My 6 month old hen suddenly stopped laying?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by tavarel, Jan 21, 2017.

  1. tavarel

    tavarel Just Hatched

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    My 6 month old Barred Rock started laying at the beginning of December and had been routinely laying one egg a day since then. However, last week, this suddenly stopped. No eggs. Am I correct to assume that this might be the cold weather causing this? (I'm based in Los Angeles, and we're currently hitting the low 40's at night). She seems otherwise very healthy and active. Can anyone offer advice on this?
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2017
  2. Yorkshire Coop

    Yorkshire Coop Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes it could be the cold causing this and also as she has only been laying for a few weeks she maybe getting her egg laying machine in full working order. I have certainly had pullets take a break from laying once they have first started.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I would say... no, not necessarily the 'cold', or rather drop in temp, cause 40F is not really that cold.

    There could be more than several other reasons,
    along with sometimes they just stop laying and 'take a break'.

    First I would ask...do you free range?
    Any other changes in.....housing, management, population, feed, water, predators?????
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    How many days in a row has she not laid, “last week” is kind of nebulous?

    A very common cause for chickens to stop laying all of a sudden, other than the molt, is that they are hiding a nest on you. They haven’t stopped, they just change where they are laying.

    It’s possible something could be getting the eggs. A lot of critters generally leave evidence nearby if they eat eggs, actually how they eat them and what they leave behind can be a clue as to what is eating them. The common critters I know that usually leave no evidence behind are snakes, canines, and humans, but not all critters of a certain species always does what they normally do. Some of them can surprise you.

    Some hens and pullets reduce or even stop laying in severe weather, hot or cold. I agree 40 is not a severe cold, but chickens often do not handle change very well, it could be a large change in temperature. That’s why Aart asked about changes. The more information we can get, the better out guesses as to possible causes can be.

    I’ll expand a bit on Aart’s list. Have you changed where she is housed or made changes to where she spends her day and night? Has she seen any lighting changes? That could be a new light that makes her day longer or maybe a security light burned out so her day is shorter. Have you added or taken away any chickens so the pecking order is upset? Are there pecking order issues, different flock members mature at different rates so the pecking order can be disrupted as they make their way into it? Did she go a spell without water? Has someone started building a new house next door so the noise frightens her? What has changed?

    Is she broody? Broody hens stop laying.

    Have you checked her for mites or lice? Since she is acting healthy it’s probably not worms. An overload of parasites can stress them and cause them to stop laying.

    Then there is Yorkshire’s point. Sometimes a hen, often a pullet, just stops for a while for no apparent reason.

    Look for behavioral changes and check her out for parasites. Other than that, patience is probably your best friend.

    Good luck!
     
  5. tavarel

    tavarel Just Hatched

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    Thanks for all your responses. Very insightful. She stopped laying just over a week ago, so hasn't laid an egg at all for at least 8 days. They do free range, and I did think it might be a case of her having a secret nest somewhere - so for 3 of these days I didn't let them out and kept them in the run just to see if an egg would materialize in the nesting box. There was nothing. Her housing hasn't changed, and I agree that 40 degrees isn't that cold. Something that IS different over the past week though is that we have been experiencing a LOT of rain lately and this really is unusual for Los Angeles. She won't have experienced this before, and perhaps this is the drastic change that's put her off...
     
  6. orrpeople

    orrpeople Overrun With Chickens

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    I have had a few pullets start laying, then take a few weeks off before resuming. I go through all of the same questions you have been asked in this thread - but usually, they start up again before too long. And, speaking as a fellow Californian (although northern), 40s is cold for our chickens (it's all relative), and oh my goodness, the rain this winter has been fierce (never thought I'd hear myself complain about rain!). My bet is that all will be okay in fairly short order. If not, go through ridgerunner's checklist again to see if anything's new. [​IMG]
     
  7. tavarel

    tavarel Just Hatched

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    Thank you so much, this is all very reassuring. 40's does feel pretty arctic to us Californians, I just didn't want to sound too spoiled ;) The chickens are surely feeling the effects of this rain as much as us, so I'll stay hopeful that it's just a weather related lull. :)
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I'll concede...it's the change in temp, not the actual temp that can make us (and the birds) uncomfortable.

    We've had a long thaw here, with lots of rain instead of the usual snow.
    It's weird to hear the rain so much in winter....made me think, 'I wonder if this is what it's like in the PNW winters?'
     
  9. orrpeople

    orrpeople Overrun With Chickens

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    After so many years of drought, I'm not really sure what a normal winter should look like; but I'm pretty sure it's not like this one!! We had snow on the valley floor, a hail storm that caused all kinds of traffic accidents yesterday, and 4.5 inches of rain just this last week. Pretty interesting. If I was a chicken, I'd not be laying eggs either!
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017
  10. Ljc01

    Ljc01 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am on the Central Coast of Calif and my chickens slowed down their eggs production when all the rain and stormy weather hit us.
    I would expect that they don't like the bad weather any better then I do. We are all weather wimps here. LOL
     

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