GAHHH!!!! HENS ON STRIKE! No demands given yet though...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by guesswhatchickenbutt, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. guesswhatchickenbutt

    guesswhatchickenbutt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 5, 2009
    Central FL
    When I got chickens a couple of years ago I knew I'd be one of those people who kept my old aging eggless hens as pets even after they stopped laying. But I did not expect this to start at age 2. To say I'm frustrated is an understatment. Here is what I know about my 3 hens on strike that seem to dispell most of the "why aren't they laying" threads.

    1) The days aren't shorter because it's summer.

    2) It's an open coop so I know they're getting plenty of daylight.

    3) They get plenty of table scraps, good quality layer feed and they have access to the grass yard about 3x a week. (The rest of the time it's their grass-less dirt run)

    4) They appear healthy, but I'm no vet. Their feathers aren't quite as shiny and full as before.... their combs are a *little* less red, but they're bright-eyed and happy. I checked the vent areas for cooties - nothing. I poked around their feathers for mites - nothing. They seem relatively normal hens. Granted it's hot as all get out here in Central Florida in the heat of summer, but they didn't act like overwhelmed debutantes last summer - why now?

    5) They don't appear to be molting. No more loose feathers around than normal.

    6) Upon close-up examination of their poo, it seems normal and chickeny. Nothing seems....shudder....alive in it and nothing seems runnier than usual.

    7) I don't think snakes are eating the eggs because we have a really good apron around the coop so it'd have to be a really really skinny snake to squeeze thru the hardwire cloth....but I suppose it's possible???

    8) They haven't posted any demands on the barn door, but why would they need electric blankets in summer in Florida anyway?????

    So I'm not sure what to do. I have 3 hens who are laying a TOTAL of about 1-2 eggs a week...on a good week. The eggs look and taste just fine when I get them. They also never had a lull in egg-production over the winter months, which surprised me, so maybe my Florida chickens have their seasons mixed up. I'm at the point that I'm going to have to BUY eggs. Can you imagine? My kids want pancakes for breakfast and I have no eggs to make them with....

    Suggestions? Ideas? Is there a professional chicken negotiator in the house???

    The only thing I can think of - and this seems like a heckuva stretch - is that around April-May-ish, my stupid XL puppy broke the gate on the chicken run and got in and terrorized them. Two got away and one was terrorized and nibbled on for a bit before my husband rescued her. It was nothing a little blu-kote couldn't fix and they were back acting normally the next day (no bite wounds - just pulled out feathers). The situation was remedied and the puppy can't get them now. Oddly, that was about the time they all stopped laying. We're talking 3 months ago. Isn't that long enough to get over a stressful event? Maybe I should consider counseling [​IMG]

    I suppose at the heart of it all is an underlying fear that they could be sick and I am missing something. I guess I'm hoping to hear that such a long strike is normal and that you think they'll snap out of it soon..... I keep assuming they will but the weeks are turning into months.

    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011
  2. dcs02d

    dcs02d Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 15, 2010
    I had that problem. Turn out they were laying some eggs under the hen house and some in the house.
  3. MARANMAN2011

    MARANMAN2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 7, 2011
    I think its because its to stinking hot. Mine do that some times.
  4. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    You never know how chickens will react to stress. If a mere move from one coop, to another across town and introduction to a new flock has mine not laying for 3 weeks running, I wonder how long a scary dog chasing them down and ripping feathers out of one of their own might freak them out for?

    I'm having issues too. Mine all seem happy (except the one or two with the sneezes, but they are laying). The newer ones should all be laying now, after a 3 week lull because of the move. I'm keeping them in the coop/run until noon, maybe 1pm to get some laying out of them, then free range until dark, and the only scraps they are getting for a while will include very high protein, like meat or fish. Put a total halt on everything else, like bread. I've already noticed that one of my "should be laying" hens has reddened up a bit and has been eating layer the last 2 days like it's the endtimes. We'll see if that's a sign of anything...

    Good luck!
  5. wrldlygrrl

    wrldlygrrl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2011
    Decatur, GA
    Sounds like you need a flock therapist!!!
  6. Ruth Ann

    Ruth Ann Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2010
    South Carolina
    Well mine are laying a lot less in our horrid heat. I can't say I blame them. Guess they will lay when they get cooled down.
  7. guesswhatchickenbutt

    guesswhatchickenbutt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 5, 2009
    Central FL
    Well maybe it's just too darned hot. Hmph. [​IMG]

    They can't lay elsewhere because they're in a really controlled area and I've searched it like a lunatic...


    Lesson in patience #192137 - Hens on strike in a hot Florida summer.

  8. DKM

    DKM Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 9, 2009
    I have 18 hens and today I got 5 eggs![​IMG] It has been hit or miss for the past few weeks. So what's up? This is like winter time production. One of my sons has joined a new gym and he said he will need lots of eggs. Gee I wish I had lots of eggs![​IMG]
  9. I-Have-Happy-Hens

    I-Have-Happy-Hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 16, 2010
    Carrboro, NC
    Could they lay under the coop are hens were doing the same thing this week looked under the coop (are coop in only a foot off the ground) and there was a nest of 30 eggs all in a little dirt nest.
  10. guesswhatchickenbutt

    guesswhatchickenbutt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 5, 2009
    Central FL
    Nah - I wish it were that simple. The bottom of my coop is "aproned" in with the hardwire cloth to keep out predators so there aren't any nooks or crannies for my birds to hide eggs....

    I suppose misery loves company - so although I feel bad for those of you in my boat - I feel better knowing I'm not alone.

    I'M EGGLESS!!!!!!!!!!! OH THE HUMANITY! [​IMG]

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