Hens stopped laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by orcawa, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. orcawa

    orcawa New Egg

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    Aug 15, 2012
    I am fairly new to chickens and I have 5 hens that were laying on a regular basis and have stopped laying all together. I also have 6 month old hens that have not started yet. We reside in the Pacific NW and my hens are free range and mostly hang out around our farm. Before the weather changed they had already stopped. I am thinking about putting their heat lamp back in their house but I noticed some of my hens have moved to the horse barn with my original 5.

    Any suggestions would be helpful.

    Thanks,
     
  2. aggiemae

    aggiemae Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 18, 2012
    Salem Oregon
    It does seem strange that they all stopped at the same time. I don't know where you live but it's never cold enough for adult hens to need a heat lamp in Western Oregon or Washington. I don't even closed the windows in our coop util the night time temps are down to 34 degrees.

    Are you sure you don't have an egg stealing rodent? It would explain the hens wanting to sleep somewhere else.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    1. Be sure they are not laying in hidden nests and 2. Older birds stop laying their second autumn as daylight dims and often moult.

    If your younger birds are over 6 weeks old and feathered out, there's no need for a heat lamp, only an increased fire risk.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  4. aggiemae

    aggiemae Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 18, 2012
    Salem Oregon
    Fred, I considered this too but is it possible for six hens to start molting and cease laying at the same time?

    And off topic... but you probably know...If a hen hasn't started to lay before the days get short will I be waiting till spring to get any eggs from her?

    Our Wellsummer, who is also our "low chicken", was born 4/1, her comb has been bright red since early August and the other five hens hatched at the same time have been laying since mid August. We had dark brown eggs every day until our Moran died a few weeks ago and we haven't had even one since.

    I checked and her vent is very small and she never goes near the nest box and we have a rough layer so hunt for eggs often so I'm sure she isn't laying in the yard. Any thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    "Lighting" birds is a common way to push them into laying. A moulting bird will not be pushed, as this is a necessary feather rebuilding process. Pullets of laying age, say 22+ weeks, can indeed be pushed into laying using light therapy. This is a decision a flock keeper makes. To light or not to light, that is the question.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  6. aggiemae

    aggiemae Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 18, 2012
    Salem Oregon
    I am considering lighting in the early AM mainly because, once I realized that she wasn't laying, I decided to stop feeding them layer and go back to grower feed. Now one of the laying hens doesn't seem to use the calcium I have on the side and her shells are getting so thin I am worried that she break one internally.

    We had a cracked egg today so I blended it shell and all, cooked it, caught her, and hand fed her the egg. She ate most of it but rainy season is here and I really don't think I can chase her around and catch her to do this everyday.

    I was thinking a string of bright Christmas lights on a timer would be enough. It's dark just before 7PM so I'd have them light up at around 5AM to get 14 hours of light. Is that enough light? However, we do live in the city, if they are too noisy I will have to stop.

    Also, I don't have any food or water in the coop as I open it before sunrise and right now they are going outside right off the roost every morning If they get up at 4-5AM am I going to have to put food into the coop? How about water?
     
  7. cthockeymom

    cthockeymom Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 16, 2012
    Connecticut
    I'm new to this too! Just purchased some battery operated lights with a timer (today) from QVC.com. LED Christmas lights that run on AA batteries. I'm planning to have the lights come on around 5:00 am. I'll let you know how they work. I usually leave water and some food in the coop overnight. I notice that they don't really eat until morning though.
     

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