My 10 month old hen laid a fairy egg and then stopped laying all together

Romaana

In the Brooder
Sep 17, 2021
23
6
34
South Africa
Hi guys, I hope someone can tell me how to help my hen.

She is a 10 month old blacktail layer (production). She started laying fairly consistently at 6 months old. All of her eggs were normal.

She is fed soaked layer mash and fermented scratch grain along with kitchen scraps, garden greens and crushed egg shells or bonemeal. She gets probiotics, a vitamin supplement and ACV in her water on different days of the week. She does not free range.

We are in spring, the weather is cool and comfortable.

My hen is on an internal and external antiparasitic cycle.

She laid a fairy egg 2 weeks ago, after which she laid just 2 eggs and stopped laying all together.

Does she possibly have a reproductive disorder or will this issue correct itself in time?

Is there anything that I can do to help her start laying again?

Thank you for any advice.
 

Romaana

In the Brooder
Sep 17, 2021
23
6
34
South Africa
I should add that she is not broody, no new additions were made to the flock and no changes were made to her run and coop. There's nothing that could be causing this hen any stress.
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
11,838
30,801
1,116
North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
Welcome to BYC.

It's possible that she's eating so much of the scratch and scraps that she'd not eating much of the actual feed and has given herself a nutritional deficiency. Is she a dominant hen who eats what she wants ahead of the subordinate hens?
 

Romaana

In the Brooder
Sep 17, 2021
23
6
34
South Africa
Hi @3KillerBs. Thank you so much for your response. It is a good suggestion, but I doubt so. I make sure any additions to the feed are under 10% for the day. There is sometimes left over layer feed which I hand feed to them whilst they're on the roost, so I do know that she is eating. She has a healthy appetite and is not the dominant hen.

I was wondering if maybe the protein content in the feed is too low. It is 13%. I've noticed that most of the best brands of layer feed on the market in South Africa has 13% protein but I did read that it should be 16% when the hens are still young and then reduced to 13% after they've passed laying peak.

Do you think I should try sourcing a feed with higher protein? Supplementing with extra protein may throw the other vitamins and minerals off balance.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
101,517
147,076
1,867
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Do you think I should try sourcing a feed with higher protein?
Yes, what other poultry feeds are available where you live?
You may be able to mix a couple to get the right amount of protein.

in South Africa
Here's how to add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, and then it's always there!
1638017109424.png
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
11,838
30,801
1,116
North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
I was wondering if maybe the protein content in the feed is too low. It is 13%. I've noticed that most of the best brands of layer feed on the market in South Africa has 13% protein but I did read that it should be 16% when the hens are still young and then reduced to 13% after they've passed laying peak.

In the USA most layer feed is 16% and a lot of us here at BYC use 18-20% all-flock feed. Chicken breeds and chicken keeping practices vary a lot from country to country and region to region.

@U_Stormcrow knows a lot more about the necessary amino acid balancing than I do.
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
5,036
15,040
606
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
I'm summoned! Yes, without significant synthetic amino additions, 13% is too low for any hen to be in peak condition. Even the EU (generally) doesn't go that low on overall protein for production - 14% is where they tend to bottom out. The addition of scratch (even under 10% daily) will further reduce avg daily protein intake unless the scratch is quite unusual in its composition - and if your feeds range 13-16% locally, its highly unlikely you have high protein scratch mixes.

I don't want to jump straight to dietary imbalance (though its certainly possible), and would have some concern for potential reproductive problems. The hybrid production layers (Blacktails are RIR x Light Sussex typically?) are famed for it - but the first year is very, very early, year three is more typical.

Can I assume that you've checked to see if the poor chicken is eggbound, suffering vent gleet, and the like? Also, have you weighed her? and inspected the droppings (I doubt parasites, sounds like you have an excellent program in place) for signs of trouble?
 

Romaana

In the Brooder
Sep 17, 2021
23
6
34
South Africa
@aart There are hardly any brands of feed where I live, but I may be able to drive out to the farming areas to find something good if it is in fact an issue of feed... However, I'm not too sure that it is, as the other hens are laying every day. Also, wouldn't she at least pass an egg every few days if the protein quantity is incorrect? It has been over a week. She did go into the nest box yesterday, but no egg.

Thank you for showing me how to add a location. I've done so 🙏

@3KillerBs I have read about flock raiser, but can't find any, I've looked online as well. It would actually be better for me as well because I have 2 roosters. Third world country issues 🤭

Hi @U_Stormcrow I have stopped supplementing their feed with scratch and scraps once I noticed a problem. It hasn't made any difference.

I was really concerned about a reproductive issue, but saying that it's uncommon in the first year is a bit comforting.

My hen is a New Hampshire red cross Light Sussex.

I have checked if she is egg bound and I noticed that she's very fat around her abdomen. I thought maybe she has fluid retention or water belly and compared her with her hatch mate that has been laying daily. Both their abdomens feel the same. My other hens are regular sized, -SA breeds - Venda and Zulu, and not as large, fat and fluffy as the blacktail layers to make a comparison. I'm hoping the abdomen area is normal for the breed. I did get them from a reputable breeder.

She does not have vent gleet. Nothing about her seems unusual. She did, however, have a mild case of fowl pox in September, but made a very speedy recovery. She actually laid whilst she was ill.

I haven't weighed her, is this necessary?

All droppings look normal however the flock is due for a deworm this week. I deworm quarterly so I really don't suspect worms.

I feel so lost now. How would I know if she is fighting any infection? I know that chickens don't show it until it's too late. I will be buying a kg of garlic powder in a few days. Is there anything else that I can do for a suspected infection? I wouldn't want to use antibiotics unnecessarily.
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
5,036
15,040
606
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
I'm with @aart on this - if all the rest of the flock are doing well, with the lack of other obvious clinical symptoms, i'd guess its specific to the bird - and may be some combination of genetics and past disease/injury and/or diet. From which she may fully recover, or might remain an infrequent layer indefinitely. After the current pause.

Why weigh? at least in my case, a combination of visual and subjective condition checking is deceptive. But the scale doesn't lie.

on of these days, i'll be better at it, but right now i take a few chickens a week on average, so internal inspection as i butcher gives me a handle on flock condition. an impractical aolution for most.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom