Is something wrong with my flock?

Mom2Chicken

Chirping
Oct 23, 2019
41
69
79
Hi All- Trying to see if I have a problem to troubleshoot with my flock and what it might be.

Why I think there might be a problem: All of my hens except two have stopped laying and one died suddenly this weekend.

Details about my flock:
  • 8 (now 7) hens of various normal breeds
  • 4 are about 2 years old and 4 (now 3) are about a year old
  • Also, we have 4 100% free range chickens of some wild breed (like the chickens in Hawaii). They come and go as they please into the chicken yard. They never sleep in the coop.
  • All have been productive egg layers until recently
  • Poop is mostly normal, with occasional occurrences of runny poop here and there
  • Feed is laying pellets and a bit of scratch and sometimes vegetable, fruit, and carb table scraps. We have two self waterers for them.
  • Coop is very open and airy with four nesting boxes and two perches.
  • The chickens run around a large, open air yard all day. Food and water is in the yard.
  • Energy levels seem normal now, though two in turn seemed lower energy a couple of weeks ago (not the one that died).
  • Weather here is warm to hot during the day and cool at night (but not cold).
  • We have an ag field across the lane, but they grow organic.
Issues:
  • Most have stopped laying over the past few weeks. I think only two are laying.
  • I found an odd thing (see photos) in our coop a few weeks ago.
  • One hen does look like she's molting. She now sleeps on the coop floor in a corner. She was one of the low energy ones before, but energy levels are fine now.
  • Another hen now sleeps on a separate perch than the others since the other hen died (they are the same breed and were raised together along w/ the other two yearlings before being added to the flock several months ago).
  • And, as mentioned, we had the one hen who died suddenly. She was on the top perch, and I discovered her mid day before she was in rigor.
Sorry for all the detail, but am hoping it helps identify the issue. Any thoughts?
 

Attachments

  • ChickenThing.jpg
    ChickenThing.jpg
    562.9 KB · Views: 6

Mom2Chicken

Chirping
Oct 23, 2019
41
69
79
Are you in the Northern Hemisphere? Our hens always slow down laying at this time of year, and stop completely for the winter.
Yes, and that's a good point and a reassuring reminder.

Last year, we just saw a lot of molting coinciding with the production slow down, which we haven't seen yet this year. And it's just a bit concerting to have a hen die on us suddenly and to find some weird calcified thing in the coop.

But maybe I'm just overthinking things. #what?me?never!
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
17,842
35,713
1,062
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
Molt/shortened day length is likely for the majority of the slow down as you have all adult birds.

The lump you found in the coop is a lash egg (salpingitis). Possible that's a contributing factor in the death in the hen that passed - if it wasn't from her, then you currently have a hen with an infection, which can also cause them to stop laying.
 

Mom2Chicken

Chirping
Oct 23, 2019
41
69
79
Thank you @rosemarythyme. I thought it was a lash egg, but everything I had read about them suggested that a latch egg would be more egg shaped. Unfortunately, whether it was the deceased hen or another hen who laid it is difficult to tell as production across the flock has slowed. Time shall tell, and I appreciate your confirmation of my suspicions.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom