How long can a laying dry spell last with 2 year old chickens?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by guesswhatchickenbutt, Aug 27, 2011.

  1. guesswhatchickenbutt

    guesswhatchickenbutt Chillin' With My Peeps

    368
    8
    131
    Mar 5, 2009
    Central FL
    I posted once before about my chickens' egg-laying dry spell and I was told to be patient and it would pass. But how long can a dry spell last???

    Here are the vitals:

    I have 3 hens that are 2 years old. They were all daily layers (or every other day) until about May of this year.
    They are full enclosed and there are no hidden spaces they could be laying. They have a coop, a run and a grassy area. All are fully enclosed and I assure you there are no hiding places. They can't get under anything since everything is fenced off.
    I don't hear the morning egg song so I don't think they're laying.
    I haven't seen any snakes, but I don't know how one would get in since my girls are locked up like it's Fort Knox in there.
    They seem healthy. I don't see mites or worms. Their combs are bright - their eyes are bright - they seem happy and clucky.
    They get the same layer feed, fresh water, plenty of yummy scraps from the house.
    So far only one hen has molted - and it was short and sweet when she was about 18 months old. The other 2 have not molted.
    Edited to add - the laying freeze happened in the summer here in FL so it can't be related to the amount of daylight.

    But now I'm getting about one egg every 10 days to two weeks. That's for THREE hens! [​IMG]

    What is going on here? I'm trying to be patient but we're coming to the end of the 4th month with maybe 1-2 eggs a month. This isn't normal right?

    Am I doomed to have chickens who aren't going to lay for the rest of their lives? I had to buy eggs from the store this week and they were pale yellow and gross [​IMG] [​IMG]

    HEEEEEELLLLLLPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!

    Thx
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2011
  2. BarefootMom

    BarefootMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2010
    Half Way, Missouri
    molting? I have 4-5 girls molting right now.
     
  3. NovaAman

    NovaAman Overrun With Chickens

    LOL! Pale yellow and gross huh?

    I hope it doesn't last long, but how many years do hens usually lay? Isn't it 3-4? Maybe they want a roo? I really have no idea... I just thought the yuck egg comment was funny.
     
  4. guesswhatchickenbutt

    guesswhatchickenbutt Chillin' With My Peeps

    368
    8
    131
    Mar 5, 2009
    Central FL
    LOL well I gathered from reading a ton of chicken lit that laying would decrease around age 2 and I was fine with that. I figure I might start getting 1 egg per week and I figured we'd average about 3 eggs per week and that sounded just fine. But 1-2 a MONTH now for 4 months is just plain disappointing. I'll be a happy loving chicken owner even if they never lay again, but I won't lie, it does suck [​IMG] I really miss getting the eggs from the coop..... I never assumed they'd lay for 2 years and dry up in an instant. Hmph.
     
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,690
    2,639
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    What breed are they.
    It does seem unually low production.
    I'd cut way back on treats and worm them now.
    Since you're not getting eggs anyway losing eggs a couple weeks after worming's no great loss.
    For now, any treats you give should be high protein/high vitamin like BOSS, plain yogurt, mealworms and tuna.

    ETA
    Unless they're a high production hybrid and slightly burnt out the only things I know to cause this is parasites, disease, poor nutrition, stress or moulting.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2011
  6. guesswhatchickenbutt

    guesswhatchickenbutt Chillin' With My Peeps

    368
    8
    131
    Mar 5, 2009
    Central FL
    Quote:I have a BO, BR and a generic EE.

    I've never wormed them. That's something that hadn't crossed my mind since I haven't *seen* anything in their poo. I will have to search this site for how to de-worm a chicken now...thx for the tip!! Mind telling me what to buy at the feed store? And thx for the tips on treats. Hadn't thought to limit them to high protein treats - they're getting a lot of leftover bread, spaghetti, rice, grapes and random meatless dinner scraps. Will stop these and switch to high protein stuff if you think it'll work. I really appreciate the advice!!!!!!!!! [​IMG]
     
  7. guesswhatchickenbutt

    guesswhatchickenbutt Chillin' With My Peeps

    368
    8
    131
    Mar 5, 2009
    Central FL
    You know - this is probably such a stupid random thought....

    But there have been some stories on the news recently about how "sentinel chickens" (as they call them) are coming down with West Nile Virus so humans need to watch out for mosquitos and use repellent, etc. Well I always wonder.... if these chickens they leave in cages in swampy areas are getting West Nile Virus, what about regular backyard chickens? Could mind have some sort of disease like this? They never list chicken symptoms in the newspaper - just human symptoms. We have a very mosquito-filled backyard right now.... Hmmmm.... Again, they're eating, drinking, pecking and clucking like normal ole' chickens. I've pushed their feathers apart and haven't seen any mites and checked around their vent for beasties and they appear just fine - but I am FAR from an expert.

    Maybe I should explore this disease option some more - I suppose I should start with a de-worming. I assume a product will be easy to find at the feed store right??
     
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,690
    2,639
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    The wormer might be available at a feed store or online. I've only used herbal wormers so you might want to search other threads here for that info. That just seemed like it could be the issue and since they weren't laying anyway there's no loss for trying. Some people worm a couple times a year. You usually won't see worms until you worm.

    Those are some good laying breeds.
    Try not to overthink it. Don't anticipate problems that haven't made themselves apparent.
    I would definitely be concerned with the number of eggs you're getting but it's pretty simple.
    Good nutrition, clean conditions, lots of space, protection from predators, good ventilation.
    Treats should make up no more than 10% of the diet unless like one of those potent ones I mentioned.
    Chickens would eat nothing but scratch given the choice between that or pellets but scratch is usually under 10% protein and not a lot of vitamins.
    Think of living on ice cream, tasty but not good in the long run.

    Are you sure they haven't moulted/aren't moulting? Does it look like someone had a pillow fight in there?

    Eggs and feathers both require lots of protein to produce. An egg a day is like a woman having an 8 lb. baby every day.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2011
  9. guesswhatchickenbutt

    guesswhatchickenbutt Chillin' With My Peeps

    368
    8
    131
    Mar 5, 2009
    Central FL
    Yup - no feathers in there more than the couple of random feathers you typically see. When my EE molted at about age 18 months it was quite obvious because it was like a feather pillow exploded.

    My girls definitely get mostly layer pellets. I don't give them scratch anymore and they get a small plate of scraps/treats about every other day or so....

    The only thing left I can think of is to try de-worming them.....
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by