Hens not laying :/

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by coopscoop1121, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. coopscoop1121

    coopscoop1121 New Egg

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    I purchased my first group of hens about six months ago- a group of 3 light Brahmas that I was told were 1.5 years old. They laid for me when I first got them, but only 3-4 eggs each week out of all of them. They went through a soft molt about two months after I got them- some feather loss but nothing serious- and haven't laid anything since. That was in the beginning of June (I live in MN to give a guesstimate on climate). So it's been 4 months since I've gotten any eggs out of the light Brahmas. About two months after I got the light brahmas, I brought home two Americana hens (16 months old). One has laid for me fairly consistantly- 4-5 eggs each week- up until about two weeks ago. The other laid when I first got her but quit about a month after bringing her into the coop. So no eggs out of that Americauna for about three and a half months. About a month and a half ago I noticed small bugs crawling on my light brahmas so I completely stripped the coop, sanitized, dusted the coop/nesting boxes/perches/runs and dusted all of the hens. I did this at 21 days, 14 days and 7 days. I inspect the hens daily since then and none have any signs of lice or mites (no nits, bugs, red bite marks, etc).
    I was so fed up with my hens not laying- so two weeks ago I went to an exotic sale and bought six other hens (two polish bantams, three dark brahmas and one olive egger) figuring then at least I would get a few eggs each week. Up until two days ago not a single one of those has laid anything- yesterday and today I found a small brown egg in one of my nesting boxes (it must be one of the new hens.. none of my other hens lay small brown eggs). All of the hens have been dusted for external parasites, have been wormed using wazine for internal parasites, get an electrolyte in their water and an extra mineral (omega egg maker I think it's called) mixed in with their 16% layer crumbles. They also have a light in their coop so when they are not outside in the runs during the day they are under artificial lights so they are getting at least 16 hours of daylight each day. One of my hens had an eye issue (Americauna) and we have been treating her for that... none of the other hens have it (she's had it for about three weeks) and it seems to be clearing up now. We don't have any vets that specialize in poultry in my area, but one local vet recommended trying to do a forced molt. While I don't want to do that, I haven't ruled it out. Anyone have any advice on anything else to try? I understand that they don't lay 365 days per year... but it's been almost 4 months since I've gotten any eggs out of my hens.. .and now these new hens not laying anything either... it just seems odd that they would all not be laying at the same time for that long of a period. Even if they were a bit older- assuming I was lied to about their age- I would think I would still be getting some eggs??? I really like all of my hens- and don't want to cull them all... but at the same time I can't have 11 hens and none of them layers. Should I just keep doing what I'm doing and see if it waits out? If so, how much longer should I wait for? Anyone else ever experience this? Thank You!
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Let It Snow Premium Member

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    Hens over a year of age will quit laying this time of year to molt. Brahma are considered a meat breed and don't lay very well. Americana, or EE can be inconsistent sporadic layers too. Most hens do their best laying during their first season, and during early spring, and production begins to drop each year after.

    Stress will cause hens to stop laying. A parasite overload can zap energy and interfere with laying. Adding new birds will cause stress too. You didn't mention housing, but crowding can cause stress, and free range birds can lay elsewhere.

    You have a few things working against you. You have breeds that aren't production breeds, and we are at the end of the laying season for older hens. Feed can play into production as well. I like to feed a ration that has 18-20% protein, layer ration will often cause hens to become deficit especially if other things are fed, so keeping up their protein levels can help optimize production and health of your birds.
     
  3. carlf

    carlf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All the above. Older birds, molt, stress from moving them then repeatedly adding new birds plus treatments for parasites.
    And now moving into Fall/Winter slowdown.
    The egg production drop is not surprising.

    How big of a coop and run do you have for all these birds? Is it a crowding issue??

    Also, are they free-ranging? If so,You might be getting more eggs than you think. have you looked for hidden nests?
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!

    Great info and questions from ohld and carlf above....answers to those questions might help, but chances are you're gonna have to wait.
    Brahmas are not necessarily considered meat birds, but they are not stellar layers for sure......
    .....I sold 2 this year because of that, sold them instead of eating them as they were great 'pet' birds and it paid for some of the copious amount of feed they ate.

    Getting more birds because you are not getting eggs can be counter productive due to the stress caused by integrating new birds.
    It can also be risky due to the chance of bringing in pests and disease.
    Like maybe the one birds 'eye issue'....usually from respiratory infection that can be suppressed, but will remain dormant until under stress.
    Wazine only treats round worms... a fecal test can tell more accurately if your birds are carrying a worm load large enough to need treatment.

    Keeping chickens for eggs can take tenacious patience.....and acceptance for times of low production.

    Best of cLuck to you.
     
  5. coopscoop1121

    coopscoop1121 New Egg

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    Sep 22, 2016
    Thank you everyone! I really appreciate your responses! Then hens have a large ten nest laying area and have a 25'x12' shed as their coop. It was here when we purchased the property and we have been remodeling it for the girls.
    The americaunas and light brahmas used to free rang eduring the day and then come back in at night, but I started thinking maybe they were hiding eggs so I built a large run for them connected to the coop. Still no eggs.
    I turn the lights on in the coop from 5am-9am and then again from 6pm-9pm. There are also two large Windows in the coop.
    I will post some photos of the hens with goofy eyes this afternoon.the one that had the foamy eye seems to be clearing up- hallelujah.
    There is a poultry lab in a neighboring town, I may see if I can get a bird in next week just for testing to rule out any major diseases.
    I see now how I could have caused most of my own issues. I didn't realize that bringing new birds in/removing birds could be so stressful on a flock.
    Thank you for all your direction!!
     
  6. coopscoop1121

    coopscoop1121 New Egg

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    Sep 22, 2016
    [​IMG]

    This is the hen with the funny growth in her eye. It has gotten bigger. At first it didn't seem to bother her, but now she is shaking her head and wiping that eye on her wing frequently.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016
  7. coopscoop1121

    coopscoop1121 New Egg

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    [​IMG]
    This is the hen that had the foamy eye. Last night I wiped it with warm water, clipped the feathers away as they were all dirty and clumping together and put some penicillin on externally. This morning her eye was not foamy and had no drainage.looks much better than it did yesterday even.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I'd call the lab and see if you can bring this one in..... and if they do fecals and how to collect poops if they do.
    Hard to know just what that is....could be respiratory infection or maybe eye worm.
    How are you 'treating' it?
    What is your climate/location?
     
  9. coopscoop1121

    coopscoop1121 New Egg

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    Sep 22, 2016

    I am hoping they will let me bring her in next week. She has no wheezing, coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, etc. I have treated her with vetrx for the past three days. Hasn't seemed to make a difference [​IMG]
     
  10. coopscoop1121

    coopscoop1121 New Egg

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    Sep 22, 2016
    I'm in central Mn. Its been cool, low sixties but no drastic temp swings.

    She is one of the hens that came from the exotic sale two weeks ago. She cAme in a group of 3. Other than not laying the other 2 seem normal
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016

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