Entire flock abruptly stopped laying for no apparent reason, any ideas why?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Henraiser, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. Henraiser

    Henraiser Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 11, 2012
    Situation:

    Flock Size: 15 (all hens)
    Age: Hatched March 26, 2011 - 10.5 months old
    Breed makeup: 5 White Rock, 4 Blue Andalusian, 6 barred rocks
    Location: North Central Mississippi
    Recent Weather Conditions: Mild temperatures, low in 40's highs in 60's, sunny a few days, partly cloudy others...
    Enclosure: Hen House is 8' x 16' , 8 nesting boxes, pen area is 16' x 16' with 1 inch welded wire all sides and top. Predator proof (or at least highly resistant). Hens are always enclosed in the pen / house area.
    Feed: Layer Pellets, consistently the same brand
    Water: Plenty (kept fresh daily)
    Lighting: Only natural sunlight. No artificial lighting
    Environment outside of pen: No dogs, cats or other critters in the surrounding area causing disturbances. Pen is right next to my home.
    Rooster: None at any time.

    Hens began laying slowly in October 2011 and have laid since then with varying numbers of eggs until around the first of January. Since the first week in January and until one week ago, averaging 9-12 eggs each day very consistently. Last Saturday morning, February 4, gathered 10 eggs as had been normal. Absolutely zero eggs on Sunday and none up through today, February 11.

    Hens do not appear to be molting. There is no notable feather loss whatsoever, so I do not think they are molting. No changes in environment that I can determine. Nesting boxes are clean with fresh shavings with no change in type. The hens are eating normally and do not appear to be sick or showing any indications of behavioral differences other than no egg laying.

    Has anyone else experienced this type behavior? For the record, nobody could possibly be stealing the eggs and nothing is getting into the pen and there is nowhere else for them to have changed nesting spots.

    This has me completely stumped, and I am out of ideas. Anybody have any thoughts on what could have caused the abrupt stop in egg laying? (To repeat, there has been no detectable feather loss whatsoever.)

    Any help appreciated.
     
  2. so lucky

    so lucky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 31, 2011
    SE Missouri
    That does sound very strange. I believe it is too late in the season for them to be reacting to shorter days--mine are starting to pick up production now. No changes to their routine, apparently? It seems you have done your research before posting, which I commend. I can't suggest anything but just waiting it out. Maybe they are just taking a vacation.??? Maybe more experienced members can give you some answers. Welcome to the forum, by the way. [​IMG]
     
  3. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 16, 2012
    Texas
    Some hens do not lay consistently through the winter.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  4. Henraiser

    Henraiser Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 11, 2012
    Thanks for the welcome, "so lucky."

    To bullit, this is their first winter-- and a mild one at that.
     
  5. nurse_turtle

    nurse_turtle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 28, 2011
    Foothills of NC
    Union strike?
     
  6. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 16, 2012
    Texas
    At first I thought it was their second winter, and then I saw that it was their first winter, so I changed my response.

    The egg laying of chickens is generally affected by the length of the day. It can also be affected if it is extremely cold, but I know that is not a problem in your neck of the woods.

    Hopefully they are just taking a winter break, and hopefully they will start laying consistently again soon.
     
  7. Farm_Maven

    Farm_Maven Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 7, 2011
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    HenRaiser....I noticed you are located in north central Mississippi......So am I. Tishomingo to be exact. I am having the same problem. Went from 15 to 19 eggs a day to 9-10, and 12 today. I think this freakish weather is causing it.
     
  8. PatS

    PatS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 28, 2009
    Northern Califonia
    Any chance they've got a hidden nest? Today I found one full of eggs, but my girls free range.

    I chicken-sat for a friend and was surprised that there were no eggs the last day I sat for them. They had gotten into the FEEDER and were laying their eggs in there. It was a big feeder, but not so big they that they would have been comfortable. Apparently one did it and the rest thought it was a great idea...
     
  9. Farm_Maven

    Farm_Maven Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I did consider maybe a hidden nest, but left the chooks in the coop and run all day yesterday, still only 10 eggs in my case.
     
  10. Henraiser

    Henraiser Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 11, 2012
    Farm_maven, I don't think weather explains it in my case. I went from 9-12 everyday for a month and then immediately to zero for seven days and counting. A hidden nest is not possible in my case. This is the ost baffling experience I have had with my chickens.
     

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