Moving laying hens to new area - Do they stop laying for months?


8 Years
May 20, 2011
Southern Utah
I'm new to chickening, and people have offered me some of their older hens just to see if I even like it (which I already do!). But people around here seem to think that if we move a chicken to a new home, it will stop laying for MONTHS due to the stress. I'm guessing that's probably false, but wanted more educated input. THANKS!

Months? Rarely. A couple days to a couple of weeks? Sure. Keep in mind that a hen's egg production starts going down around age 2 to 3, so depending on how old these hens are, they may not be great layers at this point anyhow.

Great bug catchers, awesome entertainment, delightful pets, but not as many eggs.

For how long each individual hen will stop laying after a move is anybodys guess, simply because they are individuals and each react to stress differently.
I added some hens to an existing flock three weeks ago. Two of them laid great the first couple days, then totally stopped. Not an egg in nearly three weeks. The other one laid straight through like a champ. So I think it really is chicken-specific!
Kinda have the same thing going on here. I haven't moved anybody, but we created a new pop door on a coop when they were used to using the human door. They like the new pop door, in a new location, just fine for getting out of the coop in the mornings, but don't want to use it to go into the nestboxes during the day. At the same time they are having to make do with some rigged together temporary nestboxes because the ones they grew up using were destroyed in a cow incident (long story). Their original nestboxes were covered kitty litter pans. So....

Rather than use a pop door in a new location to go in and use nestboxes they don't like, they just walk about an acre away and risk the wrath of my brahma hens to use the ones in the brahma coop. Those boxes are like the ones they are used to.

I used to keep track of how many eggs I got each day from each coop, now I don't even bother. I just write down a total. Resistence is futile.
I too have the same problem. We moved took my {2} 1 year old EE's with me. They both where still laying. We added 29 new chicks to our flock. I let my 11Ameraucana, 12EE's, 4BCM, 1splash Maran, 1RIR, 1BO & 2golden comets free range during the day. All are about 2 months old now. They where still laying using a found nest under a bush,and then using the new unfinished nestboxes. Then we finished up the nest boxes with dividers to make 6 instead of the one giant hole. My favorite EE used it right away. The other has not laid an egg in 2 weeks. She also became the boss of everyone. She is the top chicken. So I got a splash Maran rooster to help even that out. Still she was bossing him not laying. So to keep this chicken from becoming dinner I have put her by herself in a chicken tractor. She is not happy, but im hoping that it will calm her down and make her lay again. I have ended up with about 15 rooster out of the babies this spring. I need to get rid of them. I hope the isolation will fix my problem. Any ideas on how long it may take to get her back to laying?
Wow! I'm glad I'm not the only one who has laying issues. We got 6 chickens from a neighbor and out of the 6 we have only 4 who are laying. Their production never ceased. Now mind you they are all 8 years old and we get 2-4 eggs a day. The two who are not laying are RIRs. I'm hoping they give me some eggs soon. We have had them all for a week and a half now.
I did something really, really wrong.

Let me start with . . . I had one Sussex roo as well as 12 reds that were already well established, 8 of them were about 11 months old and averaging 7 eggs each day and the other 4 were only three months old and not yet laying. Everyone getting along nicely and I have all of them in an indoor coop in my barn as it gets pretty cold (Canadian Winter).

Last week I picked up 11 more sussex which are 9 months old and they were laying until we brought them home to my place. My indoor coop is really just a converted horse stall. All I did was used chicken wire to cage them in. The stall walls are just over 4' high and the chicken wire is also 4' high so I surely thought that 8' of fencing was enough to keep the chickens. It's always been enough for the reds and the one roo I have. (I've never had an escape or even an attempt at a break out) Inside the coop I have a quarantine area which is about 4' wide by 8' long which I use whenever I get new chickens. Same as in the rest of the coop, the walls are at least 8' high, but there's a gap of about 6" between the top of chicken wire and the open ceiling and rafters.

I think you see where I am going with this. As soon as I released the 11 new sussex into the quarantine pan, they flew up and into the rafters. I didn't realize that they were not clipped and because of that they proved to be excellent flyers. I've actually never seen a chicken fly so well. As soon as that happened, I proceeded to add a chicken wire roof to the quarantine pan and proceeded to round up the now free chickens. This is where the "I did something really really wrong" comes in. The whole ordeal was very stressful on the girls obviously. Because the whole barn is an open roof, they got into the donkeys. Donkey's chased them out, as it appears they don't like to share their living quarters with a bird. Some got into the goat pan and same as in the donkey's they got chased out. They got into every nook and cranny and although I was able to catch most by hand just by turning off all barn lights, there were at least three that I had no choice but to use the fishing net on. Eventually, all eleven were caught and put in the new and improved chicken coop, but not until after being completely stressed out with the whole ordeal.

As I said at the beginning, they were laying when I bought them, but now of course they've stopped completely. I've not seen an egg out of them in over a week. I've been feeding them a standard layer mix, leaving them alone and not bugging them too much. I've even kept the kids away from them, but the eggs have not come back. I do have artificial light for them as well and on any day they get at least 14 hours of light. Is there any hope or is there anything I can be doing to encourage them to lay again?

As of right now the two flocks are still separated and seem to be getting along nicely. No reaction or extra chirping from either side of the coop. The reds are still laying like champs and they pullets are due to start laying soon.

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