My hens want to stay in their coop all day. The hens stop laying in August

SamD

Hatching
Dec 5, 2020
4
7
8
Granger Texas
I have Four hens and a rooster. They want to stay in their coop all day. The hens stop laying in August. It was a hot summer. They all went through their molting stage and have been done for two months. None of them are laying anymore. I clean my coop regularly and give them plenty of protein feed and scratch and oyster shells and treats. They almost seem depressed. When I let them out to free range they go to one spot, And huddle there. They range in ages 3-6 years old. They have been such good layers throughout the years I got them...so I am confused if I am doing anything wrong. Any insight?
 

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azygous

Enabler
Dec 11, 2009
21,601
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Colorado Rockies
Something is indeed wrong with your flock, but you haven't given us enough information to work with.

Depressed behaving chickens may be sick or suffering from stress from a predator attack or there may be parasites at work, both internal ones and external ones.

Has anything occurred that would put significant stress on them?

What exactly is their behavior beyond just wanting to hang out in the coop? Are they vocal? Are they active? Or are they immobile and standing around all fluffed up with shoulders hunched? Photos?

What does their poop look like? Photos?

What do you feed? Protein content in the feed? What ratio of treats to commercial feed?

Have you checked them individually for lice and mites? Have you checked the coop at night for mites on the perches and on the legs of the flock?

Are there any symptoms of illness? Sneezing? Bubbly eyes? Swollen faces?

And where do you live? Country? Climate? Season?
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
Apr 9, 2016
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California's Redwood Coast
am doing anything wrong. Any insight?
Hi there, welcome to BYC! :frow

From your description.. the lack of laying is mostly due to current hours of daylight, coupled with age. Your hens will not likely return to lay until daylight starts increasing.. after December 21st.

Some folks use artificial lighting because lay hormone is light sensitive and they require 14 hours of light to produce an egg.

Sounds like wherever they are free ranging is not loaded with interesting plants and bugs.. perhaps due to seasonal temperatures.. Compost scratch piles or wet cardboard on the ground really help attract worms and bugs, hanging corn on the cob, hanging head of cabbage.. anything you can come up with for enrichment that encourages physical activity and stimulate the mind should be helpful to lift their spirits.

Not sure what plenty of protein feed means (layer, flock raiser, grower, starter).. Scratch and other treats should be kept to less than 10% of the total daily intake.

Since learning that feathers are made from 90% protein and its' amino acids.. and that rooster don't need the calcium of layer.. I switched to "flock raiser" and now my older birds have less harsh molts and return to lay sooner than when I used "layer". Treats are good enrichment and entertainment value.. but layer is already close to the MINIMUM nutrients required to sustain a light bodied layer like leghorn in laying condition. My results were so significant.. I NEVER switch back to layer.. just provide oyster shell on the side.

Ever have a fecal float to check internal parasite load or treats for internal parasites? Adding your general location to your profile can help folks make their best suggestions possible at a glance. ;)

Lets see some photos if ya got them! :fl
 

SamD

Hatching
Dec 5, 2020
4
7
8
Granger Texas
Something is indeed wrong with your flock, but you haven't given us enough information to work with.

Depressed
image.jpg
behaving chickens may be sick or suffering from stress from a predator attack or there may be parasites at work, both internal ones and external ones.

Has anything occurred that would put significant stress on them?
no... I do feel like the pecking order has changed and they picked on two hens for about two months

What exactly is their behavior beyond just wanting to hang out in the coop? Are they vocal? Are they active? Or are they immobile and standing around all fluffed up with shoulders hunched? Photos? Not vocal unless the Queen bee gets onto one of them

one of them is fluffed up and hunched
image.jpg


What does their poop look like? Photos?
image.jpg


What do you feed? Protein content in the feed? What ratio of treats to commercial feed? Let me check brand and info. I tried to change it to see if that would help. I only put out scratch three times a week

Have you checked them individually for lice and mites? Have you checked the coop at night for mites on the perches and on the legs of the flock?

I will tonight

Are there any symptoms of illness? Sneezing? Bubbly eyes? Swollen faces?
The one that is hunched up is the only thing that I see is that her comb looks a little darker on the ends

And where do you live? Country? Climate? Season? Granger Texas it is 50-60 degrees
 

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SamD

Hatching
Dec 5, 2020
4
7
8
Granger Texas
Hi there, welcome to BYC! :frow

From your description.. the lack of laying is mostly due to current hours of daylight, coupled with age. Your hens will not likely return to lay until daylight starts increasing.. after December 21st.

Some folks use artificial lighting because lay hormone is light sensitive and they require 14 hours of light to produce an egg.

Sounds like wherever they are free ranging is not loaded with interesting plants and bugs.. perhaps due to seasonal temperatures.. Compost scratch piles or wet cardboard on the ground really help attract worms and bugs, hanging corn on the cob, hanging head of cabbage.. anything you can come up with for enrichment that encourages physical activity and stimulate the mind should be helpful to lift their spirits.

Not sure what plenty of protein feed means (layer, flock raiser, grower, starter).. Scratch and other treats should be kept to less than 10% of the total daily intake.

Since learning that feathers are made from 90% protein and its' amino acids.. and that rooster don't need the calcium of layer.. I switched to "flock raiser" and now my older birds have less harsh molts and return to lay sooner than when I used "layer". Treats are good enrichment and entertainment value.. but layer is already close to the MINIMUM nutrients required to sustain a light bodied layer like leghorn in laying condition. My results were so significant.. I NEVER switch back to layer.. just provide oyster shell on the side.

Ever have a fecal float to check internal parasite load or treats for internal parasites? Adding your general location to your profile can help folks make their best suggestions possible at a glance. ;) No I have never done a fecal float???Should I watch a video on how to?

Lets see some photos if ya got them! :fl
I feed Dumor 16% egg maxx pellets
And scratch is organic scratch and peck feeds whole grains
 

SamD

Hatching
Dec 5, 2020
4
7
8
Granger Texas
Hey Welcome. Can I ask how often they get treats ? I do not see bare backs on them not over mating :idunno
I give them mealworms three or four times a week. I I have been hanging a cabbage head in there for them to have something to do. Honestly I have not seen him mate them near as much as he did one year ago
 

penny1960

Yippity do Da Yippity ay
Premium Feather Member
Dec 29, 2015
50,759
208,177
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Mossyrock, WA
Possibly they are getting too many treats then treat once a week cabbage hung is treat so no mealworms that week give it shot I never give that much my folks never did
 

azygous

Enabler
Dec 11, 2009
21,601
29,073
1,012
Colorado Rockies
Poop looks normal. The chickens pictured seem normal looking except for the white one being more lethargic.

Feeding layer 16% protein is hardly enough protein to replace feathers during molt and to sustain a rooster. Layer feed is fine for commercial layers but backyard mixed flocks should get more protein that 16%, in my opinion.

I suggest the following:

First, feed them a can of mackerel. That should perk them up in just 24 hours.

Next, buy a small bag of Purina Flock Raiser and swap it for the layer for now. See how that perks them up after one week.

Check them over for lice now. Look at the vent area for crawling things. Check the coop tonight for coop mites. Run a damp paper towel over the roosts. If it comes away smeared with red streaks, you have coop mites. They can cause chickens to become anemic, and this will produce lethargic chickens.
 

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