My 15 hens haven't laid an egg in 2 weeks

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by judge, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. judge

    judge Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have 15 chickens of various breeds that have not laid an egg in over 2 weeks. I cannot figure out the problem. We had very cold temps in the last month of -20 to -30 with the windchill, and they were laying around 8 eggs a day all through that. Now-nothing? Any ideas as to why all of them have quit laying, and how to get them to start again? Thanks!
     
  2. missnu01

    missnu01 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Did you get all of them at the same time, or rather are they all roughly the same age? Could it be possible that they are molting, or that some of them have started eating their eggs, or could something else be taking the eggs? Could they be hiding the eggs?
     
  3. judge

    judge Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes- they are all the same age, and they all stopped laying at the same time. I have thought of them eating the eggs, but I haven't seen any shells, and I don't know how to catch them if they are. It's so weird. If they stopped laying because of stress how do I get them to start again?
     
  4. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    Was there a traumatic event? Water freezing and getting dehydrated? Predator attack?

    Or, are there a bunch of feathers all over?

    If it's stress or molting, they'll start back up when they're good and ready. Higher protein feed is supposed to help them through a molt. I switched mine from 16 to 21% feed with animal protein during their molt. Not sure whether it hurried things along or not but they seemed to like the feed and lost interest in foraging for insects.
     
  5. missnu01

    missnu01 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am not sure the water freezing will do it...My water is frozen every morning, and I won't lie, I have been known to take my sweet time getting up to the coop to being them new water, but haven't missed an egg beat so far from it..then again we are talking about the water freezing around 3 or 4 am and me refilling it at 10 or 11 am...We also ran out of food for a few days, I noticed the chickens just foraged way more for a few days...I just got them a new bag of food today and not one has come to see me or check out the yard...I think I am going to take their feeders away in the summer and just give them handfuls of food a few times throughout the day. That was what I started doing as the food got low and that got them up and moving and being chickens. If given a full feeder they are a bunch of lazy layabouts...I can say that the eggs are smaller when they are foraging and only getting a few handfuls of food everyday...but I still get the same number of eggs, just slightly smaller than when the feeder is full...I also noticed a size difference between giving laying pellets with 16% protein, and chick starter with 20% protein...the eggs were a size larger when the hens were eating all the chicks food...
    I can't wait until full on spring time, with warm weather and bugs and all that.
     
  6. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    It's not the water freezing that's traumatic, it's the dehydration. If they go without long enough to get dehydrated, they will stop laying while they recover. I asked because it's winter and not noticing that a heated dish has stopped working isn't unheard of.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
  7. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Do you use light in your coop so that they have at least 12 hours of light daily? I think it is just the cold temperatures, because I always see a drop this winter if the temperatures drop. If your chickens are at that 18 month old mark they could be starting a molt, but you would definitely see tons of bare-looking chickens.
     
  8. judge

    judge Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you all! I think it may have been the water? We have never used lighting or heat in the coop, even when the windchill was -30 and they layed all through that. I guess I will just have to wait and see...
     

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