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New Chicken Owner...and a little frustrated

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Wolflady2223, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. Wolflady2223

    Wolflady2223 In the Brooder

    Dec 4, 2013
    So I am new to chickens. Someone on craigslist gave me their coop and 6 hens that she told me were about 6 months old originally. It turns out now that she says they are closer to 9 months old, but began laying at 6 months. I have a RIR, 2 buff orpingtons, 2 americanas, and a barred rock. I got them about a week ago. They are allowed out of the pen daily to forage and then they go back in their coop at night plus i give them layered chicken pellets/scraps.

    The day after we got them I had them out all day and put a few back in during mid day. Shortly thereafter I found 2 eggs in the pen, both a medium brown color. The next day - nothing. The following day 1 brown egg again. Since then there has been nothing. I tried putting a non-heated light in the cage and putting it on a timer for 4am so they have light for about 12 hrs. a day to encourage laying, but still nothing. I live in CT so it is a bit colder but I have heard that first year chickens don't really stop laying, or that the lamp will help with production, and it has to be really cold for them to halt altogether.

    I guess I am just wondering if I am doing anything wrong here?? Am I expecting too much from these girls? What else can i do to help?

  2. OneLostHen

    OneLostHen Songster

    Mar 29, 2012
    Santa Fe, TX
    Usually the move itself into a new location is enough to have them stop laying for a few days. That are learning the new schedule and surroundings!
    They'll adjust in time!
  3. ggarratt

    ggarratt Songster

    May 7, 2010
    Midcoast, Maine
    Agreed. When we moved, our chickens stopped laying for months (but they have a particularly delicate temperament). You usually get a couple of eggs that were already "in the works" so to say before the move, but then they take awhile to start again. The same thing can happen when they get frightened by a predator.

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  4. Kazfam

    Kazfam Chirping

    Aug 15, 2013
    I agree as well.
    Establish a routine and they should relax and fall into it after a short time.
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    First off, they're living animals, not egg vending machines[​IMG]. They often don't do well with change and stress, and just need time to adjust to new things.

    My first thought is they're laying, but not in the nest box. They're hiding eggs while they're out free ranging, this is their instinct. Their little bird brains tell them to hide their eggs to secure the next generation, even if the bird never goes broody. Try keeping them confined to the run for a few days and see how many eggs you get. Hens are creatures of habit, so once they get used to laying in the coop, you can usually then let them out again and they'll come back to the same place (nest box) to lay eggs. If you're free ranging and notice a drop in production not otherwise explained--molting, broodiness, etc--always confine them for a few days and see what you get then. I've had birds that would never, ever lay in a nest box if they were ranging, and I had to go on egg hunts pretty much daily [​IMG]
  6. chynasparks

    chynasparks Songster

    Jun 21, 2013
    I agree. Your new flock needs an adjustment period. Leave them in for a few days. Put a fake egg or golf ball in the nests. After that they should know where home is. I have 2 Orpington hens 1 RIR hen and a RIR roo. My roo was Tillie until she became Bill. 2 are laying. And sometimes one or both skip a day. I supervise free range so I know they aren't laying elsewhere. I'm getting plenty of eggs for my hubby and myself. I hope you and your flock make the adjustments. I get pleasure out of watching them do their chicken thing. I have my cleaning and feeding all worked out to where I'm not a slave to the coop. And I am pleased that hubby is enjoying them and helps with maintenance. Give them time, they'll come around.
  7. ECBW

    ECBW Songster

    Apr 12, 2011
    Lots of sound advise. I would add that when the chickens first arrive at a new home, it is a good idea to keep them "cooped" in for a few days. This is so they get to calm down, get to know the coop as their new home and safe house, and get to know where to lay their eggs.

    This is not plug and play. Give it time.

  8. LauraCatherwood

    LauraCatherwood In the Brooder

    Dec 7, 2013
    Concord, NC
    I completely understand your frustration. I am totally new to this as well. We just got ours last Friday (2 RIR and 2 Barred Rocks) We haven't gotten any eggs at all yet, but it was a rather traumatic move for them. Instead of focusing on when I'll start getting eggs, I'm trying to focus on getting to know my girls and helping them to feel safe and secure. The rest will eventually fall into place. Still, it's hard to be patient sometimes :)
  9. ronnie 25

    ronnie 25 In the Brooder

    Dec 11, 2013
    Me too i hpe i figure it all out.
  10. CMP1999

    CMP1999 In the Brooder

    Nov 27, 2013
    Tularosa new mexico
    i say hit them with 14 to 15 hours of light and give a layer feed i raise 100 to 200 chickens a year and have done a lot of reaserch shut off all light sorces when you put your light in they will lay[​IMG]

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