My father-in-law broke my chickens!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by FoxHillFarms, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. FoxHillFarms

    FoxHillFarms New Egg

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    Apr 15, 2012
    I took the family on vacation for a week and a half, and left my father-in-law housesitting. I thought he could handle the basic chore of topping off the feeder for my six 2-year-old hens (3 Leghorns, 3 Golden Comets), but I guess that was too much to ask. When we got back, the feeder was completely empty. Since he never let them out to free range or gave them table scraps, again despite my instructions, they probably went through the food in the first day and a half, so they were without food for over a week. Thank God they had plenty of water.

    I quickly topped off the feeder and they attacked it, eating a quarter of the contents in minutes. The next day, they were acting weird, and all of them had enlarged crops. It's been about a week since our return, and they are still acting strange, but at least they're eating more or less normally again.

    But the worst part is - I haven't seen an egg yet! My FIL reported that they stopped laying a few days into the trip, but I never thought to ask if he was feeding them - seemed so obvious to me. So it's probably been two weeks since they laid an egg - normally I get 4-5 eggs a day from them.

    My question: did my FIL break my chickens? Will they ever lay again? Or is it time for the stewpot?
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Due to poor management, they likely just got stressed.

    Once things settle back to normal, so will their laying. It takes over 3 days from start to finish in the egg pipeline, so relax. My guess it they'll be just fine.
     
  3. FoxHillFarms

    FoxHillFarms New Egg

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    Thanks, that's reassuring. Although I did notice a large number of feathers in the run this morning - wondering if starvation can trigger a molt? They've never gone through a molt, at least as I understand it - I've never seen them "naked," and they've always laid reliably, albeit at a slower rate this past winter.
     
  4. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My understanding is withholding food and water for as little as twenty four hours can induce molt.
     
  5. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

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    Yep, it was stress and induced molting going on.

    Next time, get a bigger waterer and bigger feeder enough for a week! That should hold you over!
     
  6. FoxHillFarms

    FoxHillFarms New Egg

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    Quote: Or perhaps a more responsible chicken-sitter!

    How long will the molt last typically?
     
  7. bj taylor

    bj taylor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    finding a responsible chicken sitter is next to impossible. it sure interferes w/ traveling.
     
  8. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

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    Molt varies from bird to bird. Some would lose all their feathers at once while others, one at a time LOL!

    Around a month or two are the average for my flock. I switch their grain to high protien.
     
  9. karlamaria

    karlamaria Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow not good' but a good lesson learned. Even family can kill chickens lol. Next time double the food, use a five gallon feeder (2) and 2 five gallon waterers. I use 2 different waterers as one time the one kept draining out, we saw this and got 2 different ones but decided to not trut only one waterer any more.hand them so the dirt and poop is hard to et into the food and water. Hope there ok, :)
     
  10. NYboy

    NYboy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is there something wrong mentally with your father-in-law? How can a person go a week without feeding a animal? That is animal abuse.
     

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