Chickens not eating (much) and not laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by cheapcheepcheep, Dec 16, 2013.

  1. cheapcheepcheep

    cheapcheepcheep Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 18, 2012
    Littleton, MA
    Hi everyone,
    Since it's been getting dark early these days, egg production around here has slowed a bit, which I expected. However, in the last week, I've gotten no eggs at all, and my chickens (6 total, all about a year and a half old, 3 Buff Orpingtons and 3 Barred Rocks) haven't eaten much at all. Usually I have to fill the feeder every 2 days, but they aren't touching the food very much. 2 are presently molting, at least 2 were doing so a couple weeks ago. Could that be it? They all seem to be in fine health otherwise.

    My other thought is that it is so cold the last couple weeks that they either don't leave the coop enough to eat, and the water freezes up so fast they aren't drinking enough. They eat the yogurt I put out for them every morning in record time, just not the pellets. I have a snuggle safe I put under the water to heat it up for a while, but it's been in the low 20s or colder for a while. If I'm home, I put fresh water out around mid-day, but I also work, so that's mostly weekends. I'm home today, and I mixed up some feed, water, and yogurt in a bowl and put that out, and they ate it right up. They don't seem to come out in the cold much though.

    Any ideas? Anything I should watch out for?

    They started laying almost exactly a year ago, and went full tilt all winter. Maybe they just petered themselves out.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  2. PolkaDot77

    PolkaDot77 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 26, 2012
    Boise, ID
    Chickens won't eat if they can't drink, so make sure that they have enough fresh water to drink. As you said, egg laying with absolutely slow down, so I wouldn't worry about not getting any eggs. If they are eating the yogurt in the coop, maybe you should try moving some of the pellets into the coop if it is currently in the run and they aren't venturing out to get it. I also switch to 20% protein pellets for the extra nutrition in the winter so you could do that for them to get more per peck! They probably aren't sick if they are still eating and I doubt the molting has much do with it, although winter molts are pretty unusual. Good luck!
     
  3. Fawn and Fam

    Fawn and Fam Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 2, 2013
    Definitely the molting has stopped the few from laying, even after the molting has finished it can take a while to start back up. I give mine extra protein to hurry them through it. However you still should be getting eggs from the others unless the lack of light has stopped their cycle. Did you give them artificial light last Winter to keep them laying so well? You could put a light bulb on a timer to extend the daylight hours. That's what I chose to do when mine slowed down and one stopped. It worked great to get them back in full production.

    Also you are right, not getting enough water can totally mess up their production. I live in Michigan and absolutely have to have a water heater. I chose to make the cookie tin water heater, it works great and is very inexpensive (just google it). I have a waterer and feeder both inside and outside the coop, that works well for me. If you choose to only have them outside (which I understand there are many reasons why some choose to only have it outside) is it possible to wrap your run w/ clear plastic? That is what we had to do here because they would have never stepped foot outside because of the snow, cold, and wind. We had a covered run already but that didn't keep the snow from completely covering their run and they didn't want anything to do w/ the cold wind blowing on them. Now they are in their run all day w/ access to dry dirt all the time and love taking their dirt baths even though it is cold. I've learned for mine that it is more the snow and the wind that bothers them rather the cold.

    Mine also don't seem to be eating as much as they do when it is warmer. I've heard they normally have a bigger appetite when it is colder to keep them warm. Mine are doing just fine though, so I guess it is okay. Best of luck [​IMG]
     
  4. cheapcheepcheep

    cheapcheepcheep Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 18, 2012
    Littleton, MA
    I got them some scratch at Agway last night to try to get them some more calories. The guy there didn't think anything was wrong. It was in the negatives this morning, but might even hit 60 (!) on Sunday, with a warm up after today. So, I'll see if they get back to business after that. I don't put a light in the coop, since there's no power to it. So if they stay inside, they get some light, but not a ton. That probably has a lot to do with it, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something big.

    Thanks for your input, everyone.
     
  5. luzmiila

    luzmiila Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 23, 2015
    Hi !!! I have the same problem !!! I have one chicken. She has 1 and a half year ( 18 months). My chicken since 15 of March is not laying eggs. And this week is not eating (much). I put yogurt and has no eat so much like before. She eats a little of everything (lettuce, yogurt, water). She seems fine of health. Some sneezes but nothing else to worry.
    In november she was not eating nothing, lethargic and diarrhea poop, but she was sick. Now she looks normal, except for the not eating much and not laying eggs


    Here is autumn. Now the days are so much cold than in February. Today was 19°C max and 12° min.


    Some help ???
    Should I give her some medicine ? In november I gave her amoxicillin and she got better
     
  6. Kalija74

    Kalija74 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 6, 2013
    Sometimes we add water to our chickens feed to make a mash for them. They really enjoy it, and its a great way to keep them hydrated when the water freezes.
     
  7. luzmiila

    luzmiila Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 23, 2015
    here is not freezing. Only cold 12°C is not freezing anything.
     
  8. cheapcheepcheep

    cheapcheepcheep Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 18, 2012
    Littleton, MA
    Mine seems to be a seasonal thing. Now that I've had them a few years, I have learned the cycle. They only just started eating heartily a few weeks ago after not much at all since November. Laying is going nuts now too.

    Not sure if yours is seasonal, or something else. Do you have a vet who works with birds nearby? It might not hurt to get her checked out, if she was sick before. But it could also just be due to the time of year. I'm not a vet, just a guy who keeps detailed records of laying and other chicken activities.

    I would second making a mash of some sort - I have just put food, apple cider vinegar, and maybe some scratch in yogurt, and they'll eat that, even if they ignore the regular food.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2016
  9. red130

    red130 New Egg

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    Mar 24, 2016
    silverton CO,
    Thanks folks, ill try some of these things. Just recently started feeding them oatmeal everyone days ill try better forms of protien.
     
  10. luzmiila

    luzmiila Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 23, 2015
    Not vet her in my town. I will see if she shows another sympthoms. Now she is eating some yogurth with her food (corn and smash of vegetables). Not laying eggs. Tomorrow i post some pictures and a new report with more details.
     

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