Losing eggs

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by RBOutdoors, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. RBOutdoors

    RBOutdoors Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So for the past few weeks egg production has completely dropped off to the point that there aren't any. I have 6 birds and haven't gotten eggs in weeks. I am thinking something is getting them any ideas what could be getting them? It would have to be small enough to leave the chickens alone but large enough to eat the egg. I don't ever find any shells or trace of setting breaking the eggs so I am thinking snake.
     
  2. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

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    You don't say what age your hens are, which makes a difference. If they are over a year, they could be molting, although all birds don't usually molt at the same time. Second is the lack of light which would affect birds over 1 year more than pullets. Make sure they have adequate protein and put a light in if you would like. I don't think everyone understands the difference shortened day length makes on egg laying.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Are you in the northern hemisphere? How old are your hens?

    In the northern hemisphere, the days are getting shorter. When days get shorter, chickens molt. When they molt they stop laying eggs and use the nutrition that used to go into egg production to grow new feathers.

    Often, not always but often, pullets will skip the molt their first year and continue to lay, but you can count on chickens molting their second fall/winter. Even with pullets it’s possible they are molting.

    This time of year molting is the reason for practically all reduction or stopping of egg production. Have you seen feathers laying around?

    In my experience, a snake will eat several eggs when it visits, they stay away for a few days while it digests them before it comes back. If it is every egg every day, it is almost certainly not a snake.

    Do you have a pet dog that has access to the coop? Has Barfy learned that the egg song is an invitation to a free snack?

    There are not many critters that eat an egg without leaving shells or a soggy mess behind that wouldn’t really like to snack on your chickens themselves. Not all critters read the manual and act like they are supposed to. It’s also possible the hens are cleaning up any broken egg shells, but they don’t always do that either. The main reason I doubt it is a wild animal is that the hens don’t all lay at the same time. A wild animal will visit and eat what eggs it can find but it’s not going to take up residence there to wait for them to lay. If it were something like that, odds are you would either see it or it would miss a few eggs.

    Another possibility is that they are hiding a nest or two on you, but it’s really rare when they all do that at the same time. I’m betting on a molt, especially this time of year.
     
  4. RBOutdoors

    RBOutdoors Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Half the birds are 2 and the other half are 1. There are feathers in the coop but not a ton. I know they are or did moly because they replaced the saddle feathers from when we had a rooster at te beginning of the summer.

    I just thought it was odd that they all do it at the same time.
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Re-growing feathers from an over attentive rooster is not the same as molting.

    It's just the time of year to take a break, especially for your 2 year old girls. They're not designed to lay eggs year round, year after year. They're designed to take a break in the winter around the 18 months mark. That's why the commercial egg places cull birds at this age.
     

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