No Eggs!!!

ChickChick2121

Chirping
Aug 15, 2021
83
86
78
My hens are laying ZERO eggs. I have 5 laying hens that were laying 3-5 eggs a day pretty consistently through the spring and summer. Got 7 new raised from chicks. About 13 weeks old now. All have been integrated into new bigger coop for about 3 weeks. Were laying for the first week in the new coop and nesting boxes. Took divider out to introduce all chickens. Went really great. There's almost no fighting. The littles stay out of the hens way and they are sharing a roost with no problems. Eg production started to drop off to 1 egg every few days and now they are not laying AT ALL! Can anyone please give me any ideas? No one appears sick. The days are getting shorter but can this make them stop producing completely? Any help would be appreciated. Considering adding light on a timer for more light in the morning, adding curtains to nesting boxes, and feeding them bread. I've heard all things thing may work?
 

kerbotx

Songster
5 Years
Aug 29, 2016
412
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Northeast Texas
How old are your older hens? If they were laying in the Spring, then I'm guessing they were hatched last winter? Usually, a hen will lay throughout her first winter, if she doesn't molt; if she does molt, that requires a lot of protein & bodily resources, so laying usually slows or stops completely. But Winter babies can kind of be a crap shoot! Are you seeing lots of feathers below the roost each morning? *Edit - I don't know what purpose bread would serve, in helping them lay.
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
8,221
17,326
706
USA
Considering adding light on a timer for more light in the morning, adding curtains to nesting boxes, and feeding them bread. I've heard all things thing may work?
Your chicks (13 weeks) are still too young to lay eggs, and your adult hens might be molting (losing their feathers and growing new ones. That's a normal thing that happens every year, usually in the fall or early winter.)

If your hens are molting, then nothing will make them lay until they are finished growing their new feathers.

Light can help. It takes at least a few weeks before you get any eggs, because their bodies have to start with pinhead-sized egg yolks and grow them up to full size before they can then make the eggs. Each egg takes about a day to make, but that day only starts after the yolk has reached full size.

Curtains on the nesting boxes will not change whether the hens lay eggs or not. It may help them lay in the nestboxes instead of laying in other places, and it may make a difference to whether chicks sleep in the nestboxes, or whether any of the chickens eat the eggs that are laid.

Feeding bread will only help if the chickens are literally starving (because some calories are better than no calories.) If they have a complete chicken feed available all the time, I would not recommend adding bread. Eggs take a lot of protein, and chicken food usually has more protein than bread does.
 

ChickChick2121

Chirping
Aug 15, 2021
83
86
78
How old are your older hens? If they were laying in the Spring, then I'm guessing they were hatched last winter? Usually, a hen will lay throughout her first winter, if she doesn't molt; if she does molt, that requires a lot of protein & bodily resources, so laying usually slows or stops completely. But Winter babies can kind of be a crap shoot! Are you seeing lots of feathers below the roost each morning? *Edit - I don't know what purpose bread would serve, in helping them lay.
Thank you.
4-Silver laced wyandottes, 1- black Australorp

Started laying early this year.
No molting. They're still fluffy and beautiful ❤️
They're eating Nature's Best Organic Layer Pellets. Temps are around 40-50 degrees here right now.
I've heard people say to keep hens laying all winter to add in whole corn and bread to their diet and they lay all winter. I'd rather not give th the bread but wanted to get opinions. Thank you for the info. :)
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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My Coop
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I've heard people say to keep hens laying all winter to add in whole corn and bread to their diet and they lay all winter.
Nonsense.

Started laying early this year.
No molting. They're still fluffy and beautiful
So how old are they right now, in months?

The shorter days affect even younger birds.
Cessation of lay can happen before feathers start dropping.
 

ChickChick2121

Chirping
Aug 15, 2021
83
86
78
Your chicks (13 weeks) are still too young to lay eggs, and your adult hens might be molting (losing their feathers and growing new ones. That's a normal thing that happens every year, usually in the fall or early winter.)

If your hens are molting, then nothing will make them lay until they are finished growing their new feathers.

Light can help. It takes at least a few weeks before you get any eggs, because their bodies have to start with pinhead-sized egg yolks and grow them up to full size before they can then make the eggs. Each egg takes about a day to make, but that day only starts after the yolk has reached full size.

Curtains on the nesting boxes will not change whether the hens lay eggs or not. It may help them lay in the nestboxes instead of laying in other places, and it may make a difference to whether chicks sleep in the nestboxes, or whether any of the chickens eat the eggs that are laid.

Feeding bread will only help if the chickens are literally starving (because some calories are better than no calories.) If they have a complete chicken feed available all the time, I would not recommend adding bread. Eggs take a lot of protein, and chicken food usually has more protein than bread does.
Thank you for the ideas. We're going to try adding the light in the morning to get 16 hours of light.

4-Silver laced wyandottes, 1- black Australorp

Started laying early this year.
No molting. They're still fluffy and beautiful ❤️
They're eating Nature's Best Organic Layer Pellets. Temps are around 40-50 degrees here right now.
I've heard people say to keep hens laying all winter to add in whole corn and bread to their diet and they lay all winter. I'd rather not give th the bread.
 

ChickChick2121

Chirping
Aug 15, 2021
83
86
78
Nonsense.


So how old are they right now, in months?

The shorter days affect even younger birds.
Cessation of lay can happen before feathers start dropping.
They're 7 months. Would they molt when temps are getting colder? That would seem counter intuitive? Lol
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
8,221
17,326
706
USA
They're eating Nature's Best Organic Layer Pellets. Temps are around 40-50 degrees here right now.
I've heard people say to keep hens laying all winter to add in whole corn and bread to their diet and they lay all winter. I'd rather not give th the bread but wanted to get opinions. Thank you for the info. :)
I'm guessing the advice about corn and bread would be meant fo free-ranging chickens from many years ago, who normally had to find all their own feed. Since there is less food available to them in the winter, adding an easy source of calories (corn or bread) would help such chickens.

But your chickens should not have any trouble getting enough calories. They can just walk over to the feeder and have another bite any time they want.

People tend to pass down advice that worked for Grandma or Great-Grandma, without considering WHY it worked. So some of it still works and some of it does not, depending on which aspects of chicken care have changed or not.

No molting. They're still fluffy and beautiful ❤️
I've seen some hens that molted and never showed it: they just did a few feathers at a time. You could pick up one or two and spread the feathers apart to look for pinfeathers. You can also spread out a wing and see if any of the big flight feathers are missing or half-grown.

If they really are molting, that's the answer to why you are not getting eggs.

If they are not molting, is there any chance they are hiding eggs somewhere? Or something is eating eggs? (chicken, snake, rat, human thief, etc.)

You can also check their butts to see if they are laying.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/who-is-laying-and-who-is-not-butt-check.73309/
Here's an article.
Since you've got young pullets and adults, I would look at several of the young ones first. That's how the vent of a not-laying chicken looks. Then start checking the older ones. If they all look alike, no-one is laying. But if the older ones are laying, the difference will probably be obvious (and then you would concentrate on figuring out where the eggs are going.)

They're 7 months. Would they molt when temps are getting colder? That would seem counter intuitive? Lol
I don't know for sure if yours will molt this fall or not, but yes chickens do tend to molt as temperatures are dropping in the fall and early winter. That way they have their new feathers before the really cold weather arrives. (Yes, there are always a few that mis-time the molting and are bare in really cold weather, but most don't.)
 

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