Hens not laying

Clevelcj

Chirping
Jun 17, 2018
74
134
96
Central VA
My Coop
My Coop
I currently have 28 chickens, of which 9 are a year and a half, 10 are ~6 months old and the rest are chicks currently being raised by their broody mother. Since this spring, I have been getting highly reduced number of eggs. I would expect 5-6 per day from 9 older hens. At best im getting 4 (Usually 2 or 3). I have started getting eggs from the 6 month old chickens, and am still maxing out at 4 a day. (2 big 2 small).

The chickens free range all day, so my thought is they may be laying somewhere else. I have checked everywhere and have no signs that they have another nest. What can i do? The production is just so low. They all seem healthy and happy.

Please help.
 

Chicken Heel

Songster
Jun 8, 2019
580
1,678
171
I notice you live in VA as do I. I have not seen much decrease in my hens laying this summer but know of others that have with their hens. The strange thing that I have also heard from others is related to delayed or no laying in their pullets hatched back in the spring. And in a couple of instances, those same pullets have or are going through a full molt which I would normally expect after their first full laying cycle. I believe the ongoing drought and hotter than average temperatures in our area are playing a role in it. As of yesterday, I have personally noted 59 days of 90+ degree days this year which is twice as much as usual.
 

Clevelcj

Chirping
Jun 17, 2018
74
134
96
Central VA
My Coop
My Coop
I notice you live in VA as do I. I have not seen much decrease in my hens laying this summer but know of others that have with their hens. The strange thing that I have also heard from others is related to delayed or no laying in their pullets hatched back in the spring. And in a couple of instances, those same pullets have or are going through a full molt which I would normally expect after their first full laying cycle. I believe the ongoing drought and hotter than average temperatures in our area are playing a role in it. As of yesterday, I have personally noted 59 days of 90+ degree days this year which is twice as much as usual.


Thank you for the reply. I have considered this, but have not heard of the same thing from anyone else. I am planning to do a complete cleaning of all feeders and waterers as well as giving garlic powder and cayenne in food, and ACV in water in case worms are a part of the equation. We will see if any of those make a difference.
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
5 Years
Apr 9, 2016
14,342
19,971
832
California's Redwood Coast
giving garlic powder and cayenne in food, and ACV in water in case worms are a part of the equation.
Those don't work on worming, a fecal float will tell the truth.

Laying hormone is light related and effected by things such as nutrition, crowding, internal and external parasites, molting, AGE, and breed... in addition to general genetics. I have a barred Rock hen who hasn't laid in a long time despite being youngish. But light is diminishing right now for a lot of us and that will be a huge factor. Some folks add extra lighting. I let my birds do what's natural.

Honestly people think they're doing birds a favor by free ranging... and that is the lifestyle I choose... but production goes up during confinement.

If more eggs are the goal... IO would choose breeds like Leghorn and Rhode Island Red. Maybe Australorp.

Noting that while many birds will lay like gang busters their first season, even more than their breed standard and settle more into their norm by the next season. Also don't forget that the older birds are laying larger eggs than the new layers.
 

Grenadianexpat

Songster
10 Years
Feb 5, 2010
78
50
116
Grenada W.I.
Living in the West Indies we have 2 seasons, and both of them tend to be hot, but recently we have had a wet season that has been very hot and dry, contributed to by Hurricanes sucking the moisture out of our air and depositing it on The Bahamas and America.

The actual temperature difference may only have been an extra couple of degrees, but that pushed the output down to or close to zero, I could only assume heat stress, as they get all the food and water they need.

In the 3 past few days the skies have opened, and with a little delay egg production has increased markedly.

Also I seem to have had a case of egg gorging by at least one hen, probable Possum invasion as I have seen chickens fly out of the trees with much noise at around 10pm at night in pitch black night, Mongoose predation, and even our "guard dog" has enjoyed a few eggs, so there can be lots of causes for no visible eggs.
 

Cwestlake

Songster
May 3, 2019
200
607
150
California
Hi, I have a white leghorn, Plymouth Barred Rock, Speckled Sussex and a Rhode Island Red, 3 of my hens all started laying at 3 1/2 months old consistently laying everyday but my Rir only laid about 3 eggs at 4 months old and they are now 6 months old so today I noticed she laid a egg without a shell before I could get it the chickens ate it, my question is being that she hasn’t laid in about 2 months is this normal that she laid a shell less egg? They are also on layena extra calcium feed ... Thank you
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
99,163
138,570
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I currently have 28 chickens, of which 9 are a year and a half, 10 are ~6 months old and the rest are chicks currently being raised by their broody mother. Since this spring, I have been getting highly reduced number of eggs. I would expect 5-6 per day from 9 older hens. At best im getting 4 (Usually 2 or 3). I have started getting eggs from the 6 month old chickens, and am still maxing out at 4 a day. (2 big 2 small).

The chickens free range all day, so my thought is they may be laying somewhere else. I have checked everywhere and have no signs that they have another nest. What can i do? The production is just so low. They all seem healthy and happy.

Please help.
Simple:
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 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.
 

Clevelcj

Chirping
Jun 17, 2018
74
134
96
Central VA
My Coop
My Coop
Living in the West Indies we have 2 seasons, and both of them tend to be hot, but recently we have had a wet season that has been very hot and dry, contributed to by Hurricanes sucking the moisture out of our air and depositing it on The Bahamas and America.

The actual temperature difference may only have been an extra couple of degrees, but that pushed the output down to or close to zero, I could only assume heat stress, as they get all the food and water they need.

In the 3 past few days the skies have opened, and with a little delay egg production has increased markedly.

Also I seem to have had a case of egg gorging by at least one hen, probable Possum invasion as I have seen chickens fly out of the trees with much noise at around 10pm at night in pitch black night, Mongoose predation, and even our "guard dog" has enjoyed a few eggs, so there can be lots of causes for no visible eggs.


Im hopeful that you are right about this. Should be cooling down significantly in the next couple of days, so that may help. Thank you!
 

Clevelcj

Chirping
Jun 17, 2018
74
134
96
Central VA
My Coop
My Coop
Simple:
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 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.


I would love to do this, but my coops are just used for sleeping and laying, there isnt really enough room to keep them in there all day. But i am going to soon be rebuilding their run and covering it so they will have no choice but to stay in. We will see what happens when that is done.
 

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