My chickens have barely laid in 8 months....

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ThinkingChickens, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. ThinkingChickens

    ThinkingChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2011
    I'm at a loss as to what could possibly be keeping my girls from laying. Yes, they went through a molt and it seems that they have constantly been growing new feathers over nearly 8 months. They are alert, healthy looking, good weights. There are no signs of parasites. They have well ventilated coops, a huge run and have been free ranging. First I thought they had to be laying somewhere else but after many thorough searches of the yard there are no eggs. I've also not heard any egg song. I've tried switching food, I've tried hot sauce, I've tried DE in their food (just in case) but nothing is producing eggs. One girl lays one egg a week and we have six girls. Our weather gets to the thirties at night but this has gone on since summer.

    The breeds are Barred Rock, Orpington, Delaware, Black Star, RR, Australorp which are all supposed to be good layers. They are maybe 1 year plus. Not very old. HELP!
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    The two things I thought of when I read your post are predators and hidden nests. Around here, disappearing eggs means a snake has found the nest. Rats, etc. will eat eggs, too. And hidden nests can be VERY hard to find, no matter how much you look, I can tell you from experience. Fake eggs will kill snakes if they eat one by mistake. Of course that only works if they lay in the nest.... Good luck!
     
  3. livingthedream

    livingthedream Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 8, 2012
    Montana
    Hi thinking chickens, I have exactly the same problem. I have had chickens for 8 years now and never had to face this issue before. My chickens didn't even go through the molting stage. They are bantam 3 EEs 1 Cochin, born on the 27th of April'12. Winters have not been that bad here in Montana, I do not have the mice and snake problem (atleast to my knowledge). All the nest boxes are inside the coop, no hidden nests (whose nest did you mean Flockwatcher? chickens or rats?)
    So my dear 'thinking chicken', I hope you find solution to your problem then I'll share it too [​IMG]
     
  4. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    She meant hidden chicken's nests. My son accidentally discovered one with 18 eggs in it one day. The hens have a knack for finding little spots to lay in where you'd never think to look.
     
  5. ThinkingChickens

    ThinkingChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2011
    I just spent a long while in our backyard (we don't have acreage) and I can't find any hidden nests. I searched high and low and left no stone unturned. I locked up the little beasts in their walk in run after cleaning everything. The run is completely predator proof. I really doubt having snakes or rats as we have three very hunting driven dogs. Also, though we do live in the mountains, I haven't seen any of these things in our backyard. I'm completely at a loss.

    One person locally had told me perhaps I gave me chickens too many human food scraps. Even when I cut them back though we didn't see more eggs. So bummed.
     
  6. livingthedream

    livingthedream Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 8, 2012
    Montana
    O.k, I think I'll go and check right now (that'll give me an excuse to log out for a while too, maybe then I can wash the over due dishes in the sink and cook lunch too[​IMG])
    Thank you Sumi
     
  7. ThinkingChickens

    ThinkingChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2011
    Anyone else have any ideas? A neighbor of mine has chickens in a pen with one nest box, way scruffier digs than my girls, and hers are laying like crazy. Can you over spoil a chicken? LOL
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Please confirm your birds are not laying by handling to feel bones surrounding opening where eggs come out. If bones well separated, then hens are likely laying. Then you go to find out where based on observation. Presently, your hens should be laying slow so not best time to be concerned.

    If you find locations for egg deposition, then watch for somebody coming by to get eggs. Rule no one out as potential egg theif, even the birds. How close are your neighbors?
     
  9. livingthedream

    livingthedream Out Of The Brooder

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    Thinking chickens, Centrarchid is so right, I took her advice read up some more on that, in normal chickens the pelvic bone gap should be 3 fingers wide appxly. In bantams 2 fingers. Also the egg laying hens have a vibrant (really bright) red wattles and comb. Mine have neither, so even though they are all (4 bantams) now 8 months old, they have not yet shown any coloration or readiness to lay eggs. may be then it is the light after all. They say hens need 15 hrs of light to lay if not molting and the diet is right. I am feeding mine the organic layer feed and organic scratch,
    I don't think feeding house hold scratch affects them in any way.
    I am just as confused too
     
  10. ThinkingChickens

    ThinkingChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2011
    I did a check and I think I got it right. It seems to be three fingers. I tried it on two girls. They have been locked in their run for two days but no eggs. Also, no signs of egg eating. Nothing can get into their run so I know it's not that. Now it may be the winter temps so do you think it might have just been a bad molt and then on into winter? Seems like such a long time for low egg production but I love the girls regardless.
     

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