Lazy Layers?

mpangia09

Hatching
6 Years
Sep 22, 2013
1
0
7
Cedar Brook, NJ
We have 12 chickens, 10 Rhode Island reds, 2 white leghorns. They are 26 weeks old today. They have been laying since 16 weeks. We have had a constant 12 eggs everyday for about a month now. All of a sudden this past week we have only been getting 1 egg each day. What is wrong??
 

BantamLover21

Crowing
7 Years
Jul 24, 2013
23,660
1,566
426
We have 12 chickens, 10 Rhode Island reds, 2 white leghorns. They are 26 weeks old today. They have been laying since 16 weeks. We have had a constant 12 eggs everyday for about a month now. All of a sudden this past week we have only been getting 1 egg each day. What is wrong??
welcome-byc.gif


You should be getting more eggs than that, but there are many reasons that this could be happening. First of all, do your hens roam around unsupervised during the day? If so, they could be laying eggs in places other than the nest box. An egg search might be a useful thing to do.

Next, I would check your flock for mites/lice, as infestations of those can cause, among other things, a drop in egg laying. Look on the feathers and skin near the vent, under the wings, and beneath the hackle (neck feathers). Mites will appear as moving black specks, while lice will show up as larger yellow blobs and eggs stuck to the feather bases. Treat by dusting with 5% Sevin dust, poultry dust, or by spraying with another mite/lice spray. Clean out the coop, spray it down with vinegar or liquid Sevin, and then put in all fresh bedding.

Also, has anything stressful (predator attacks, excessive heat, noise/construction nearby, etc.) been happening in your area? Stress can cause a decrease in egg laying as well. In the case of predators, securing the coop should be effective, and your hens will return to normal once they settle down. To combat heat, mist your birds with water, give them frozen fruit, and put ice cubes in their water to help them with that. If noise and other disturbances are a factor, once that stops, your hens should go back to normal. A bullying hen could be causing stress too, so I would observe your flock and think about isolating problem hens if necessary.

In addition to the above things, I would check your hens for any signs of disease--swelling, nasal discharge, abnormal respiratory sounds, weight loss, blood in the droppings, etc. Treat them, if necessary, as disease is another stress-producer.

Shorter day length could be the problem, too, as chickens usually stop laying (or at least egg production decreases) once daylight is less than 14 hours.

Lastly, what are you feeding them? Are you giving them any oyster shell or another calcium supplement? Inadequate nutrition can be a cause for a decrease in egg laying.

If your hens were older, I would suspect that they were molting. During molting, when chickens grow in new feathers, they stop laying as their body focuses on feather development. But molting usually occurs when birds are 1-1 1/2 years of age, not at 26 weeks of age.
 
Last edited:

sourland

Broody Magician
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 3, 2009
126,219
390,144
2,027
New Jersey
Shortening day length, predation, hidden nests, any changes in feed or environment - all can conspire to cause a drop in egg production. Welcome to BYC.
 

sumi

Rest in Peace 1980-2020
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
39,154
26,297
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Welcome to BYC
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BantamLover21 covered the possible causes well. Hope you get this figured out!
 

drumstick diva

Still crazy after all these years.
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Aug 26, 2009
140,529
289,349
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Out to pasture
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you have have snakes or other predators stealing the eggs especially if the hens free range and lay out there. Is there a chance you have some egg eaters among the hens? Are you finding any broken shells or spilled yolks?

Do you think you have any two legged predators that are collecting the eggs when you aren't around? In some areas this is very common. The fact that you are down to one egg a day makes me suspicious.
 

Wyandottes7

Crowing
6 Years
Jul 24, 2013
20,586
1,321
401
welcome-byc.gif


You should be getting more eggs than that, but there are many reasons that this could be happening. First of all, do your hens roam around unsupervised during the day? If so, they could be laying eggs in places other than the nest box. An egg search might be a useful thing to do.

Next, I would check your flock for mites/lice, as infestations of those can cause, among other things, a drop in egg laying. Look on the feathers and skin near the vent, under the wings, and beneath the hackle (neck feathers). Mites will appear as moving black specks, while lice will show up as larger yellow blobs and eggs stuck to the feather bases. Treat by dusting with 5% Sevin dust, poultry dust, or by spraying with another mite/lice spray. Clean out the coop, spray it down with vinegar or liquid Sevin, and then put in all fresh bedding.

Also, has anything stressful (predator attacks, excessive heat, noise/construction nearby, etc.) been happening in your area? Stress can cause a decrease in egg laying as well. In the case of predators, securing the coop should be effective, and your hens will return to normal once they settle down. To combat heat, mist your birds with water, give them frozen fruit, and put ice cubes in their water to help them with that. If noise and other disturbances are a factor, once that stops, your hens should go back to normal. A bullying hen could be causing stress too, so I would observe your flock and think about isolating problem hens if necessary.

In addition to the above things, I would check your hens for any signs of disease--swelling, nasal discharge, abnormal respiratory sounds, weight loss, blood in the droppings, etc. Treat them, if necessary, as disease is another stress-producer.

Shorter day length could be the problem, too, as chickens usually stop laying (or at least egg production decreases) once daylight is less than 14 hours.

Lastly, what are you feeding them? Are you giving them any oyster shell or another calcium supplement? Inadequate nutrition can be a cause for a decrease in egg laying.

If your hens were older, I would suspect that they were molting. During molting, when chickens grow in new feathers, they stop laying as their body focuses on feather development. But molting usually occurs when birds are 1-1 1/2 years of age, not at 26 weeks of age.

X2! Very helpful information. I'm just going to add another possiblity. Your hens are young birds that haven't been laying for very long. When pullets start laying, it can take them a while to get used to egg laying. When they start, they may lay well for weeks, and then suddenly drop off, only to start laying just as many as they were before. When my Columbian Wyandotte started laying, she laid one egg, than didn't lay for another week and a half. Then, she started laying about six eggs a week. My Easter Egger was similar, laying very well for a few weeks, and then stopping suddenly, only to start laying again.

Hope this helps!
 

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