Egg Strike

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Jrose, Feb 14, 2015.

  1. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know everyone asks about egg-shortage issues, but dang! I hatched a round of chicks last April and kept 13 of them- and they STILL haven't laid an egg! Okay, okay, I got 2 or 3 tiny 'first eggs' in October and that was it. I have 6 older hens (2-5yo) who are laying daily (as of two weeks ago), and 1 out of 2 turkey hens are laying daily. But not a single egg from any of the young gals. All have tight combs and waddles still. Ameraucanas, marans, turkens, and orpingtons.

    They free-range 1/2 acre, are a healthy weight, have 11 nest box slots in the coop, and 3 more outside the coop (i recently built those hoping to encourage them), but of course the older girls fight over their favorite 2 boxes inside. No apparent diseases. Normal nicely formed feces, no lice or mites. I've got a light coming on at 6am for a full 12 hour day. They're on a local non-gmo ground pea, corn, and wheat mix of about 17% protein that I make 'oatmeal' out of daily, they've flourished on it in the icy weather. They also free-range for extra treats.

    They should otherwise be perfectly happy, but I'm grinding my teeth waiting for eggs! [​IMG]

    Possiblities:
    - the weather's been totally irratic this winter, 10 degrees one week, 60 the next
    - I've had a skunk visiting on and off since last summer. At one point he was just out in the yard with the girls and they kept about 15' from him but otherwise went about their business. The dog has attacked this thing several times but it's HUGE (and now limping). I haven't lost a chicken yet and it can't get into the coop. If they felt threatened, it seems odd the older girls would be laying and the younger not.

    At one point I thought it might be because I had too many roos, but I rehomed the last of my excess boys around the new year. There was never any aggression in the flock, and the girls aren't missing feathers or torn up. I've now got 4 roos to 19 girls (+2 turkeys). Only one roo seems to breed the older girls. The other three just hang out in the back and stay quiet. My 10mo hens won't let the boys breed with them. Should I separate two or three of the roos?

    Other than that I'm stumped!
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    How long have you had the '12 hours of light' going?

    Have you checked their pelvic points? They may be laying out in the range area.
    2 bony points on either side of vent:
    Less than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means not laying.
    More than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means laying.
     
  3. chixmaidservice

    chixmaidservice Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I got americauna chicks in early April last year. Two of my six have just started to lay w/in the last week. The australorp chicks I got at the same time have been laying since early October. I think late maturity is a trait w/ the Americauna.
     
  4. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aart: I've had the lighting since november I believe. It was coming on at 4am through the beginning of Jan since it got dark at 5. I switched it to 6am mid-Jan to match the sunset time, but they still go to bed around 5 or 6, even though it's not dark til 7 now. Thanks for the tip, I will check them. Almost all of them squat for me when I handle them, so I assumed they were at maturity, if not reaching it. They won't let the roos breed them though.

    Chix: I had heard that about the Ameraucanas and marans. My 5yo Ameraucana is laying daily, bless her heart, she's such an awesome hen. But nothing from the 4 new EEs, nor from 3 marans. There's also 4 turken girls and 3 orpington girls. I didn't go and get all late-maturing breeds, did I? :p
     
  5. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, and my old hens started laying in Jan, just one or two eggs, but as of two weeks ago all of them are laying. They are all old factory girls, sex link, 'red ranger', ameraucana, leghorn, and a buff cross.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Weird that they squat for you and not the roos...never seen that until I had to chase one down that got out of coop into where it didn't belong.

    Do you free range?....maybe they've found a secret spot...lock em up for a few days
     
  7. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All of the birds are very attached to me, even the roos walk up for pets. One of the roos (and at least half the hens) climb into my lap to cuddle whether I invite them or not! I figure that's why they squat for me.

    I checked pelvic bones. Some of the girls barely have 2-finger space between pelvic bones, some have 3-finger space. All of them went into squat/mating mode when I was checking :p Dorks.

    I've had my eyes out for eggsin the yard, but have not found any yet. Some days they are locked up anyways if I'm not home. I don't get any extra eggs on these days, and none of the 10mo hens have filled waddles or combs.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Oh OK, I'm not a chicken cuddler per say....tho I have a couple that loved to be picked up and I do enjoy indulging them.

    Well, sigh, I guess you're just gonna have to wait :(
    Days are getting longer, my 3yo's have started laying again just this last week...and they haven't laid all winter, despite 14 hours of lighting.
     
  9. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yesterday I separated two of the roosters. I checked the lay box this morning and found 2 fresh eggs. I heard 2 more egg songs not long after. I went to check, and there's currently three girls piled in between two boxes, all young gals! I've been waiting for over an hour for them to leave so I can see what the heck is going on :p Maybe taking the boys away was the key. I'M SO EXCITED. I want to kick them out of the lay box and find out already! Hahaha! [​IMG]
     
  10. garp94

    garp94 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    YEAH!

    Boys seem to always cause trouble. LOL
     

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