chickens not eating pellets and not laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Sillychick8, Sep 18, 2013.

  1. Sillychick8

    Sillychick8 New Egg

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    Sep 18, 2013
    My 3 7 month old chickens have been laying eggs for 2 months now we have been getting eggs pretty much everyday till the last 3 days there have been non. We live in northwest Florida and its Sept of coarse so is it just that time of year where they stop laying so much... this is my first time with chickens but my husband mother had chicken all the time so he grew up with them but he cant remember when they stop laying for the season . They also have not been eating as much of there pellets as they where a 2 weeks ago they use to pig out now they hardly eat unless they get scraps like bread and veggies. They seem active and healthy they have lots of water and food available they have shade and a big running yard and fans to cool them. I kinda think they are spoiled to scraps so they dont want to eat the pellets even though getting scraps is only a once a week maybe twice a week thing they really like them so I thought maybe I should not feed them anything else but the pellets... My husband said his mother feed scrap food almost everyday to her chicken and they where fine. I dont know any help would be great. Thanks
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    At that age, they are probably not molting, though that is a possibility. In their first year most (not all, most) pullets skip the molt and continue laying throughout the winter. Are you seeing a lot of feathers flying around? Molting this time of year with the days getting shorter is a real common cause of them stopping laying.

    It sounds like yours free range. Are they hiding a nest from you? That’s another real common cause for them to “stop” laying.

    Is something getting the eggs? If the chickens themselves, rats, skunks, or possums are eating the eggs, you normally see signs like egg shells or a soggy mess in the nest. A raccoon will normally carry the eggs away to a safer place and eat them, so you might find a pile of shells on top of the coop or some other safe place. A snake will swallow them whole and leave no sign, but they usually don’t visit every day. A snake will usually eat the eggs then stay away two or three days to digest them before coming back. A canine, dog, fox, or coyote will swallow them whole and leave no sign. A fox or coyote would probably be more interested in your chickens than the eggs, but you never know. Do you have a pet dog that has learned that the egg song is an invitation to a free snack? If a human is taking the eggs, they would leave no signs.

    Has something stressed them lately? Run out of water, predator attack or fright, a change in the coop or their routine, extreme weather, adding or taking away flock members? Sometimes stress can throw them off laying for a while.

    If it has only been a day or two, they may just be taking a break, more of a coincidence that they all skipped at the same time.

    I would not worry about feeding them the scraps, especially if they forage for some of their food. If they are foraging much, you are not controlling what they eat that much anyway. Those scraps are not going to have any real effect on how many eggs they lay anyway. If they are high in protein and they eat a lot of them they may lay larger eggs, lower in protein the eggs will be a little smaller. But the number of eggs, no significant effect.

    I’m sure I’m forgetting some things that could cause them to stop or reduce laying. Molting and hiding a nest are the most common causes but there are plenty of other things that might have an effect. Good luck figuring it out.
     
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  3. Sillychick8

    Sillychick8 New Egg

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    Sep 18, 2013
    They are not free range but they have a larger then maybe normal pen to run around in but they are enclosed so I can find eggs easy so that not the problem but your right it may just be that they are all taking a break at the same time. I have not seen a lot of feathers just one or two here and there so I dont think they are molting yet. I will just keep a close eye on them to make sure they are not getting ill and get eggs when they are ready to lay again. :)
     

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