Do silkys stop laying during summer?

AusHen

Crowing
Jun 21, 2018
901
3,154
276
QLD Australia
All my silkies stopped during the high heat we got in spring and still aren't laying, but with how hot it is I dont blame them. One has decided it is perfect weather to go broody. A fair dew of my other breeds have also slowed down so Im thinking its their summer break
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,044
22,686
907
Southeast Louisiana
It's summer in Australia and my silkys have not layed since the beginning of the season.

Can you please tell us about their laying history? When did they start and stop, how old are they, and do you use lights in winter to extend laying? There may be some possibilities in that. How many do you have also.

The most common reason for hens to not lay is the molt. I know it is not molting season for you but different things can cause a molt out of season. Are you seeing a lot of feathers floating around.

One reason we think they are not laying is that they are hiding nests. Is that a possibility?

Can something be getting the eggs? I don't know your predators but here in the US most egg eaters leave some type of clue, either egg shells or at least a wet spot. This includes if it is the chickens eating the eggs. I've found wet spots when that happened even when they ate the shell. The ones that don't leave clues are snakes, canines, and humans. I wouldn't be surprised if you had other potential predators.

I don't think it is a snake. A snake will eat some eggs (how many depending on how big it is) then go away for a few days to digest them before it comes back for more. It's not an everyday thing. You get eggs for a day or two and then some are missing.

Here a fox or coyote would probably be more interested in your chickens that the eggs. I'd think a dingo would be the same. But a dog will often eat eggs and not bother the chickens. Do you or your neighbors have a dog that has access? Or do you have another predator that may carry eggs away?

I'll let you think about humans. It doesn't have to be a thief as such. Sometimes a family member has a real sick sense of humor.

Extreme heat or cold will cause them to reduce production. I've never had them totally stop for ether of those but production can be greatly reduced. Still in parts of Australia your heat can be intense.

There are diseases that will cause them to stop laying, but if they are acting normal that's probably not it.

I don't know how long it's been since the beginning of your season. Stress can stop them form laying. Things like running out of water for a while, adding or removing flock members so the pecking order changes, change in feed, change in housing, or such. Usually they get over this in a few weeks but for some it can last a while.

So what can you do? If they free range can you lock them in the coop or coop and run for a few days? If you get eggs that means they are hiding a nest or you locked out something that was eating eggs. Maybe mark a real egg or two and leave it down there. If they disappear you'll know something is getting the eggs.

Good luck. These things are often not that easy and often the solution is patience. But not always.
 

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