My hens have stopped laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by FarmerD, Sep 8, 2011.

  1. FarmerD

    FarmerD New Egg

    2
    0
    7
    Sep 8, 2011
    I've spent some time reading other posts here and haven't felt like I have found the answer to my chicken's problems, but there are so many posts, maybe the answer is in there somewhere.

    The Girls:
    I have 5 of my original 8 chickens which are maybe 15 months old. (two ended up being roosters and one the dog got early on). I have 3 more hens I added towards the end of last year, those are now maybe 6 months old. And I have two young girls about 3 months old.

    Everything was going smooth. While others complained about their egg production dropping off through the winter, mine was great! I have a heat light in the coop so they got "daylight" as well as heat. Then with summer came a drop in egg production. I was getting about 5-6 eggs a day. First off, in early summer One hen had problems laying. She was one of the newer batch of hens and had been laying for a couple months and suddenly she appeared to not be able to get the egg out. Eventually she struggled to walk. I gave her warm baths, (which she loved) but in the end she seemed to be getting worse and I put her down. Then when we were on vacation one of the girls managed to fly the coop and my dog figured since we weren't there, she was fair game. As the heat of summer came on the egg production started dropping off gradually. This is when I added the two new young girls hoping to build the production back up. If anything the stress of adding the new chicks seemed to slow down production even more. I now get one egg a day if lucky. The two new ones are due to start laying soon and I was hoping the cooler weather might help too. So looking for any suggests to kick start the production again.

    I have been feeding them 16% lay mash, along with scratch.
    They have a large chicken run with plenty of room to move.
    They generally have a couple hours a day at least of free range in the full backyard where they eat bugs and grass and whatever suits their fancy.
    I give them Oyster shell crumbles regularly.
    There is a light on in the coop (all the time, too much daylight?)
    They have fresh water but I've never given them vinegar or anything for worms, though I've never checked for worms. Just read about that today here.
    There are no hidden eggs. checked for that
    One hen was possibly moulting with lots of nesting and loss of feathers. She's feeling better each day and joining the others outside.
    One other hen keeps pulling the feathers out of her bottom area. She doesn't show any other signs of moulting, just likes to pluck out her bottom feathers.

    so any suggestions?
    I figure they might have been stressed from the dog and the addition of new chicks, but that was months ago now!
    Maybe worms? I'll work on that one.
    too much light? do I need to get a timer?
    I have golf balls in some nesting boxes to encourage them

    Any other suggestions appreciated. My neighbors who grew to love the eggs I gave away all winter are wondering why I don't like them anymore.
     
  2. TigerLilly

    TigerLilly I failed Chicken Math

    Jul 18, 2010
    Central Florida
    Moulting is why mine arent laying. Yours could be the same--their bodies take time off during this phase, but could also be because of any one of the things you mentioned.
    The only thing you didnt mention (or I didnt see--not wearing my glasses) was lice. Have you checked for that?
     
  3. FarmerD

    FarmerD New Egg

    2
    0
    7
    Sep 8, 2011
    no, how do I check for lice and what do I do about if if I see them?
     
  4. biddybird

    biddybird Chillin' With My Peeps

    290
    0
    109
    May 5, 2010
    Salado Texas
    If you use the nipple waterers check on them. Know this sounds crazy, but our watering system clogged up very slowly. They appeared to be working but if you really checked they would stop dripping. My egg production kept going down and there were no other signs. Evidently just getting enough water to live. GRRRRRRR [​IMG]
    Still love the waterers, but ants found their way in somehow! Now we check them often......just to make sure.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2011

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by