Complete laying stop

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ShortHenTallPen, Sep 13, 2016.

  1. ShortHenTallPen

    ShortHenTallPen Out Of The Brooder

    55
    0
    46
    Jan 18, 2015
    Ontario, Canada
    Hi everyone, over the last month my hens have been through some pretty traumatic stuff: first, there were too many roosters who were abusing them, their coop was not properly cleaned and there may have been some sick chicken, and then to cap it all off a very aggressive dog strolled onto our property and killed 6 (they are free ranged) while the others ran for their lives. We had been noticing an egg decrease for some time, but after that they went to 0.

    Afterwards, we dispatched all roos but one, cleaned and disinfected the coop and switched to sand litter, moved their nesting boxes... and nothing. It has been two weeks, and no eggs - just none. We have about 8 laying age hens and about 15 more who should have started laying by now (they're at 18 weeks now). We are unsure what to do. We could give a course of antibiotics to attack any lingering disease, or maybe the stress has simply proven too much and they need more time to recover. Ideas?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,690
    2,639
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    You don't say the breed but 18 week old pullets aren't overdue to lay. Most breeds start from 20 to 26 weeks.
    You also don't say how old the mature hens are.
    Add to that the fact that days are getting shorter and delays onset of lay.
    This is all completely normal this time of year and there's no reason to give medication if they don't have an obvious disease that has been diagnosed - and is curable with antibiotics. Chickens - just like humans - can be afflicted with hundreds of health problems. The bulk of which can't be cured with antibiotics. Never treat prophylactically. That just creates superbugs.
    Stress is most definitely the cause of cessation of lay as well as this is the time of year to molt.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
    2 people like this.
  3. ShortHenTallPen

    ShortHenTallPen Out Of The Brooder

    55
    0
    46
    Jan 18, 2015
    Ontario, Canada
    Thank you so much for the calming and reassuring post - pretty much what I was looking for. Our older birds include 3 buff orpingtons that are at least 2 years old, ameraucanas that are at least a year old and a speckled sussex that is a year old. Our new birds are faverolles, andalusians, welsummers and ameraucanas.

    We used to get about 6-7 eggs a day (sometimes more) about a month ago but since then have lost 5 birds in production - we sent some bumblefooted hens to chicken heaven at the same time as the roo and lost one mysteriously. She just died.

    Last winter we used to have a light on from 6 AM to 9 PM, maybe it's time to turn it back on.
     
  4. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    20,784
    3,927
    401
    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    The older birds are probably going to start molting, if they aren't already.
     
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,690
    2,639
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    You don't need the light on all day unless they stay indoors. Just come on in the morning to extend the day till they go outside.
    I don't do that till all recover from molt and that's usually in December. Adding light in half hour or hour increments over time is the best approach.
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,452
    3,530
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I think you've just hit a hole in production.

    the older ladies are probably reaching molt. The 2 year old hens would be motling this time of year, and anyone else who is 15+ months is also prime age. This recent stress could have brought on molting a month or so early, also.

    Your 18 week old birds are just taking their time. Of those breeds, I'd look for the Andalusian and Welxummer to lay first, but neither of those are high production birds. I'd say a month or so before eggs from them wouldn't be out of line. Easter eggers are a crapshoot, and Faverolles aren't production birds at all.

    You might start adding light in the morning. I agree you don't need it on while the sun is up--that's just wasting power. Time it to come on a bit earlier each day.

    Sorry you've had such a run of bad luck with our birds lately.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by