My hen hasn't laid an egg in over 5 months

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ashbash55, Oct 6, 2016.

  1. ashbash55

    ashbash55 New Egg

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    One of my egg layers hasn't laid an egg in over 5 months!!

    A little background on my "problem" hen- she was laying everyday for 6 months but then she became broody 5 months ago and wasn't leaving the coop so we got her 3 new chicks to raise (these are 4 months old now). She has not laid an egg since then. She has stopped waddling and isn't as friendly as she used to be, she won't let us pick her up anymore and runs away. Other than that, she is eating and drinking, getting along with all the other hens, and seems to be healthy.

    My other hens took a few week hiatus on egg laying over the summer in the heat, but they have been consistently laying again for the past few weeks.

    As we are first time chicken owners we haven't experienced this before so would appreciate any help/suggestions. Will she lay again or is she doomed to become dinner? :)

    Thanks!
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    You didn't mention her breed or how old she is. My bantam cochin hasn't laid since June when she hatched eggs. Every hen is different, some resume sooner than others.
     
  3. ashbash55

    ashbash55 New Egg

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    She's a Black Star, probably around 18 months old. She was the last hen to lay among the original 4 hens.
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    She should go through a molt if she hasn't already, than you will have to see. Sometimes sex links burn out at around 2 years of age and they don't lay anymore. Feeding a ration with 18-20% protein can help optimize laying, so if you feed a layer ration it can help to switch to something else. If you normally eat your older hens, now would probably be her time to go, otherwise you probably won't see any eggs until spring and maybe never.
     
  5. goalaimethic

    goalaimethic Just Hatched

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    Hmm... Strange. She may have spent a lot of time out of the sun in favor of staying in the nice, safe, but also dark, coop. Sometimes hens won't lay because their body perceives that it's the wrong season to lay. Giving her more exposure to hours of daylight, e.g keeping her penned up in sunnier areas, might induce her to start laying again.
    Other reasons might be stress. As you mentioned she doesn't seem too friendly as she used to be. It could be the environment she's in. Or she might have moved down a few places in the pecking order.
    In either of these cases maybe reorganizing her space might change her mood.
    She also might just be done laying. It happens.
    Try a few experiments. She can probably help you figure out what to do with any future hens that stop laying.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
  6. ashbash55

    ashbash55 New Egg

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    THanks everyone for the advice. I'll be really bummed if she's done laying. She already molted a few weeks ago which makes me worried she won't lay again.
    She also spends the day outside with the other hens so I don't think it's the darkness that's messing her up. She only goes inside to eat and sleep. We feed them really good organic layer feed, so I don't think it would be the food.

    We haven't eaten any of our hens yet, but she might have to be the first if she doesn't start pulling her weight ha!
     
  7. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    :welcome

    I'm guessing there are a few things going on here. One would be her age. You said she's already molted, but the feather loss is just the beginning. Now she has to grow those feathers back. The energy used to do that will affect egg production. The shorter days will also affect laying. Chickens need about 14 hours of light a day to keep laying. Her breed could also have something to do with it. As previously mentioned, the birds bred for high production can burn out faster than a dual purpose type bird.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    What's the protein percentage of your feed?
    They need more protein, and very little calcium, when growing new feathers and not laying.
    Give a boost of protein, and be patient...sexlinks can stop laying or slow way down at 2-3 years, but many go longer than that.
    Older birds might not lay again all winter, until after the days grow longer.

    I like to feed a flock raiser/grower/finisher 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 (mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided during molting and if I see any feather eating.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2016
  9. UKApril

    UKApril Out Of The Brooder

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    My Hermione is just the same. We gave her some fertile eggs to hatch in May which she looked after devotedly but they have long since merged with the rest of the flock. She has been moulting ever since but has recently started to squat half heartedly so I'm hoping she will start laying again soon.
     
  10. lako1004

    lako1004 New Egg

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    My welsummer was laying every day as of may, lost her 2 coop mates. Got another hen and rooster in June with 3 chicks who have just moved into the coop with no problems. Hasn't laid an egg since may, eating and drinking well, OK with new flock, have no idea why. Could the really hot summer keep her from laying? Never seemed to matter before. Scratching my head over this one.
     

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