My hens have completely stopped laying. I'm so confused.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mamakelly, Aug 18, 2014.

  1. mamakelly

    mamakelly Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 12, 2010
    I have 5 hens. Three of them I hatched out of our incubator in November. They started laying eggs in May. We were getting 2-3 eggs a day for about a month. Then one of my hens went broody. She stopped laying eggs completely, and the others slowed down as well. Then we were only getting about 1 egg a day from all three hens.

    During the time while I was trying to get the broody one to stop being broody, we added 2 more hens, (that are about 4 months old) to our flock. Then everyone completely stopped laying all together, which I attributed to stress. They are all in the coop together now, and get along great. The broody hen is no longer broody, and has been acting more like herself. So it's been a month of the hen not broody, and the new girls being the in coop and no one has laid a single egg in that month.

    I read everything I can find, and I just can't figure out why. The coop and run are large enough for all of them. No critters are bothering them at night or during the day. They were free ranging in my small suburban yard for a few hours a day. We were feeding them vegi scraps, they have free access to oyster shell, and a layer blend. I had switched their feed a few months back and thought maybe that was the problem, so I switched to a crumble with 16% protein. I tried keeping them in the coop for a week without allowing them to free range, and only feeding them the layer feed (no scraps) and still no eggs. No one is eating the eggs, they definitely aren't hiding them in the coop, or run. I heard an egg song a few days ago, but no egg. There are some feathers in the coop, but not enough for me to think they are molting. We live in San Diego, it's warm and sunny still, so it wouldn't be because of lack of daylight. I'm baffled. Any thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2014
  2. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That does seem unusual. I do not know why the older hens would not be laying.

    How old are the pullets now? I am just asking to see if they are old enough to lay eggs.

    Also, what breeds of chickens do you have?
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2014
  3. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Could they be hiding the eggs when they get to free range? If the new girls are four months old, that's 16 weeks. Maybe they just haven't started laying yet. What time do you let them out to free range....Maybe keep them inside until two hours before dark, that way the laying (if they're laying) will be finished.

    Hens can really really get worked up about newbies, or when things are happening like you breaking a broody hen.....It can take even a few months for them to settle down and get comfortable again.....

    I sure hope they start laying for you soon. Have your new hens started squatting? What breed are they. Some breeds don't start laying until 25 weeks, while some start at 17 weeks....
     
  4. mamakelly

    mamakelly Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 12, 2010
    They definitely aren't hiding the eggs. We have a teeny backyard, we'd find them. Plus, I've kept them in for a week and still nothing. I'm not 100% on the age of the newbies. I'm guessing 4-5 months. I'm not expecting them to lay, just the older hens. 2 of the older hens are Lavendar Amerucana. I don't remember what the other one is. One of the newbies is a Barred Rock. I don't know about the other. I just keep thinking it's the stress of broodiness + the new hens. I just thought that after a month they'd be fine and back to laying...
     
  5. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 16, 2012
    Texas

    It is possible that the older hens are molting, especially since your chicken were born in the fall and not in the spring. Sometimes hens do molt in the first year. And late summer and early fall are the most common times for chickens to molt.

    Do you see the hens losing feathers? If it is slow molt you may not notice a lot of feathers.

    I hope they start laying again soon.
     

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