Flock Hasn't Laid in Over 2 Months

LOOKATTHATSHINE

In the Brooder
May 12, 2018
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I'll make this as short as possible - I have 6 adult hens who laid regularly all last year. They laid regularly up until a little over 2 months ago when they all just stopped completely - my wife and I suspected a snake and eventually found one in the coop, but after putting some fake eggs out and them remaining untouched we disregarded that idea (and we never saw the snake again after the first time).

Their diet has remained the same for the last two years, and there are only two factors we think that can possibly be the cause of this:

- we brought in 5 new babies about 5 months ago, which are now fully integrated into the coop & with the adults

- we had to quit letting them free range back in the spring due to several hawk attacks (we now let them out and about in a chicken tractor, but no more free ranging)

Other than a light molt that several of them have gone through since the weather has changed they all appear to be perfectly healthy... so what gives? Neither of us have seen any of the girls in or around their lay boxes since they stopped, so we are absolutely clueless...

Thanks in advance for any help that can be provided.

***edit: my wife informed it’s actually been 3 months since they went from laying 3-4 per day to zero***
 
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LOOKATTHATSHINE

In the Brooder
May 12, 2018
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15
29
How many hours of daylight do your girls get? (natural or artificial)

We don’t use any artificial lighting.
When they stopped laying in September, they were getting about 13 hrs of daylight. Now they are getting about 10 hrs. We were getting concerned since it stopped so abruptly when they were still laying a little this time last year. Our neighbor has also told us that their chickens are still laying quite a bit.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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How old are they, in months?
Shortening days stops laying and triggers molt..can start as early as August.
Laying won't resume until days get longer, could be January ...or March.
 

LOOKATTHATSHINE

In the Brooder
May 12, 2018
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How old are they, in months?
Shortening days stops laying and triggers molt..can start as early as August.
Laying won't resume until days get longer, could be January ...or March.
The babies are 5 and a half months old so they haven’t started laying at all yet. We were worried more about our adults not laying though. They’re all about 3 years old and different breeds (polish, Brahma, buff Orpington, Plymouth Rock, and Cali white). They did all molt but have been back to normal and all appear healthy. They went from 3-4 eggs to none literally in a few days. I guess we were just confused since they were still laying a little well into November last year- I remember because we went out of town then and my brother was excited to collect and keep the eggs.
Thank you for the reply. We’re at a loss.
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
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How old are they, in months?
Shortening days stops laying and triggers molt..can start as early as August.
Laying won't resume until days get longer, could be January ...or March.
I agree. They are past their peak for laying at 3 years old. Many birds will slow down and some stop completely especially during the molt. The youngsters I would think will start laying in the next month or two. I would check the protein of the feed. I give mine higher protein feed during the molt.
 

LOOKATTHATSHINE

In the Brooder
May 12, 2018
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29
I agree. They are past their peak for laying at 3 years old. Many birds will slow down and some stop completely especially during the molt. The youngsters I would think will start laying in the next month or two. I would check the protein of the feed. I give mine higher protein feed during the molt.
We just use dumor organic, it’s 16% if I’m not mistaken. I will definitely try giving them a higher protein feed though, thank you!
Hopefully you’re right and it’s just their age and not something worse :(
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
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Nov 18, 2007
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Florida
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If you can't find the higher protein feed, you can give them Game Bird feed which is usually around 20%. It won't hurt them.
 

Goddessmother

Chirping
Jun 17, 2017
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Northern California
Someone already suggested artificial light. If they are not free ranging, you need to feed them greens. Mow the lawn and give them the clippings. Pull the weeds and give it to them. Pull all your neighbor's weeds for them, too. Hook up with a landscape crew at some apartments in town and get their weekly grass clippings. It is amazing how much greens the poultry can eat.

Amp up the protein intake. Either try a bag of game bird feed, or add sunflower seeds or dried worms and bugs as a supplemental treat. No need to peel the sunflower seeds. I find that my hens will lay more eggs when I reward them with dried worms.
 

PirateGirl

Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist
Mar 11, 2017
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So it sounds like you know why they stopped with the introduction of new birds and a molt. Even though they may be done with their molt, we are now at some of the shortest days of the year. I would not expect anyone to resume laying (or in the case of younger birds start laying for the first time) until the days start getting longer again. Sometimes the lengthening daylight is enough to trigger laying even if the days are still quite short overall. Somehow they just know that longer warmer days are on the horizon.
 

MANNA-PRO

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