Help-My hens stopped laying…?

NickiLynnT

In the Brooder
Oct 7, 2021
6
67
44
Hello! :D
In July of 2020 I started my first flock with ten Orpington Buff chicks and one Barred Rock Rooster. All ten hens started laying extremely well last November, but suddenly stopped laying, almost entirely, early this summer. The only thing that has changed is that throughout the spring and early summer I added eight chicks, of various breeds to the flock and then one of my Opringtons hatched two chicks of her own. I introduced new chicks slowly and all seemed to go well. My flock is healthy and seems to be happy. They all seem to get along well. I have followed all of the guidelines I can find online for making sure they are not overcrowded, have more than adequate feed/water areas, roosts, laying boxes, etc. They mostly roam free during the day, and the coop is secure from predators at night. The coop and laying boxes are clean and well bedded. My new chicks are beginning to lay well, but for the past five months or so, I think only two or three of my eight laying Orpingtons are actually laying! Does anyone know what I should do? I would so appreciate any advice! Thank you!!
 

NickiLynnT

In the Brooder
Oct 7, 2021
6
67
44
This time of year most chickens over a year slow down on laying, but that doesn't explain your summer. What food are you feeding them, and is there a possibility they are laying where you don't find the eggs?
I feed them layer crumbles from the feed store, and have oyster shell and eggshells for calcium. They also get a lot of produce scraps. I have thoroughly searched the property and found two areas that they were laying. I blocked those areas so they could not access them anymore. There is still a good possibility that they are laying in a place I haven’t found. However, I have also tried keeping them confined to the coop/run for a few days, but don’t find any more eggs by doing so.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
100,679
143,813
1,867
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
They also get a lot of produce scraps.
Might want to cut back on that.

However, I have also tried keeping them confined to the coop/run for a few days, but don’t find any more eggs by doing so.
Can take longer than that...a week at least.
Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop/run for a week or so can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop and maybe run 24/7 for a few days to a week, provided you have adequate space and ventilation, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.

But maybe first, some exams:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/who-is-laying-and-who-is-not-butt-check.73309/
 

Swirls76

Chirping
May 31, 2017
50
22
86
I am having the same issues. Over the past few months, my flock of 11 have laid maybe one egg a day. I thought maybe it was the feed, but my ducks are continuing to lay daily. They are going on a little over two years of age. Would that be it?
 

Herblady56

Hatching
Nov 14, 2021
1
0
1
I hope it's OK to jump in here because I am having the same issue. Nothing has changed and they don't appear to be sick. This started about 2 months ago and there was lots of feather loss for awhile, we added supplemental light but no change. They are 1 and 2 year olds
 

Yardmom

Songster
May 3, 2018
996
1,373
186
Waterford, PA
Most birds over a year old will molt in late summer or fall. After they are done molting they often do not lay again until the days have more hours of light. I know some have successfully added artificial light, but I don't know the details on how to be successful with that.
 

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