Hens not laying at all, why?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by earlybird10842, Dec 13, 2014.

  1. We have six hens. Two three-year-old highline browns, (Which is a commercial laying breed we got from an organic egg farm nearby), a five-year old commercial breed who is so old she is blind, a buff orpington, an Easter egger and a Partridge rock.
    Out of these six, there should be three who are laying right now--we don't expect the very, very old blind hen to lay,the EE has sour crop, and one of the highlines is molting.
    But despite the fact that we use artificial lighting in the coop, only one hen is laying--the very old, blind hen, and only very occasionally.
    The orp, the other highline, and the rock should all be laying right now. I've done all the normal things--checked for eggs elsewhere, have a light in the coop, ect.
    I have kept chickens for five years, and I am doing this winter exactly what I have been doing the past five years, and got at least two eggs a day. The only differences are different chickens and small changes to the coop--insulation, a new waterer, and wood shavings instead of straw bedding.
    What is going wrong here? I don't expect five eggs a day, all we really need is two or three, but why are perfectly healthy hens not laying?
    Thanks,
    Earlybird.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,690
    2,639
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
  3. They just eat layer feed--payback poultry, which seems to be the store-brand of Layena. It's never given us a problem before. They also eat food scraps occasionally.
    We have the light on for 14 hours a day year-round. In summer, this means the light is on during daylight hours. In winter, it's something like three hours before sunrise to three hours after sunset. I'll need to check, somebody else set it up for me.
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,690
    2,639
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Now that they're not laying, I would switch to a higher protein grower feed. Non laying birds kidneys can be damaged by the 4% protein in layer feed. The extra protein will help the molting birds regrow feathers and may help to stimulate lay.
    Even birds that have a steady amount of light year round still need to molt and give their reproductive tracts time to rejuvenate. I would even consider cutting the light for a few weeks and then slowly increase it again to simulate onset of spring.
    You can continue to provide oyster shell for any still laying or those that start up.
    Sometimes it's important to remember they're animals that feed us breakfast, not food replicating machines.
    Egg farms that get continuous production out of their flocks start a new flock every couple months, get 18 months of lay out of them and then they become soup.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2014

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by