My chickens stopped laying. Should I kill them?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Jody, May 16, 2010.

  1. Jody

    Jody Songster

    Nov 8, 2009
    Epping, NH
    My three standards would leave at least 2 eggs per day on most days while other days were just one, but sometimes, not often though, I would find three. This all changed around maybe a couple weeks ago.. Only thing that has changed is that instead of being secluded to a run, they free range all day. I look in the barn, in the duck house, behind the few trees, etc.. no eggs.

    My birds are older chickens.. I think they're about 2 and half years old.

    I love my chickens, but I want egg layers and really would hate to cull them for not being layers any more, but if I need the space to get new layers, then... what should I do?

    Do you cull chickens when they stop laying?

    My barred rock don't look so good.. Her vent is bare when she umm.. ruffles her feathers I guess.. it's only noticable when she's dust bathing or ruffling up her feathers, otherwise I never see this....

    I want more chickens.. I was thinking of making more room somehow so I can keep more and I wondered about buying, borrowing or renting a rooster to fertilize eggs so I could hatch my own to increase my flock.. Do you think my birds are too old to breed? If they're not even laying, should I even bother trying to breed?

    Edited for language
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2010
  2. illegal avian

    illegal avian Cooped up

    Apr 21, 2010
    Third World, Texas
    Tough call. I don't know what the answer is... except maybe DH should start sleeping with one eye open! [​IMG]
  3. illegal avian

    illegal avian Cooped up

    Apr 21, 2010
    Third World, Texas
    Quote:Seek harder and ye shall find.
  4. SilverPhoenix

    SilverPhoenix Bantam Fanatic

    Dec 15, 2009
    Penn Valley, CA
    Quote:Seek harder and ye shall find.

    Indeed! I think if you're really into getting the eggs, best to either a) go on an extended daily easter egg hunt until you produce the eggs, or b) confine your birds back to a run.
  5. tammyd57

    tammyd57 Songster

    Two -and-a-half is not that old for laying hens. They probably have NOT stopped laying due to age. However, they may have stopped due to mites or lice. Have you checked them over thoroughly for parasites? If their vent area is missing feathers, it may be caused by mites. I would look at their skin closely and rule this out before sending them to the chopping block.
    They could also be hiding their eggs really really well and you'll have to search better to find them.
  6. Kansaseq

    Kansaseq Prairie Wolf Farm Asylum

    Feb 12, 2009
    NE Kansas
    I'd lock them up for the next couple of days. If you still aren't finding eggs, then maybe they are taking a little break. But I agree, 2.5 yrs is not that old. Mine are that age and lay at least every other day.
  7. yotetrapper

    yotetrapper Songster

    May 3, 2007
    North Central MS
    Could they be moulting? I also wonder if they're hiding the eggs too good for you to find....
  8. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Quote:Ummm....I have absolutely nothing against folks processing their chickens for food, either before or after laying falls off, but I'm not understanding how you "love" your chickens, but are ready to give them the ax the minute they drop in production? So my mouser cat that I love, I should go ahead and kill her when she stops mousing, and my herding dog, when he gets too old to herd he's history? [​IMG]

    I do agree with others that their eggs are most likely out there, just not where you're looking. And many folks do cull and replace their hens when they're past prime laying age; others expand their coops and just bring in fresh layers; and some have a favorite or two they keep, but process the others.
  9. halo

    halo Got The Blues

    Nov 22, 2007
    My Coop
    Either they are laying them where you arent finding them, or they are molting. If they are laying them while free ranging, you may not find them before a predator does.

    That being said, its entirely up to you whether you want to cull and get new ones. Thats a personal decision for you. Nothing wrong with that if you do.
  10. crooked stripe

    crooked stripe Songster

    Jan 14, 2008
    N.E Ohio- Suffield
    I have found eggs up to 8" deep in the pine shavings. I don't know if they are doing it on purpose or just dusting and they end up there. I have only been keeping chickens 2 years now and many times they slow way down for some reason. Molting is the biggest factor. At 2.5 years old I can't imagine how tough they would be to eat. You must have to crock pot them for a couple days. I know I will have to cull at some point and am not looking forward to it, so I will just put it off as long as possible.

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