No eggs for 2 months!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by zoomblur, May 19, 2019.

  1. zoomblur

    zoomblur Hatching

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    May 19, 2019
    I "inherited" 6 hens and a rooster when a family moved away and couldn't take their flock. They adjusted just fine and I was getting 4-5 eggs per day (1 hen is old and fat, and is just our Big Mama). Then I had 2 hens die over a couple of weeks due to some sort of attack--maybe neighbors dog. We live on 5 acres, so plenty of room to roam, no fences. I was still getting 3 eggs per day without fail. Then I brought in 2 younger hens, not egg laying age yet but old enough to hang with the others. Since then, I get 1 egg a day if I'm lucky. I thought maybe they were laying in the woods near our property, but I can't find any eggs at all. I check daily. They have plenty of water, and I've added more egg laying pellets to their diets. There is zero reason by anything I can find on Google as to why they aren't laying. The new girls have found their place in the pecking order, and everyone is happy. The girls still follow me around waiting for food or just company, but still no eggs. I keep the nesting boxes clean, use ceramic decoys to teach the new ones. I'm in Texas, so 2 months ago temps started to warm up, but have been pretty stable...not too hot, not too cold. All habits are routine, they get out of coops in the morning and put themselves to bed every night...then I close the coops and make sure they are accounted for. Can anyone tell me what's up? Thanks!
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
  2. Fishkeeper

    Fishkeeper Crowing

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    Do they have free-choice calcium?

    Is it possible something is hanging around and scaring them?

    Inspect them closely, especially around the vents, and see if they have mites.

    You may want to consider penning them up temporarily and seeing if they've just gotten really good at hiding their eggs. Could be they're laying very sneakily.
     
    zoomblur likes this.
  3. zoomblur

    zoomblur Hatching

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    May 19, 2019
    They are in a very docile environment, and nothing had changed when they stopped laying. We have a cat that hangs out with them, but doesn't try to attack. In fact they just lay around together, it's a pretty chill atmosphere. We have 2 dogs, again very chill and only wrestle with the cat in the yard when they're bored. Other than that, no aggression from anywhere. I don't know about mites, and wouldn't know what to look for. I have kept them sequestered for several days, and have even moved hens and rooster around to see if there's stress going on in the pecking order. And I use oyster shell granules free range for calcium. Should I put them in a bowl? I thought that layer pellets gave them everything they needed though.
     
  4. zoomblur

    zoomblur Hatching

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    May 19, 2019
    Thanks for your reply!
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    The 'intruders' shook things up.
    They're not called 'hidden nests' for nothing, hard to find them.

    I'd check pelvic points:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/who-is-laying-and-who-is-not-butt-check.73309/

    Then maybe:
    Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop for a week or so can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop and maybe run 24/7 for a few days to a week, provided you have adequate space and ventilation, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.
     
  6. zoomblur

    zoomblur Hatching

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    May 19, 2019
    Thanks! So you think there might be hidden nests? I've looked quite thoroughly but admit there are areas I can't access due to clusters of low branches. But these areas are pretty far from the coops, and I kind of thought they wouldn't deliberately lay eggs so far from food and shelter.

    And if it is the new hens causing stress enough to stop laying, how long should I expect that to last? I mean we went from eggs every day without fail to nothing almost overnight since mid-March, and now we are almost late May.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Yep....unless they stopped laying.
    That's why you do a pelvic exam before confining them.
     

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