned their run to the point that now it is only dirt. I have raked all the leaves out of the run and there is nowhere they could be hiding eggs. they could have had a scare, we do have predator animals where we live, but the deer are hanging around so it isn't a cougar or a bear. Raccoons and martins maybe but the coop is secure and they are locked up at night in it. still not a single egg. today though I noticed alot of feathers in the coop and one of the hens looks a bit scraggly so she must be molting. I recalculated and figure they are closer to nine months old (time flies when you're having fun!) It has gotten colder the last week we got down to zero one night.
  6. wildwestcoast

    wildwestcoast Out Of The Brooder

    okay so I have been told that around here where I live, that unless you put a light in the coop they will stop over winter, even though they are the type that are bred to lay all year round. I don't really want to force them, so I am wondering now should I still keep feeding them layer pellets through the winter even though I don't expect them to lay?
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    If you use supplemental light for winter laying, it's best to increase it slowly.
    Sudden drastic changes in lighting can have undesirable effects.

    I start ramping it up in early Sept. until I get up to 14-15 hours.
    Light is on timer that turns it on in early morning, birds go to roost with natural sunset.
    Here's a pretty good article on supplemental lighting.

    My Feeding Notes: I like to feed a 'flock raiser' 20% protein crumble to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer. I adjust the amounts of other feeds to get the protein levels desired with varying situations.

    Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    Animal protein (mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided during molting and if I see any feather eating.
  8. wildwestcoast

    wildwestcoast Out Of The Brooder

    thank you for that information, I will especially note the extra protein needed during molting. I just went out to make sure the wind isn't blowing the rain in on them (it's stormy today) and lo and behold..there was an egg in the nesting box lol[​IMG]
  9. agdusa

    agdusa Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 8, 2015
    Speaking of lighting, when do I need to start supplementing with a light? My hens have only been laying for about 6 weeks and have recently dropped to an egg every couple of days. It has been rainy here for over a week and with the time change, there hasn't been a lot of sun. Is it time to put in a light with a timer?
  10. wildwestcoast

    wildwestcoast Out Of The Brooder

    I would check out the article posted above by aart, he addresses the lighting question :)

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