Do chicks make laying hens nervous?

brewfarm

In the Brooder
Dec 4, 2017
48
30
49
Redmond, Washington
My chicks will be 7 weeks old Wednesday. I've had them in a brooder, in the coop. When they were 4 weeks old I shut off the heat lamp and opened up the brooder. They've been separated from the hens with chicken wire. Last Friday I took down the chicken wire and they started mingling. The chicks and hens seem to be getting along. No fights over who's the queen of the coop, no fights around the feeders. So far only one chick has ventured out into the yard. But, the number of eggs I've gotten has dropped 20% in the past 2 days. Could the hens be nervous, or something, and not laying because of the chicks?
If it weren't for the eggs I'd be pretty pleased with myself. All the chicks I got seem to be happy, healthy, I didn't lose any, and otherwise everybody seems to get along.
 

brewfarm

In the Brooder
Dec 4, 2017
48
30
49
Redmond, Washington
Do you free range?
They might have found a quieter nesting area.

They free range in a fenced yard. They're not getting out beyond that and there's no place to hide eggs. The chicks are now roaming the yard, but staying close to the coop. I'm guessing bobbi-j is right and it will come up in a few days. As it turns out it's not that drastic. I'm getting 5 cartons of eggs every two days instead of 6.
 

christwodog

Songster
Jan 16, 2017
429
726
186
I just put my 3 weeks olds out into the baby coop last week and I've noticed a drop in egg laying also. The hens can see and hear the chicks but not touch, clearly they aren't too happy with the intruders! Hopefully they will all settle in! They aren't big fans of any changes, that's for sure!
 

JedJackson

Crossing the Road
5 Years
Jul 6, 2016
6,831
20,825
942
NW Washington state
If the diet is the same and there are no new stresses outside of the chicks, then yes, that is probably the cause. As said above, chickens really hate change of any kind. But they'll adapt and get back to normal quickly in all likelihood.
 

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