Help my hens stopped laying !

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by RIR0BCM, Dec 4, 2016.

  1. RIR0BCM

    RIR0BCM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I need help fast i have 15+ hens and suddenly all of them stopped laying
    Most of them are about 1-1.5 years old

    even the pullets wont start laying and its been like this for more than a month

    I havent got any eggs for more than a month !!!!!

    They eat and drink normally (i give them chicken feed for layers and they also get fresh veggies, bread ,table scraps )

    What is the problem ?
    What can i do to get them to lay again
     
  2. JuliaWesterbeek

    JuliaWesterbeek Chillin' With My Peeps

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    are they molting?
     
  3. RIR0BCM

    RIR0BCM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No they are not molting
    They just stopped for no apparent reason
     
  4. JuliaWesterbeek

    JuliaWesterbeek Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There are a few reasons why they might have stopped laying:

    1. It could be that the days are getting shorter so that they don't have enough light each day to lay eggs. This normally happens in the winter time and some hens stop laying for two months.

    2. Disease is another and likely reason why they might have stopped laying. Even though they have been eating and drinking well they might be sick. Chickens are experts at hiding their illness until it is too late.

    3. Stress, If you have moved coop, debeaked them, or if the coop is just too hot or cold they might stop laying eggs for a while. Some hens will stop laying for 2 days while others stop laying for 6 weeks. My hen who recently moved to my house stopped laying for 2 1/2 weeks.

    4. Lack of nutrition is another reason why the hens might have stopped laying. This is not as likely since normally the egg production will just decrease a bit and the eggs will just have decreased their quality.

    5. You might have gotten a new addition to the flock. Hens love routine and disruption of this routine might result from them going of lay.

    If it isn't any of these reasons, just wait and see what happens. Remember that broody hens need lots of nutrition and also grit or oyster shells to provide calcium for shells.

    Good Luck with your hens :)
     
  5. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    Hi

    Where in the world are you? (It really helps if people include this info on their profile page so we can see at a glance without having to ask.) If you are in the northern hemisphere and they are 1.5 years old then they will moult sooner or later and this causes them to stop laying. It is the normal cycle or a chickens life and will happen each autumn/winter thereafter with the "egg drought" getting longer each time. It is one of the reasons that egg production businesses cull their birds at 18months and have replacement pullets reaching point of lay ready to take over. If you haven't seen an increase of feathers in the coop/run then it will happen soon. Don't expect to see bald hens. Many will just lose a few feathers here and there, but of course some do get bald patches. The combination of less daylight and moulting at this time of year reduces egg production dramatically. I have about 40 hens and pullets and I've been getting 3 eggs a day if I am lucky and two of those have been from pullets. My other pullets have not started yet either but thankfully one or two of my older girls are just coming back on line and I got 5 eggs yesterday...WOOHOO!
    Pullets maturing at this time of year take longer to come into lay and may not start before the days become longer.

    Basically, it is normal for them to stop laying for a couple of months or so, at this time of year....assuming you are in autumn/winter.
     
  6. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    Shorter daylight=less eggs. And in some flocks = zero eggs.
     
  7. RIR0BCM

    RIR0BCM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It is winter and days are shorter but ive been raising chickens for 4 years in the same coop feeding the same things ...i havent changed anything and i never had anything similar to this happen before

    The egg production wont be great in winter or during molting but they never completely stopped laying

    And they are not broody either
     
  8. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    I still think that your expectation may be too high and that perhaps you have been fortunate previous years or the age dynamic of your flock has been better for winter laying then than now.

    Do any of them have bright red combs that look like they should be laying? If you haven't had a single egg for over a month and you have hens that look like they should be laying, then it may be you have an egg eater. It can start at this time of year when egg shells can be thin as moult starts....an egg gets broken.... and they enjoy the extra protein from it which helps with their moult, but the egg eating becomes a habit. I appreciate you say they are not moulting yet but if they haven't they certainly will soon.

    I'm pretty sure I've got a problem with rats in/under one little coop and that has upset the occupants of that pen and knocked their egg laying on the head, until I get it fixed, so that might be something else to consider.

    Can you post some photos of them, so that we can see what they look like?
    Have you checked them for condition....feeling the keel bone to see how well covered they are? There is a score chart somewhere which shows you how to condition score them....I'll try to find it.
    It might be worth having a faecal float test done to check for worm eggs if you are still concerned. Have you checked for lice that might be stressing/irritating them and/or mites. At this time of year when dust baths can be too damp/muddy to be functional, external parasites can become a problem.

    I hope you start to get some eggs soon. I know with my flock it is very to see which birds are laying and which are not at the moment as most have pale dry combs and the few layers have beautiful bright red ones. It might be worth separating out the hens/pullets that look like they should be laying and seeing if you get any eggs from them. The chances are it will not be those that are eating eggs if in fact that is the problem.

    Regards

    Barbara
     
  9. RIR0BCM

    RIR0BCM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks !! Great information !!
    I did seperate the old hens from the younger hens and pullets still none of them are laying i think i dont have a picture but i think most of them have pale combs ..
    Ive been suspecting that there are egg eaters for some time now but i cant figure which ones are the eaters and i know for a fact that there are rats in the area but ive seen my hens eat them before so i dont think they are a problem


    I dont know i once had this problem about a year ago and i read here that if you give the birds cayenne pepper they would start laying again ...
    so i gave them some and they began to lay i think ill give it a try and see
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Their diet could be part of the problem....are you feeding layer feed to your yet to lay pullets?
    Still growing pullets and molting hens need more protein and less calcium.
    Adding other foods, especially bread(basically junk food), will dilute the already probably minimal protein in the layer feed.

    I like to feed a flock raiser/grower/finisher 20% protein crumble full time to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat. I do grind up the crumbles (in the blender) for the chicks for the first week or so.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer. I adjust the amounts of other feeds to get the protein levels desired with varying situations.

    Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.
     

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