Could Hurricane Michael have caused my chickens to stop laying?

Magilmer

Hatching
Nov 30, 2018
4
10
4
Panama City, FL
My chickens were unfortunately out during the Hurricane. That’s actually not a bad thing because a giant oak uprooted and landed on their coop and squished it to splinters. I haven’t been able to find even one egg in a month and a half. My fences are all down and the chickens were roaming into neighboring yards and I thought they must be laying somewhere outside the yard. I fixed the fences at least to where they can’t get out, but that was 2 weeks ago and still no eggs. I’m just assuming that the terrifying storm, losing their coop, and the yard looking a great deal different than it used too (no trees standing) has made them stop laying. My old RIR hasn’t laid in a good while anyway, but my Isa Brown was laying every day and the Easter Egger was laying. Any thoughts or suggestions? Should I think something is wrong? If it weren’t both of the layers, I would think maybe one was ill? Oh and they don’t have a coop yet. They are in a temporary spot and aren’t real happy with it.
 

staceyj

Enabler
Jan 1, 2017
7,998
45,721
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Coastal NC
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I live in nc.
The hurricane in September put an immediate halt to my hens laying. Then they all went into a molt.
1 has resumed laying about a week ago, every other day.

Maybe it’s a coincidence and might have to do with the shortened days but I think the hurricane did precipitate it.
 

Magilmer

Hatching
Nov 30, 2018
4
10
4
Panama City, FL
Thank you and I had an inkling that may be it. I still have a big tree down where their coop was. I thought I would try to replicate the original as best as I could, but there is still much to do before I can get it going. The chickens tried to go to the spot where the coop was in the evenings for a couple of weeks after the storm and they hated me making them go to a different spot and it’s not a coop at all, just an alcove really that is part of my house out back...it’s the only place that had 3 walls and I could secure them at night. They don’t like it a bit. I just knew that was the main problem. I hope to have a coop before winter for sure, but it’s just overwhelming the big stuff that needs to be done. It’s just me and my 2 sisters and we’re working all day every day trying to get things done without help. We ain’t spring chickens (pardon the pun) anymore. Thanks so much for helping.
 

Magilmer

Hatching
Nov 30, 2018
4
10
4
Panama City, FL
And weird as it is, mine went into molting too. Maybe it’s just that time, but for whatever reason, mine have always molted about late August. In Florida we really don’t have Fall, or Spring, for that matter. We have a very short winter in January and it’s basically summer from then on. So I’m not sure it was time for them to molt, I just think the storm was scary scary for them since they escaped their coop and run where I put them before the hurricane got bad and then ended up out in it the whole time. They’d all be dead now had they not gotten out, so thank God they escaped that. I was in tears in the house because I suddenly realized that I should not have locked them in. I was going to run out and unlatch the run door (my sisters wouldn’t let me) and then a tree branch glanced the coop and popped the door open and the chickens scattered. Again, thank God!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
96,743
130,753
1,807
SW Michigan
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Did they molt this past August?

Molt usually is triggered by the shortening days,
August is when that shortening starts to accelerate.
Stress can trigger a molt too.

A lot for you all to go thru....hang in there.
 

Breezy Farm

In the Brooder
Apr 2, 2016
1
0
19
Florida Panhandle
Hi Magilmer, I too live in the Sandhills North of Panama City on a small hobby farm. My flock of 10, spent the Michael event outside in the barn. We housed a rooster in a dog pen beside the coop and removed the one we had with the girls because he was herding them into a corner early morning. My experience is very similar to yours in that we lost the metal roof to the barn early on. I tried to reach the barn but due to flying debris and wind was talked back into the house. Our flock was traumatized but all survived. It was a blessing they had a 12 × 12 hen house 12 foot tall with 2 solid sides as sand blasting winds made the wood panels feather soft and tore all the bark from trees. After the worst part of Michael passed, we went outside fully expecting losses,. Our roos crowed during the storm and were a comfort to neighbors and us that they were surviving. Yes you could faintly hear them over trees cracking and howling winds. The flock survived, They were missing feathers, scared and seemed disoriented. Promptly the family that was always together had to be broken up the be housed safely and protected. We lost old standing oaks and pines, with two impacting a large outdoor run, familiar stomping grounds look different and are not accessible yet. As far as laying... the girls are still recovering and the only one producing an egg is one hen who stayed inside with us during the storm, to comfort a pet duck. I truly believe animals feel trama and stress, just watching them during cleanup was sad as they responded to the noise and added activity. Clean up will continue for months so not sure if they will ever be pre Mich normal. Also increased members at our house and other animal visitors did not help any. You are not alone in your efforts. I would love to meet you and offer any help i can give.
 

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