Help with "non layers" please

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by paprikash, Nov 10, 2014.

  1. paprikash

    paprikash Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 28, 2014
    Deep South New Jersey
    My hens have a a tough year. We had a rat issue that seemed to be taken care of with trapping, neighborhood cats and a weasel. We blamed the lack of eggs on a wesel and rats. Changed the coop around so it can be sealed up at night so I know the birds are now safe and nothing can get to the eggs. During the day they are in a 12x12 chicken yard that is covered with a metal roof and chicken wire sides so they are safe during day time also. Its been 3-4 days and still no eggs. I see some feathers around the area but nothing major and birds appear to be full of feathers so I dont think they are molting. Is my steel roof preventing them from getting adequate light? Is it the change of the seasons?
    One bird is 4 y/o most of the others (12 total) are 7 m/o and had just begun laying prior to this problem. They get layena crumble plus a fair amount of table scraps(veggies and some meat), when available grass clippings, and a flock block.
    Im not fond of freeloaders so please give me some idea of why I have no eggs.
     
  2. paprikash

    paprikash Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 28, 2014
    Deep South New Jersey
    Want to keep this near the top to maximize my chances of getting a solution.
     
  3. kbarrett

    kbarrett Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are you sure you don't have 1 or more egg eaters? I had one a few years ago and would find evidence of broken egg shell and clumped up shavings. If you're sure they're not molting the lack of light may be a factor. 12-14 hrs of light is needed to keep most hens laying during the short days. Unless your run is very low to the ground there should be adequate light during the day, but you may want to consider supplementing light early in the morning. I use a high efficiency bulb that uses a timer to come on at 4am and turn off at 7am.
    Good luck, I'm sure more and probably better advice or suggestions will come!
     
  4. paprikash

    paprikash Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 28, 2014
    Deep South New Jersey
    Thanks kbarrett- I havent had a chance to run electric out to the shed and coop yet. Wife has me doing so many other projects. Maybe I can use a drop cord with a 48" grow bulb and see if it makes a difference.
     
  5. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    You have made changes to their housing, that alone can stop laying. You need to give them a week or two to get comfortable again. Chickens hate change, and any change can disrupt laying. Also, keep in mind with the shorter days, laying slacks off this time of year. The 4 year old is likely going to start molting - I'll bet you'll see feathers falling off of her soon.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
  6. paprikash

    paprikash Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 28, 2014
    Deep South New Jersey
    Still nothing today. I have a new strategy. I threatened them with leaving the coop door open at night so the weasel can get in.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Just show them your avatar...lol.

    Chicken keeping is not for the impatient.

    The not laying could be because of lack of daylight. Sometimes first year layers will lay all winter without supplemental lighting, sometimes they won't.
    Older layers need 14-16 hours of light to lay regularly thru winter. Last winter I used a 40 watt incandescent light(this year I am using a CFL) that comes on early in the morning to provide 14-15 hours of light and they go to roost with the natural sundown. Last year I started the lighting increase a bit late(mid October), the light should be increased slowly, and the pullets didn't start laying until late December. Here's pretty good article on supplemental lighting. Some folks think that using lighting shortens the years a hen will lay, I don't agree with that theory but I also plan to cull my older hens for soup at about 3 years old.
     

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