Hens were laying, but all have stopped!?!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by HennyRoo, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. HennyRoo

    HennyRoo Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 2, 2008
    Mid-coast Maine
    Hi all. I have a mixed flock of 17 young laying hens (a year old in Mid-May) that had been laying very regularly but suddenly stopped about 10 days ago. Here are some factors but not sure if any/all/none of them have contributed to the sudden cease in egg production:

    1) We have rats, 2 large adults that I have seen, and I have heard the offspring making their squeaky noises under the coop (cement floor but they have gnawed a hole into the side of the coop itself).

    2) Their roo died in early February after an unknown illness (did have frostbite so we suspect he got sick from being cold).

    3) New roo added in late March. Seems to be pretty decent with them.

    4) I have seen diarrhea in the hens. They have been given buttermilk, which seems to have helped.

    My hens get layer pellets, layer mash, fresh water daily, scratch and black oil sunflower seeds (shells on), and sometimes fresh fruit or veggies, or even leftovers if we have beef or ham (they LOVE picking the gristle off the bones).

    Given the general scenario, what do you all think is causing my egglessnes? Do you think they are stressed, sick, or are the rats taking them all? Something else? We are going to trap the rats but in the meantime... help!
     
  2. Chickenmaven

    Chickenmaven Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 6, 2009
    Michigan
    None laying is pretty bad. In your shoes, I would ask my vet to do a fecal flotation. Maybe the girls have worms(?)
     
  3. JessaLynn

    JessaLynn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 7, 2008
    Sandusky County,Ohio
    Could be right in all scenarios.Stress number one factor and rats can take the eggs.I would do my best to get rid of the pests.Hope things get back to normal soon for ya!
     
  4. Chickenmaven

    Chickenmaven Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 6, 2009
    Michigan
    Also, what of the possibility that the rats are munching down on eggs? Eauuuwww!
     
  5. sussexgal

    sussexgal Chillin' With My Peeps

    My suggestion to you is to get those rats out of there pronto. Tack some roofing tin over the hole.... also keep the chickies with fresh water and feed, but hold the treats for awhile. A nutrient imbalance can wreak havok with the egg routine... good luck to you [​IMG]
     
  6. Mrs.Puff

    Mrs.Puff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 16, 2008
    Southern Iowa
    Rats will steal the eggs, but they would probably be messy about it wouldn't they? I mean, wouldn't you see eggshells around?

    Have you by any chance had them under a light/lamp over the winter and suddenly turned it off? This happened to my friend who had a white lamp on her hens for a long time this winter 24/7. Then when it warmed up she turned it off, and suprize-- no eggs.
     
  7. HennyRoo

    HennyRoo Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 2, 2008
    Mid-coast Maine
    We have had them under a heat lamp all winter, yes. We now turn it off during the day because they are outside more with more daylight. We are still turning it on at night because we don't want the night air to chill them; it's still cold at night up here in Maine (and it's very damp as well). Is this the big difference, maybe, not enough daylight still? The odd thing is that we've been doing it this way since February and they were laying up until 10 days ago...

    Hubby is buying a couple of of the old-fashioned, spring-loaded rat traps on his way home. I haven't met a rat yet that can resist a wad of peanut butter on a trap! I think their offspring are dead, though. The tunnel system that snaked under the coop has filled with water from the heavy rains this weekend. I can hope, right? I know the parents are not in there because I moved the partition to my horse trailer that had fallen over from the wind and they came flying out from under it, freaking me out in the process!
     
  8. sussexgal

    sussexgal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Good point about the light Mrs. Puff!
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    You can check out this site for what could cause a flock to stop laying. There are many things that could cause it. A lack of egg shells does not absolve the rats. The chickens would eat any egg shells they found. They could be molting, the new rooster may have induced stress while they are rearranging the pecking order, you could have egg-eaters, many things, but with a sudden total stop to egg production and the diarrhea, I'd be worried about disease. I'd think even with worms, you'd get a few eggs. Good luck.

    http://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/poultry/factsheets/34.html
     
  10. Mrs.Puff

    Mrs.Puff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 16, 2008
    Southern Iowa
    yeah, ridgerunner is right about the worms. They would have to have one heck of a worm problem to totally stop laying. I know my hens have some worms, but they're free range and just gonna get them, and I don't have any problems with no eggs.
     

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