Chickens stopped laying.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ClevelandRick, Feb 23, 2016.

  1. ClevelandRick

    ClevelandRick New Egg

    Mar 19, 2014

    I have 3 chickens-- Australorp, Easter Egger, and Barred Rock. They will be two years old this Spring-- 2016. Prior to last fall, they all seemed happy and were laying regularly. (There was a brief period of a problem with pecking and feather loss early-mid last year, but I deduced that was out of boredom and I placed more objects and straw in the run, and that resolved the issue.) Then, last fall they all began molting and egg production slowed, then stopped. Their last production was in mid-November 2015. I wasn't worried at first-- I know molting can stop/slow production and there was also the onset of Winter (I live in Cleveland, Ohio), and I don't provide any alternative light source, so I expected low production. But, they have not produced a single egg since, and it is now nearing the end of February.

    They seem happy and normal, otherwise. They are all eating regularly and their plumage fully returned a while ago. I feed them commercial layer pellets and supplement with black sun flower seeds, puppy chow, and kitchen scraps. Other than not laying, their behavior seems normal, except they seem to spend a lot of time in the coop, rather than the run (but, I assume that is just because of the cold). I was concerned that they might be laying and one or more eating eggs, but there is no evidence of that-- no shells pieces or anything, and they haven't been sitting in the nesting boxes, which they used regularly and with no problems until last November.

    It's been 3+ months and it seems strange that they would all stop producing at the same time and for so long. Is this normal (or, at least, not abnormal)?

    Thanks in advance for any information and/or advice.

    (worried chicken owner)
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop
    What you are experiencing is not entirely abnormal - as you noted, they molted and then went into the lower light period of winter -- with daylight hours increasing you should be seeing them start to show signs of coming back online. Are they pale/dry looking in the face, comb, wattles? If so, when you see those start to redden back up and become plump and waxy looking you know that the hormones are kicking in for egg production to start back up. Several of my second year girls have only started back into good production in the last couple of weeks.
    All that being said - do the birds free range (leaving the possiblity of hidden nests in play)? If they are showing physical signs of being in production (face/comb/wattle condition, vent condition, etc) you need to consider they are laying but you are not getting the eggs - either from hidden nests, predation or egg eating. If they are not giving physical signs of being actively in production you'll just need to wait it out.
  3. akddr

    akddr New Egg

    Apr 3, 2015
    Juneau, AK
    We had a house/chicken sitter who I think left the chickens cooped up for a few days with no light and their food was empty when I came home. I have since been giving them lots of extra food ands protein such as meal worms. The two Plymouth barred rock hens stopped laying but the Auracana is laying every other day. The rocks have started to molt a few feathers as well, Does anyone know if 3 days of neglect would cause the semi-molting and non laying?
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016

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