My girls won't lay

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Fox66, May 25, 2017.

  1. Fox66

    Fox66 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi everyone, Let me give you a little background in February I purchased 4 hens from a farm to start my flock. 2 Jersey Giant hybrids and 2 buff leghorns. I was told the leghorns had just started laying and the Jerseys were due to start in April. Two days after I brought them home the leghorns gave me an egg each. That was around mid February and haven't laid since. The Jerseys have started laying around a week ago and I've been getting at least an egg a day. They are in a 10 x 10 chain link dog enclosure and now that the weather has gotten warmer they free range most of the day. I have them on an organic layer pellet, and they always have fresh water, oyster shells available 24/7 for calcium, they did go through a small molt around 1 1/2 months ago feathers have grown in now. I just put them on the feather fixer feed just in case. I check the yard when I put them in for the night for eggs. I have also added three pullets to they're enclosure separated but so they can see each other about 4-6 weeks ago. No signs of them being egg bound. I asked the staff at tractor supply co and they're stumped too. Help! How do I get the girls to resume laying eggs?
     
  2. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Since the hens free range, they may be hiding the eggs.
     
  3. Fox66

    Fox66 Out Of The Brooder

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    They free range in a fenced yard so I search the yard every day and no eggs or remnants of eggs. I live in a urban area so there are not too many egg thieves roaming around during the day.
     
  4. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    You said that your hens went "Through a small molt around 1 1/2 months ago." You also mentioned that you were feeding an un-named organic feed. Could it be that you inadvertently put your hens into a forced molt by giving them a diet that resembled a starvation diet? Google "forced molt" and see if there is a correlation between what you feed and how to force molt a flock of chickens.
     
  5. Fox66

    Fox66 Out Of The Brooder

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    They always have commercial feed accessible as well as a variety of treats every now and then. I did google but I'm not sure. If so how do I get them to resume egg production?
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!
    The molting can take time to get over....could be a few months.

    Looks you got good advice here:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/my-girls-wont-lay.1175409/

    Just be patient, as blooie says: "they are not pez dispensers".

    If high egg production is essential to you , I would suggest you stick with sexlinks that are bred for high production.
     
  7. Fox66

    Fox66 Out Of The Brooder

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    Update. Spent some time with the girls in the yard yesterday so I checked their feathers and it looks like both of them still have one or two pin feathers still coming in. Very few had to really search for them seeing as I'm a newbie to all this I'm going to assume that's part of the molt and assume I still have a week or two before they resume. Thought?
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    You'll know they are back up to production condition when they start laying again, there's no hard number for days/weeks/months for resumption of lay following a molt.

    One thing you can do is to provide them a higher (18-22%) protein ration with low(~1%) calcium.
    That will help them grow out new feathers more quickly.



    My Feeding Notes: I like to feed a flock raiser/starter/grower/finisher type feed with 20% protein crumble full time to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat. I do grind up the crumbles (in the blender) for the chicks for the first week or so.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer. I adjust the amounts of other feeds to get the protein levels desired with varying situations.

    Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    Animal protein (a freshly trapped mouse, mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided once in while and during molting and/or if I see any feather eating.
     
    Fox66 likes this.
  9. Fox66

    Fox66 Out Of The Brooder

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    I am happy to report one of the girls layed an egg this afternoon so hopefully her sister is close behind. Third day after I started th feather fixer and gave them some red peppers.
     
  10. Fox66

    Fox66 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for all the awsome advice.
     

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