1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Newby has weird stuff goin on...

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by spd421, Oct 15, 2016.

  1. spd421

    spd421 New Egg

    1
    0
    7
    Sep 29, 2015
    Wisconsin
    Hey, I've got six 18 month old hens (2 white leghorns, 2 black plymouth rock, and 2 rhode island reds) that have been healthy and happy from day one.....til now. I live in a city with my six lovely ladies in my backyard. I've been getting 5-6 eggs daily until 5 days ago. NO EGGS! I believe 2 are molting because they are dropping feathers like crazy all over the place but they seem to be acting normally. I think nothing of it because 1 of them molted last fall and all was well. Then I see a 6-inch hole dug going under my shed which is near the coop. I get a trap out and within 12 hours i have a possum, which I got rid of. I reset the trap and 24 hours later I have another. Meanwhile I am getting, ONE EGG, NO EGGS, THREE EGGS, and NO EGGS per day respectively.
    Also, one lady who is molting (I believe) has a bloody spot where her wing feathers used to be. I separated her just in case.
    Any ideas whats going on? Are the no eggs, molting (i think) and the possum related at all? What should I do?
    Thanks,
    Steve
     
  2. BurntFeather

    BurntFeather Out Of The Brooder

    32
    3
    30
    Jun 7, 2015
    No egg production during molting is perfectly normal. After all feathers consist of 85% protein and creates a great demand on the chicken's energy.

    Newly emerging feathers have a vein filled shaft/quill which will bleed if cut or injured.

    I wouldn't put it past the opossum to be snatching eggs though. we have sneaky skunks last last year that had to be dealt with before our eggs were left alone.
     
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,681
    2,616
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    X2
    2nd autumn = no eggs for a while. Some may resume after recovery from molt. Others may wait to resume till after winter solstice when days start to lengthen.
    After they all seem to recover from molt and grow a new winter coat, you can kickstart them by adding a light to the interior of the coop slowly increasing day length. Add an hour each week till you're between 12 and 14 hours. Laying will resume shortly thereafter.
    Next summer, start hoarding eggs in August. It happens every year after about 18 months of age.

    You probably have lots of opossums, raccoons and many other predators afoot at night.
    Trap a few and others will come to fill the void. You can't eradicate them all.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by