Laying hen, not Laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ZJchicks, Oct 14, 2014.

  1. ZJchicks

    ZJchicks Out Of The Brooder

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    I started recording the information about our eggs a few months back. It has been very helpful in determining what girls are molting, not laying well, etc. We have been reduced to 7 hens. We recently started letting the rooster run with them too, however we are starting to believe he is a bantam, and he does try to mount them and such, but does not seem like he is connecting to the right place. Anyway, he was hatched 4/24 and is still under 2 pounds. 1 lb. 14 ounces. Very small, even for an Ameraucana roo.

    Anyway, one of my two Ameracauanas, Nugget, has not laid since 10/08. She seemed to finish molting a month or so ago. While molting, she still laid, but not often and smaller eggs. Once she got her neck feathers back she was laying again, every day or every other day, and her eggs are now Large eggs, not medium anymore, even had an extra large egg! I have been watching them very closely and can not find any evidence of her laying since then. We have looked around for a new nest, but can't find any place else they might be laying. They lay primarily in the next box (they all prefer the same one) in the coop. Two other hens have found a nice spot of hay inside the barn up on a shelf and lay there as well.

    So, I am worried about her. What would cause her to suddenly stop laying? Could she just be having a long and drawn out molt or something? I started noticing her molting back in the beginning of August. She was also only about 15 months old at the time. All though September, she was been laying wonderfully. I have felt around her vent and don't feel anything (as if she might be egg bound), but then again, I have never had an egg bound chicken so I don't know exactly what I'm feeling for. She seems to be eating well, drinking water, etc.

    There have been some changes recently. The yard they are in has been fully fenced so they can not gain access to the back 2 1/2 acres now. It was meant to keep the goats in the yard, but the chickens can't get through either. We are working toward getting a gate that will allow the chickens through. Lots of good bugs back there for them to eat. Also, the goats are now in the same yard and like to eat up scratch grains and are somewhat intrusive (one is young and climbs up their steps (can't get inside coop) by the coop and jumps off. Also, we got four guinea hens on 10/04. They are being kept in a pen for now, to be let out to free range soon, so they are right by the chickens but not able to get to them.

    Could it be stress related? Could she be molting further? I saved this little girl as a chick on the brink of death and am quite fond of her. I don't really look at her like the other girls, shes my favorite. Or could it be diet related? Not getting enough protein? She is at the bottom of the pecking order so maybe she is getting somewhat bullied out of good food too?

    Any ideas? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    Your hen is probably fine. Molts can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. I have a rooster that has been molting since early August, and a hen that molted for nearly six months. Nugget might just not be quite done yet, which is affecting her egg production.

    Even after a molt, it may take a while for hens to get back into full production. This is especially true when birds molt late in the year, since the daylight hours are getting shorter and telling their bodies to shut down.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014
  3. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    It can sometimes take a month or more for chickens to begin laying after molting. Especially now, as daylight hours are decreasing. She may not lay again until spring.

    Stress can play a part as well. After changes in enviroment, hens sometimes take a few weeks to start up again.

    My best guess is that she's still recovering from her molt. As long as she acts normal and isn't sick, she should start laying again.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014
  4. ZJchicks

    ZJchicks Out Of The Brooder

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    May 29, 2013
    I guess my concern is mainly because she was laying regularly from early September until 10/08 when she stopped again. She does seem to be acting pretty normal, other than keeping a bit away from me (probably because I keep checking her out and feeling around her vent). I guess I'm just overly concerned about my little Nugget. :)
     

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