Flock suddenly stopped laying- not molting

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lemurchaser, Feb 6, 2011.

  1. lemurchaser

    lemurchaser Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 11, 2008
    Corvallis, OR
    I have a flock of 10 hens of various ages and breeds. They all molted between Nov-Dec and some were starting to lay again. For the past month I've been getting 2-3 eggs a day (I'm guessing 4 chickens were laying). And I got my first olive egger egg 6 days ago. Then 5 days ago they all stopped. I thought maybe they were laying else where, so I started keeping them in (they free range a few days a week usually), but two days on lock down and still no eggs. I searched the coop, run and nest boxes and nothing, not even broken eggs or evidence of nesting behavior. Everyone seems healthy, good appetites, very active, no parasites.

    About 8 days ago they ran out of food and got pretty low on water, it was likely about 24 hours before I noticed (I know, bad chicken owner). Would this shock them enough to stop laying? I'm baffled. In the 4 years I've had chickens, I've never had this happen.
  2. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    Remember they are animals any stresses can cause them to stop laying.

    They ran low on food and water, then- they then got locked up.

    Is there light where they are locked up?

    Also egg eating leaves little/no evidence
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2011
  3. lemurchaser

    lemurchaser Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 11, 2008
    Corvallis, OR
    They are used to being locked up, they only get to free range when the weather is nice (and I live in Oregon), so that shouldn't be too stressful. I don't have lights on them, but they have a large fully enclosed run that they have 24/7 access to. I guess I'm surprised that running out of food would shock them that much, but that's my only working theory right now. It's crossed my mind that maybe a predator is bothering them at night, but the run/coop is entirely predator proof.

    I'm wondering about egg eating, but I'd expect to see some dried yolk in the nest boxes, but they don't even seem to be even going in there.

    If I did shock them into stopping laying, how long before they get back to laying again?
  4. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    You might not have done it there might be a bugaboo around scarring them, they will lay whenever they make the eggs-

    I always get the next days egg and then they take a break if something gets my hen's feathers in a bunch.
  5. obaan1

    obaan1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2010
    Great Lakes State
    I also am guessing "stress". Their pen might be predator proof but they don't know that. It could be a combo factor between the food and water issue and a scare from something.
    Time to practice patience.
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I think look again.

    mine have had that little bit of stress, and while a few might have a day off, not the whole flock.

    Yesterday, I went down, and was just sick, I was missing my only white hen. She stands out. Everything was locked up, so as I had let them free range a bit on Friday, I thought that I must not have counted Friday night. Dang.

    Imagine my surprise when I went down this morning and there she was.... where had she been? I took a flashlight, and sure enough, in a corner, under the roost. I have the hay piled deep there, and she had hollowed out a spot underneath the hay, next to the wall. Two nice eggs there, and not from the same hen.

    I think that you have a hidden nest.

  7. rrrmamma

    rrrmamma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 27, 2010
    New Concord,Ohio
    We have had a rotten winter in Central Ohio. Last week the winds roared through shaking the coop and our house. We were frozen in and couldn't get out to go to the feed store. I had to use some cracked corn to supplement my 20 hens feed. They usually give me 14 -16 eggs a day. For the last week I was getting 8 -9. Today they are back to normal 14 eggs. Be patient. Stress of any kind seems to throw my girls off.
  8. lemurchaser

    lemurchaser Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 11, 2008
    Corvallis, OR
    It's been a week now since anyone laid an egg. It's so weird, they didn't taper off or anything, just one day no eggs. I've been watching the girls quite a bit this week, they seem calm, happy, good appetites, all are healthy... hmmm. I'll keep my eyes on them.

    I went ahead and let them out to free range this afternoon, since it seems there is no hidden nest problem (I've checked every nook in the coop/run). I'm a bit worried they could be fighting off some infectious thing, but no signs yet.
  9. Winggedheart

    Winggedheart Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 18, 2010
    Worms? We have to treat our chickens every year to every two years, just in case.
  10. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2008
    Snakes? Rats? Can you check on them every hour or so to see if they are in a nest?
    Are they squatting?

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