my hens all quit laying at once! why?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by flowerchicks, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. flowerchicks

    flowerchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 18, 2009
    n. california
    I have 9 hens and 2 roosters. The hens are 2 years old, one roo is also 2 and one is a year old. He is top roo. I usually get 3-7 eggs a day, but in the last 3 days, I have gotten 1 egg. They free range in a fenced area, it is pretty bare, but I searched the area looking for the missing eggs. Nothing. I have a some ideas what could be happening, because it seems very strange for them all to stop laying at once.

    Theory #1: something scared them in their coop. I saw this in a recent post, and it made sense. I have an open coop (only one side is solid, the rest is fencing) This morning I heard them all clucking like crazy around 6:30. I got up to see what was wrong, and all the hens were up on their perches clucking and my head roo was on the ground (he is a silkie and can't roost) clucking warning clucks. I didn't see anything around that would have scared them, but I am guessing there was probably a raccoon around. There is no way a raccoon can get inside the coop, but they can get right up to it. They did calm down after I came out, and have seemed fine today.

    Theory #2: I have 2 hens that are brooding right now. I gave them 5 eggs 4 days ago to sit on, and since then, I have only collected fresh eggs once. I have 3 nesting boxes in the coop, but they never use them to lay. They prefer to use the 2 dog crates we have in the coop instead. Well, both hens are brooding in the "popular" crate (even though only one hen is actually sitting on eggs). This has never stopped the other hens before, they would either use the other crate or chase out the broody, or sit in there with her (they are large crates).

    Theory #3: The weather has finally started acting like summer, after a loooong, very wet winter. But, even though the weather is warmer, it still hasn't gotten hot. The temp. hasn't gotten above 85 outside yet. Quite pleasant, considering what is coming.

    So, any ideas on what has caused them to stop laying all at once? Oh, I haven't changed their feed, but they are getting more veggi scraps lately.
     
  2. Jferlisi

    Jferlisi i dont eat chicken!!!!

    Nov 2, 2010
    Menifee CA
    Have you looked under your broodies yet to see if there are unwanted eggs under them. I always mark the eggs im putting under my broodies cause my hens always give them eggs. If thats not it I would say its your first theory. Hens wont lay in there coop if they dont feel its not safe, so if something is harassing them they wont lay.
     
  3. flowerchicks

    flowerchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 18, 2009
    n. california
    Oh yeah, I looked. I did mark the eggs I gave them last week. I think its theory 1 also. Especially after hearing the ruckus this morning. DH said he had a hard time getting our husky back inside when he let her out in the early early morning. She has treed several coons. We have heavy vinyl sheets that we keep down in winter to keep the weather out. They are up now, but I am going to have DH put them down. It might not give the chickens much comfort, but I will feel better.
     
  4. Jferlisi

    Jferlisi i dont eat chicken!!!!

    Nov 2, 2010
    Menifee CA
    Ya i would get a trap set to try and catch whatever is pestering your chickens, also look around the coop for footprints. Get the ground really wet around the coop tonight before you go to bed so if something comes around you can tell.
     
  5. flowerchicks

    flowerchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 18, 2009
    n. california
    Well, I got 2 eggs today. I told DH to put the flaps down on the coop. That didn't go over very well. He said "do you know how hot they are going to be at night"? I would rather have warm chickens than dead or freaked out chickens. It is in the 60's at night right now. I tried to explain to him that a raccoon can stick its little arms and hands right through the wire and grab a sleeping hen. Now were fighting because he "knows who's really in charge"!! Oh fun times! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  6. Jferlisi

    Jferlisi i dont eat chicken!!!!

    Nov 2, 2010
    Menifee CA
    Quote:Im sorry to hear this has caused problem, [​IMG]. Have you tried locking them in?
     
  7. flowerchicks

    flowerchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 18, 2009
    n. california
    oh, they're locked in the coop at night. It is a converted dog run, up against a shed. they are safe inside, unless something tries to reach through the wire at night when they are sleeping. Here is a pic of the coop. There were no flaps on it when this was taken, but this is what it looks like without them.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Jferlisi

    Jferlisi i dont eat chicken!!!!

    Nov 2, 2010
    Menifee CA
    Looks like a nice setup to me. Ya you can try and keep them locked in for a few days. There is enough room in there for them. But i would do that after you know that there is nothing bugging them at night.
     
  9. benjoycei

    benjoycei Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 4, 2011
    Wilmington
    Is that a fox peeking in the back of it?
     
  10. Jferlisi

    Jferlisi i dont eat chicken!!!!

    Nov 2, 2010
    Menifee CA
    Quote:No its there dog, i believe. Queensland heeler?
     

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