I have a hen that is not laying and will not stop eating the other hens eggs.. Any advice?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Krah24, Mar 1, 2014.

  1. Krah24

    Krah24 Out Of The Brooder

    58
    0
    46
    May 30, 2013
    It's just the one hen.. She hasn't laid since June. I thought maybe she was just hiding them because she did that a lot but I've been all over the yard and found no eggs.
    I've checked all the possibilities.. She has plenty of water, food etc.
    She may be stressed but I don't think she is because she seems rather perky aside from her sassiness.
    It's a little cold now so I understand she may not be laying because of that but the fact that she hasn't laid since June has me a little worried. She doesn't appear sick or egg bound.
    The other problem is that I've caught her eating the other hens eggs (who are all still laying) a few too many times. It's possible she lays and then eats her eggs but I've been watching them closely and I never see her go anywhere to lay.
    Since she has started this habit I've been checking for eggs more often and getting to them before she does but if I have to go out somewhere and I come back she has devoured them.
    She started this behavior once before but I managed to get her to stop by using the typical tricks-fake eggs, golf balls etc but now she's at it again and the tricks don't seem to be working anymore.
    I'm thinking about seperating her from the other hens and trying the tricks again and maybe they'll work?
    The only thing is she's so attached to one of the other hens I'm afraid she may get stressed if I seperate her. I mean she's so attached that she'll lay down outside the coup while the other hen is laying and wait for her. She freaks out and bawks really loud if she loses site of the other hen. It's kind of strange but I'm new at this chicken thing so maybe it's normal idk.
    Any advice? What would you do?
    Culling her is something I definitely DON'T want to do because she's been more of a pet to my kids but if I can't get her to stop is there really any other option other than giving her to some kind vegan? :)
    Thanks everyone for any advice offered!
     
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

    12,096
    6,396
    521
    Mar 27, 2012
    Vermont
    My Coop
    Well, she may not be laying because the days aren't long enough to trigger her yet. Or if she's older, she may be slowing down or stopping. As for egg eating, give her a nasty surprise. Blow out some eggs very carefully, and then refill them with dish soap. Leave these eggs in the coop for her to find while also trying really hard to collect all other eggs before she can get them. Make sure to mark the soap eggs so YOU don't get a soapy surprise. After breaking into them and getting a mouthful of soap over and over, she's likely to rethink how delicious she thinks eggs are.

    Also, are you absolutely certain it's her? Have you seen her do it? You might want to fill an egg with food coloring if you haven't seen her in the act, and you might be surprised who it really is.
     
  3. Krah24

    Krah24 Out Of The Brooder

    58
    0
    46
    May 30, 2013
    Yes, I'm sure it's her as I've caught her in the act.
    She's only just turned two which is the same age as one of my other hens.
    I just don't get why she stopped laying in the summer.
    Now seems perfectly normal but summer?


    I'll try the dish soap idea (I've also heard of trying mustard) and I love the idea of food dye as I would like to rule any of the other hens of this behavior as well but as it is now she is the only hen I've caught in the act.
     
  4. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

    12,096
    6,396
    521
    Mar 27, 2012
    Vermont
    My Coop
    I wonder if she had a light molt? Hens stop laying when they molt too, even if it's very light. Some of my two year olds that went into their first molt stopped laying back near September/October and only very recently began to lay again.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    35,633
    9,108
    656
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    ...or she's eating what she's laying?
     
  6. Krah24

    Krah24 Out Of The Brooder

    58
    0
    46
    May 30, 2013
    Maybe.. She had a really big molt this past autumn. She looked terrible!
    I took that into account. Autumn is pretty mild here where we live so the other hen was still laying. She was also being bullied by our other hen at the same time she was molting- well to be honest we never did figure out if she was truly molting or of the bully hen was ripping all her feathers out. Sometimes she was bleeding but it seemed like both was happening. We did separate the bully hen for awhile and things got better when we reintroduced them and she has been stress free every since.
    It seems like a lot was happening right after another for her so I've taken that into consideration and I'm not giving up on her yet.
     
  7. Krah24

    Krah24 Out Of The Brooder

    58
    0
    46
    May 30, 2013
    It's possible. I thought maybe she was so I watched her closely for a few days but I never once saw her go anywhere to lay.
    She pretty much just scratches all day, or dirt bàthes and follows the other hen around.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by