No Eggs since early July

Tortoise

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Aug 19, 2018
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I have two hens. An Orpington and Orp mix
They have not laid eggs since early July and then it was only one egg.
No, they are not hiding them, I looked in every possible place.
The Orp mix is molting, but hasn't been since the laying stopped.
The Orp mix is 2 or 3 and the full Orp is I believe 1 plus 4/5 months.
They have crushed oyster shell always available. Treat of dried meal worms and cracked corn daily, layer food available 24/7, water available always in many locations and free range daily.
Could they really be done?
@Faraday40 and of course any opinions welcomed.
 

Tortoise

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Aug 19, 2018
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If they are molting feed extra protein. Days are getting shorter and laying tends to slow also.
I get the shorter days. But this has been since July. The molting has not been since July or even August and it's only one molting. I don't believe it has nothing to do with molting or the shorter days. At least not since this started. Maybe now with the one that is molting. July and August were normal summer days. September shorter days of course but great warm temps.
 
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aart

Chicken Juggler!
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Nov 27, 2012
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My Coop
My Coop
I looked in every possible place.
That's why it's best to confine them.
After an exam:
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/run 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.
 

Tortoise

Songster
Aug 19, 2018
543
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Chicago
That's why it's best to confine them.
After an exam:
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/run 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.
What's the point of confining them or retraining them of where to lay when they are not laying at all?
The exam, good to know, but I have two hens and neither is laying, so the exam will tell me nothing.
 

Faraday40

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
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Aug 1, 2013
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The molting hen won't lay for a while. By the time she's finished, she will experience short days and probably hold off production until spring. The excessive hot dry weather of the past 2 months made several of mine take a break. Orps dislike the heat. A few hens just started up again in late Sept...... but they will likely start their molt soon. Have you checked for mites or other parasites? Any evidence of worms? If the comb is red and vent is moist, could you have a critter (pet dog, visiting possum, etc.) stealing eggs? Just some ideas.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
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Feb 2, 2009
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What's the point of confining them or retraining them of where to lay when they are not laying at all?
The exam, good to know, but I have two hens and neither is laying, so the exam will tell me nothing.
There are several possibilities of why you are not getting eggs. I'll go through a list.

The most common reason for hens to stop laying is the molt. That may be a full molt or minimolt that can be caused by stress. Doesn't sound like it is your problem.

They are hiding a nest on you.

Something is getting the eggs. Most critters that eat eggs leave evidence like shells or wet spots. The typical critters in the US that don't leave evidence are snakes, canines, or humans. Snakes tend to take eggs, disappear for a few days until they digest them, then come back for more. Since t is every day a snake is unlikely. Most canines like a fox or coyote would probably be more interested in the chickens than the eggs but a dog can eat eggs and leave hens alone. Does a dog have access? A human doesn't necessarily mean a thief, some people play practical jokes. That's happened a few times on here.

Some diseases will stop them laying. Or their internal egg making factory becomes defective.

Light is very important to them laying. Not so much length of day but changes in the length of of day or night. Adding or removing a security light might affect them. Doesn't need to be on your property. This can trigger a molt that may take three or four months for them to get over.

Stress like them running out of water for a time period, changes to housing, changes to the pecking order, extreme heat or cold, a predator attack or scare, many different kinds of stress can cause them to stop laying. But usually these things are fairly temporary, they get over them in a couple of weeks.

A broody hen doesn't lay eggs. Not likely your problem.

Why would you need to know if they are laying or not? So you can ask the right question and eliminate some things. If they are laying and you are not getting eggs the answer is different from if they are not laying at all. From across the internet we don't know enough about your situation to be able to guess exactly what is the cause. All we can do it to try to give you information so you can help yourself. And you only have two hens, it could easily be two totally different reasons.
 

Tortoise

Songster
Aug 19, 2018
543
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Chicago
The molting hen won't lay for a while. By the time she's finished, she will experience short days and probably hold off production until spring. The excessive hot dry weather of the past 2 months made several of mine take a break. Orps dislike the heat. A few hens just started up again in late Sept...... but they will likely start their molt soon. Have you checked for mites or other parasites? Any evidence of worms? If the comb is red and vent is moist, could you have a critter (pet dog, visiting possum, etc.) stealing eggs? Just some ideas.
Had mites, way back before July I think and took care of them. I will check again though and make sure they aren't back.
As for varmits. No dogs have ever been in their yard. I do have opossum that visit almost every night and an occasional fox and coon but they can't get into the chickens coop or run and my chickens have always lay during the late morning. No varmits during the day.
Everything else with them seem fine.
I thought the heat also, but thought by now the one not molting would lay. It's been pretty good weather for some time now. No AC needed. Their coop has a fan that runs daily and their run and coop is in the shade half the day. They have always roamed the yard and went to their coop to lay.
I will check again for mites.
How would I tell if they had worms?
Everything else seems good.
 
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Tortoise

Songster
Aug 19, 2018
543
1,242
226
Chicago
There are several possibilities of why you are not getting eggs. I'll go through a list.

The most common reason for hens to stop laying is the molt. That may be a full molt or minimolt that can be caused by stress. Doesn't sound like it is your problem.

They are hiding a nest on you.

Something is getting the eggs. Most critters that eat eggs leave evidence like shells or wet spots. The typical critters in the US that don't leave evidence are snakes, canines, or humans. Snakes tend to take eggs, disappear for a few days until they digest them, then come back for more. Since t is every day a snake is unlikely. Most canines like a fox or coyote would probably be more interested in the chickens than the eggs but a dog can eat eggs and leave hens alone. Does a dog have access? A human doesn't necessarily mean a thief, some people play practical jokes. That's happened a few times on here.

Some diseases will stop them laying. Or their internal egg making factory becomes defective.

Light is very important to them laying. Not so much length of day but changes in the length of of day or night. Adding or removing a security light might affect them. Doesn't need to be on your property. This can trigger a molt that may take three or four months for them to get over.

Stress like them running out of water for a time period, changes to housing, changes to the pecking order, extreme heat or cold, a predator attack or scare, many different kinds of stress can cause them to stop laying. But usually these things are fairly temporary, they get over them in a couple of weeks.

A broody hen doesn't lay eggs. Not likely your problem.

Why would you need to know if they are laying or not? So you can ask the right question and eliminate some things. If they are laying and you are not getting eggs the answer is different from if they are not laying at all. From across the internet we don't know enough about your situation to be able to guess exactly what is the cause. All we can do it to try to give you information so you can help yourself. And you only have two hens, it could easily be two totally different reasons.
Varmits only visit at night and everyone is locked up and they cant get to them. No humans, I have security cameras all over my yard.
I did have mis, I will check for them again. They were taken care of but I guess they could be back.
Otherwise everything else seems fine. They have lots of water always available all over the place, they don't ever have to go far to get water.
I did think the heat early on, but we have had pretty decent weather for a couple weeks now, that I thought the one not molting would at least lay.
I don't care if I ever get eggs, I just want to be sure they are okay.
The only change, which happens often, is just new substrate in their coop. Same I always use though, just a clean up and new added. But of course that happens often.
 

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