Chickens stopped laying in early December- should I be worried?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by THV, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. THV

    THV In the Brooder

    Feb 23, 2009
    Hi BYC gang. I have a flock of 10 chickens that are about a year old. I live in Berkeley, CA. They started laying last summer, and were consistently giving me between 7-9 eggs per day. Sometime in November they started to taper down to 3-4 per day, and then one day in early December the laying stopped- except for one a day...and has not resumed. I don't want to put a light in the coop to force them to lay, I just want to be sure this is normal and I should not be worried about something. I've been feeding them lay crumble since they started laying, food has not been changed. They've been molting a bit, nobody has lost a massive amount of feathers, but they are definitely looking a bit scraggly at the moment. Any suggestions or ideas on when I can look forward to eggs again.

    On a separate topic, I'm getting 3 new baby chicks tomorrow, and tips on introducing them to the flock?
  2. TXmom

    TXmom Songster

    It might be normal because of the weather and reduced daylight, especially if they are really molting. But just to be sure, check them for lice/mites. You can look around the vent area and also under their wings. I had a significant drop in egg production but I didn't worry about it too much because of the weather, but then I found out they had lice under their wings. Cleared that up with Sevin Dust and DE and my egg production picked back up.

    I have an indoor brooder for my chicks where they stay for the first several weeks of their life. As far as introducing new chicks, I usually let my older birds run around in the fenced-in backyard, then put the chicks (starting at about 3-4 weeks old) out in the yard with them while I watch. If the big ones get too rough, I step between them and push the big ones away. I do this a little bit every day for a couple weeks until they get more used to each other. Then, when the babies are ready to go outside permanently (about 6-7 weeks old for me), I put them in the coop with the big ones at night while they're roosting. I also go outside bright and early to make sure nobody is fighting in the morning. So far, I haven't had a problem with this. The big ones might pick on the little ones a little bit, but they learn to get along once they establish their pecking order. If your big ones are more aggressive than mine, then you might need to try something else, like putting a fence between them.
  3. chookchick

    chookchick Songster

    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    Sounds like they may be going through a mini-molt. See if you can up their protein a bit to help them regain feathers, with high protein treats or a higher level crumble. They should begin laying again as the days get longer, but a good once over for pests, and checking poo for worms wouldn't hurt.

    If you can free-range them together like TXmom that is a great way to introduce. Because I have to keep them in a run, I keep them separated until older (4 months), then in adjoining pens for at least 3 weeks, then supervised visits for a few days until complete integration. During integration, I distract them with large containers, treats all over, places to hide, etc...

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