Chickens just stopped laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by okie dokie farm, Feb 27, 2014.

  1. okie dokie farm

    okie dokie farm New Egg

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    May 2, 2013
    Hello I have a mix of hens in my flock they are 9 months old they started laying
    In November and I was getting 15 eggs a day for 2 months they were doing great
    Now it has been almost a month with out a single egg they free range during the day
    And get layer pellets every evening nothing has changed in their routine I'm hoping
    Someone has some ideas for me I have 20 hens they are buff orpington, australop
    Easter eggers, and a few barn yard mixes thank you in advance for any help
     
  2. micah O

    micah O Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 23, 2013
    at the computer.
    are they very stressed
     
  3. okie dokie farm

    okie dokie farm New Egg

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    May 2, 2013
    No they act just fine I haven't changed anything they all come up and greet me and they are acting just fine just no eggs
     
  4. micah O

    micah O Chillin' With My Peeps

    355
    5
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    Sep 23, 2013
    at the computer.
    Thats strange how old are they and is there calcium rich enough
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    There are a lot of different reasons hens may stop laying like that. Going from 15 a day to none is pretty drastic and makes some things a lot less likely.

    The main reason for a flock to just stop like that is the molt. They shed their feathers and use the nutrients that were making eggs to grow new feathers. It’s unusual at that age and this late in the year for that to happen to your flock, but if you are seeing feathers laying around this is the most likely cause.

    The second most common reason on this forum for hens to stop laying is that they haven’t, but they are hiding a nest from you especially if they free range. I find it highly unlikely that you would go from 15 to none for that reason. It just doesn’t work that way. Some may hide a nest, but not all if they are used to laying in the nests.

    In most cases if something is eating your eggs, they will leave evidence, broken egg shells or a soggy mess. With most wild animals you don’t usually go from 15 to zero either. They come around, eat what eggs are available and leave. With most of these you get a wide range of production from day to day depending on when the hens lay and when that predator shows up.

    One thing that will leave no evidence is snakes. I don’t know where you are but that may be pretty unlikely this time of year. Besides, a snake normally shows up, eats several eggs, then leaves for a few days to digest them. You really get a widely varying pattern with a snake and it is usually in the range of 4 or 5 a time, depending on the size of the snake.

    Canines will eat eggs whole and not leave a trace. Dogs, foxes, and coyotes all come to mind. But foxes and coyotes are probably going to be more interested in the chickens than the eggs. A dog is a possibility though 15 eggs a day is a lot. Do you have some pet dogs with access to the coop that may have learned that the egg song is an invitation to a treat? With 15 eggs a day, this is unlikely. That’s a lot of eggs.

    Something else that takes eggs without a trace is a human. I suggest you consider that possibility, especially if you are not home during the day.

    Some diseases will cause them to stop laying, but often you will see some deformed eggs if this is the cause. Plus you said they are acting fine. I really don’t think this is a concern for you but it has to be mentioned.

    Poor diet will cause hens to reduce laying but not stop like that. Plus if yours are free ranging on decent forage, they are probably not suffering from a big diet problem.

    Sometimes extreme weather, hot or cold, will cause hens to cut back severely but not all stop like that.

    There are a whole lot of things that can affect it, maybe a combination. But going from 15 to zero like that a molt of a human are the things that jump out at me.

    What can you do? Is it possible to lock them up for a day? If you find eggs, then you know they are either hiding a nest or you locked something out that was getting them. Or try putting a couple of eggs down there. Since I think a human may be involved don’t mark them. If they disappear you at least know something is getting them.

    This may be as simple as a molt but it may be really hard. I wish you luck sorting it out.
     

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