No eggs and a "hen-pecked" roo

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by atira, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. atira

    atira Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 8, 2012
    southern Ohio
    My Bantams quit laying a couple of months ago. My 3 adult hens were each giving 1-2 eggs/day...Then I introduced 4 more to the flock...1 roo/teenager, 2 pullets/1 unsexed. Then all at once...no more eggs! about a month later, opossums found a way into the area and killed the unsex (ended up being a roo), 1 pullet and 1 getting ready to lay. For 2 weeks I went on a trap/destroy all opossums who come close to the area...got 1F, 9M in 14 days...no more opossums right now, but did get the local raccoon which was a male and he weighed 32#s (may he RIP).
    My friendliest hen is the one who "rules the roost". My roo is trying to breed with the 5 hens but the one older one beats the feathers off of him. Every now and then he manages to mount one of them but ends up getting beat up.
    Do hens have to "come into some type of heat" in order to accept a male? I know they lay eggs without them, but I have done everything possible to figure out what is wrong. Cold weather isn't helping any. Took the friendly hen to the vet and he said she was healthy, not parasites, good weight...just healthy.
    Could the hens just be totally stressed out or what? Any suggestions would be appreciated. They get the best of feed, extra egg shells, greens, treats...but no eggs and I want eggs. My 3 older hen are under 2 years old, 1 hen around 8 months and has never laid an egg and the other hen is now around 6 months and the roo is around 7 months.
    I really like my flock but I want some eggs in return for their feed and board.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Yes, stress can cause them to stop laying, especially with cold weather approaching (if it is approaching winter where you are.) They've certainly had their share of stress, with the introduction of new birds, then the predators. Most hens will accept being mated once they are old enough to lay -- both involve hormonal changes, so I wouldn't expect a pullet who has not started laying to mate. You might have to be patient til spring, though if you can get them calmed down, they might start laying some before then.

    Is your roo very rough when he tries to mate, pulling feathers from their head instead of just holding on, forcing them to submit? Does he "do a dance" around a hen when he wants to mate? A good roo has a sort of dance when he wants to mate (it only takes a few seconds) and lets the hen show she is agreeable by flattening herself to the ground and sort of sticking her tail up.

    If you don't think he is too rough, you could remove your "bully hen" from the group for several days, then return her. She should then be at the bottom of the pecking order. Maybe this would allow him to take over his natural role as flock leader and protector.

    I have 10 hens who are mostly 2-3 years old, and got 6 or 7 eggs a day this summer, but am getting one now. I'm thinking of adding light, or I may just let them finish out their natural cycle -- and buy eggs now and then. [​IMG] They're not egg factories, after all.

    If you don't know, adding light is done with a timer so they have 14 hours of light a day all together. I prefer to have it come on in the middle of the night rather than extend their evening, so they have a natural dusk to settle on the roost. My timer cost about $12 and all they need is a little light, like a 40 watt bulb.

    You can add your location to your postbit by going to your profile (brown box at top of page) and typing it in the location box -- something general, of course. It helps with lots of questions.

    Here is a good thread:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/423023/why-arent-my-chickens-laying-here-are-your-answers

    Good luck!
     
  3. atira

    atira Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 8, 2012
    southern Ohio
    Thank you...my roo is around 8 months old now same as one of the younger hens, with one other young hen around 10mths now and my 3 older hens 1.5-2.5yrs. They have had it rough...going to put an electric fence on the outside perimeter of the pen area to help deter the local stray cats which like laying beside the fence...this one cat just lays there...never has tried to hurt the hens...always on the look out for thrown food...lol...I am a firm believer in letting the hens do things their own way...letting nature take its course. No light bulbs for me...but the hens have had it rough...their coop has blown away 2 times this year from the storms going through...once it went over a 6' high fence...other time...just blew over...reinforcing like crazy...then you add the newbies and opossums and raccoons...like being in OZ...
    I am learning so much so fast...like if my roo starts crowing at 4:30am and dawn isn't until 7am...I go out get him put him in a carrier and bring him into the house and put him in the bathroom...doesn't crow for a couple of hours...weird...
    Again...thanks for the suggestions...they get electrolites...cider vinegar/water...finely crushed egg shells (neighbors help by saving them for me), fresh garden produce when garden is on...are let into the yard under cages which I move so they can graze...they get held and rocked and all know their names and come when called...Eggs are really the least of my worries...but an egg or two would at least let me know that they are alright. Also...the roo isn't rough at all...I had one before him which came with my original hens which had never been on any kind of ground...always in above ground cages...I got them and turned them into a8'x10' kennel area and he went nuts and nearly killed 2 of the hens...he became a 4H project for a 9yr old since he was really gentle with humans and loved to be held and petted...go figure.
     

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