My hens stopped laying... WHY?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kittikatti69, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. kittikatti69

    kittikatti69 In the Brooder

    Apr 9, 2007
    NW Washington State
    Hi again (to those who read my chick post)... One other question on a different topic.

    I have two adult hens. Got them around Halloween last year and they went right into laying regularly - about an egg every 3-4 days between the two of 'em. I originally got 3, the hens and a pullet... well... the pullet was apparently a cockerel and a few months ago decided he wanted to ummm... get jiggy with my chickens. [​IMG] So we found him a new home (we're inside city limits and can't have roosters). The ladies went on strike and didn't lay for about 2 weeks, but then got back on track. Several months later (now), they've stopped laying again. Our weather is warming up (and they layed all through the freezing temps and snow), our days are getting longer (plus they have artificial light equalling 15hrs of daylight) - which I just bumped up to 18hrs to attempt to get them to lay.

    I don't understand why they aren't laying. My buff one (these are both Plymouth Rock hens by the way) seems to be losing a lot of feathers around the yard, but doesn't have any bald spots or anything... so I thought maybe they're molting... but the barred one doesn't seem to be losing any... so???

    I'm at a loss. I got 5 eggs the entire month of March and most of those were in the first half of the month... I haven't gotten an egg in 3 weeks now. I've searched the yard to make sure they aren't hiding them, but I don't see any... and there arent any good hiding places to speak of.

    Any suggestions on how to get them to resume laying??


    PS... I should add... prior to stopping, they'd gotten into quite a rythym. I was getting an egg every day for a few days, then TWO eggs in one day (one from each I assume), then they'd skip a day or two, then start over. I was getting nearly 2 dozen eggs per month. Then nothing.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2007
  2. Picco

    Picco Songster

    Mar 14, 2007
    It sounds like your hens are moulting. Chickens usually tend to do this in the fall but some of my hens do it a bit later. Just becasue your hens aren't laying doesn't necessarily mean there is a problem. Just keep feeding them layer feed, keep the light on for about 14 hours a day and they should be back in business in no time.
  3. keljonma

    keljonma Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    Are they hanging out in the nest boxes?

    If so, they could be broody. If they are broody and you want eggs, you'll have to break the broody.
  4. livestock101

    livestock101 In the Brooder

    Mar 13, 2007
    Make sure they are broody, hanging out in the nest boxes for hours on end. Once that is ruled out, I'd say moulting is your next best bet. Our's normally moult in the late fall but we've had them moult during the spring/summer before. Some lose nearly all their feathers and other's hardly any at all. Any chance they could be eating the eggs? If you look in the nest boxes, the straw/bedding will be wet to the touch. Just another thought.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2007
  5. kittikatti69

    kittikatti69 In the Brooder

    Apr 9, 2007
    NW Washington State
    I don't think they're broody, nor eating the eggs. They did have a few shell-less eggs right before they stopped laying (though they have free access to oyster shell). They both sit in their self-designated laying box (they both only lay in that one box, even though three are available - they both sleep in another & nobody likes the third... go figure), but only for maybe 1/2hr once or twice a day.

    How long does a moult usually last? I continue to see little buff feathers all over the place, though she doesn't LOOK like she's missing any.

    I also just realized they have caked on pooh (see my post in the disease section)... could that have anything to do with it? It's not blocking, and they have normal stool, though a lot of eggshell substance seems to be in it. See my other post for more details on that.

    Anyway... I appreciate all the feedback. Guess I'll cross my fingers that it's just moulting and I'll get eggs again eventually. I'm not sure how old they are (they were given to me as adults by someone getting rid of their flock), but I don't think they're old enough to stop laying.
  6. sjturner79

    sjturner79 Songster

    Mar 5, 2015
    South Australia
    Any time I have seen egg substance in a chicks poo it needs antibiotics or it gets peritonitis and dies. I would really get at least one of them checked by a poultry get if you can

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