Chickens not laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Jimjimmyjimjim, Oct 14, 2014.

  1. Jimjimmyjimjim

    Jimjimmyjimjim New Egg

    2
    0
    7
    Oct 14, 2014
    First off, I'm new here so, HI!

    We've been raising chickens in our backyard for several years. They have a run which is about 75' by 12' (mixed sun and shade) , a coup with 4 roosts and a loft for them to sleep in. I put a light in the coup that is set on a timer to go on in the morning and give them at least 13 hours of light. We currently have 12 hens, no roasters. 9 of them are over 2 years old and 3 of them are about 4 months old.

    For most of their lives the 9 older hens have been good layers, yielding about 6 or 7 eggs a day. But about May (5 months ago) some began to molt and the eggs began to taper off as well. By July they were down to 2 or 3 a day. They replaced all of their feathers by August but the egg yield continued to drop. We added the 3 new hens in about August when they were old enough. Now we get about 1 egg per day, sometimes 2.

    The hens all look healthy and eat their regular food plus scraps and seed supplements. We've added calcium and protein to their feed but it didn't make any difference. I can't see any parasites and they don't seem to be doing anything like pulling their feathers out or taking excessive dust baths. I've looked for signs that they are eating the eggs but can't find any - no shell bits or spilled contents. I haven't seen any signs of predators that might be eating the eggs either. And there's no place for them to hide their eggs.

    So, it seems certain that the production has dropped way off but we can't figure out why. Do you have any suggestions? Can you suggest some way of eliminating possible causes?

    Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Jim H
     
  2. Outpost JWB

    Outpost JWB Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,455
    361
    228
    Mar 31, 2014
    Ohio
    Some hens stop laying around 3 years old. And most do not start laying until 6-7months. What breed are they? And what do you mean by regular feed? Layer pellets?
     
  3. mtngirl35

    mtngirl35 Chillin' With My Peeps

    460
    67
    121
    Dec 10, 2013
    Tennessee
    Welcome to BYC. My friend went thru this 5 or 6 months ago with her flock of 22 hens. She went from getting at least 18 eggs a day to 6 or less. This went on for about a month and then all at once they kicked back into overdrive. She never found a reason it. All were healthy, they weren't molting, and they had a healthy diet. I wonder sometimes if their bodies just take a break when it needs it? Maybe someone else here can offer some more insight.
     
  4. Jimjimmyjimjim

    Jimjimmyjimjim New Egg

    2
    0
    7
    Oct 14, 2014
    We have several breeds, leghorn, ameraucana, Plymouth rock, Rhode Island Red, Australorp, etc. I've always been told that hens will usually lay eggs until they are 5 to 7 years old and they will taper off after a couple of years but not stop suddenly. The bulk of the reduction occurred in 1 to 2 months. Some of the 9 older chickens are only 1 year old and they have stopped too.
    We feed them Layer pellets. Have been for years. What I meant by regular feed is we have been feeding them the same food since we started, years ago.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014
  5. Outpost JWB

    Outpost JWB Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,455
    361
    228
    Mar 31, 2014
    Ohio
    Hmmm. I am puzzled. You have been raising chickens far longer than I have. And you seem to be doing everything right. Mine have REALLY reduced number of eggs due to molt and it's been cloudy, cold and dreary in Ohio. I don't have a light in the coop.

    Do you worm them regularly? If so, when was last time? Some worms are not visible from the naked eye.

    We have had both snakes and rats steal eggs out of the coop and didn't know it for a while.

    By the way, WELCOME TO BACKYARD CHICKENS!![​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by