help me troubleshoot why my hens stopped laying!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by RisingSpring, Aug 19, 2014.

  1. RisingSpring

    RisingSpring Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 30, 2011
    Northwestern PA
    i have 19 hens, 2 roosters. pretty much all heritage breeds. one is a young hen born here last summer. about half are probably 2 years old, and the other half i don't know, i got them from a friend.. they may be older. they are free range, forage all day, and also get a bit of blue seal organic feed. they drink water from a natural spring, and also from a pond (which i have wondered whether that could be problematic?)

    last year i was getting at least a dozen eggs a day. they slowed down during winter, as is expected (i don't keep lights on) but was still getting 6-8 per day. in march, they stopped. it went down to 2-3 a day. i thought maybe they would be molting, and most of them eventually did in late april. but they never started laying regularly again, and it's august now!!! [​IMG]

    i know for sure my young hen born here last year lays, i see her in the nest box. my buff orpington, about 2-3 years old, lays too. that's it. i think one of my black australorp still lays. i have an ameracauna that sits in a nest box occasionally but never lays.

    they do not have secret nests anywhere, i am 100% sure of that. they are truly not laying!

    i dewormed them with wazine last month, twice. nothing changed. i am thinking of trying to deworm again but with herbs.


    i can not figure out what could be going on. they all seem very healthy and active, their coop is clean, i have never seen any parasites. that is, EXCEPT, some of the hens have leg mites (the chickens i got from a friend last year turned out that some of them had leg mites... yeah, don't get me started). not all of them have them, seems some of them are immune to them?? i don't know.

    my only two theories right now are that somehow leg mites could be preventing some of them from laying (we will likely be freezing many of those chickens this fall) or that somehow something in the water they are drinking has caused an internal infection preventing them from laying.

    any help would be so greatly appreciated [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2014
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    Summer heat could be part of the problem. Wazine only kills roundworms, so if they have another type of worm, it is possible they are infested enough that it is causing them to lay less, if they are heavily infested. Parasites like leg mites will sap some strength as well. I have no idea whether something from the pond could be the problem, or part of it, I'm sorry. There is also age, of course; they will lay fewer eggs after a 1.5 to 2 year molt, as a rule.

    When laying suddenly decreases around here, it is usually because a snake is eating them. It doesn't take much of a snake to eat an egg, either. But your species of snakes is quite different from mine, of course.
     
  3. RisingSpring

    RisingSpring Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 30, 2011
    Northwestern PA
    i wish it was as simple as a critter eating the eggs. they are simply not laying :(

    i assume that some of them will lay less due to age... but not laying at all seems odd for healthy, free range 2-3 year olds.
     
  4. RisingSpring

    RisingSpring Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 30, 2011
    Northwestern PA
    anyone else??
     
  5. c2chicks

    c2chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    I was hoping for some answers too, I have the very same problem. I'm in ohio, not very hot summer, so I know it's not the heat. They're a little over 2 yrs old (I have 3 hens) and I'm getting about 8 eggs/week. Am I expecting too much?? They're red sex links, so they are supposed to be pretty prolific layers. They have calcium (oyster shell), organic food, not many scraps, access to sand, mulch, bugs etc...but no eggs :(
     
  6. jmbwholesale

    jmbwholesale Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 8, 2014
    Mom always said if the chickens don't lay eggs, you need a rooster to get them going again. I don't think mites or even lice could stop them from laying but I do know damatious earth powder in their feed kills parasites safely plus they can take a dust bath in it. Just add a cup or two to some peatmoss or shavings in one spot. They will find it! They love to do the dust bath! Hope this is helpful. My vet told me about the food grade DE. You can buy it at a feed store. Be sure to use food grade damatious earth.
    Judy
     
  7. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 28, 2010
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    My chickens are molting at this time of the year. They can't produce many eggs and regrown feathers at the same time. No matter what you do if they are molting they will not start back up until their bodies are ready.
     
  8. jmbwholesale

    jmbwholesale Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 8, 2014
    YouTube has some interesting videos about getting hens to lay eggs. Placing dummy eggsin a nest... good luck!
     
  9. RisingSpring

    RisingSpring Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 30, 2011
    Northwestern PA
    oh no, i am sorry to hear you have the same problem!! i hope we can both figure out what is going on.

    have you tried deworming them or anything like that?




    i have 2 roosters that are definitely doing their jobs!
    i have used food grade DE in the past, maybe i will add some to their feed again. they dust bathe daily in the woods and that is one of the reasons i think it is unlikely they have lice or other skin issues.


    mine molted in the spring, i thought that was the issue, but they were all done with that and didn't start laying again :(
     
  10. RisingSpring

    RisingSpring Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 30, 2011
    Northwestern PA
    tried the dummy egg idea with no luck :(
     

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