Not laying for 6 months!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Mommato5, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. Mommato5

    Mommato5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 23 chickens. 9 are from last year and 15 were hatched early May this year. When the chicks were 3 weeks we put them in a run next to the older girls. At 6 weeks we let them run together during the day and separated them at night. At 8 weeks they were together full time. We fed them grower food with oyster shell on the side until the chicks were 16 weeks and now feed 16.5% protein layer feed. The integration went really well. The chicks were skiddish of the older girls and mostly kept their distance, but there was no dangerous picking, never any blood or feather picking. However, the older girls cut back on egg laying quite a bit. We went from 7-9 eggs a day to 4-5 a day. I figured it was just stress and would pass as they got used to each other. Now the "chicks" are 7 months old and everyone gets along fine, there is absolutely no fighting. They sleep together on the roost. Last month the older girls went into a molt and egg laying dropped to 0-2 eggs a day. Despite their age, the "chicks" are still not laying, except for one that has laid just a handful of eggs (and even she hasn't laid in a long time). The older girls that are molting have dull looking combs but the chicks have bright red, large combs and super fluffy butts. I honestly wouldn't be able to tell the chicks from the older girls if we didn't have them tagged (ankle bracelets)! I simply don't understand why we aren't getting more eggs!

    They live in a 60 sq ft coop and are allowed out into the run every day (even bad weather days) usually sunup to sundown. The run is 350 sq ft and completely enclosed. The coop is predator proof and closed and locked every night. We use deep litter and recently cleaned out the whole coop and put in fresh shavings. I have searched the run and coop and there are no hidden nests anywhere and I haven't seen any signs of predators. Even when I check for eggs several times during the day, there aren't any more than when I check just once a day. I have never seen any sign of eggs being eaten by the chickens.

    They appear healthy. There are no runny noses or sneezing. One chicken has 2 patches of missing feathers on her back and the area is red (not bleeding) and I have no idea why this is, but she is the only one like that and she's one of the older girls. It doesn't seem to bother her. I have looked on them and in the coop for any signs of mites and have seen nothing. We do not have any roosters.

    Bald patches
    [​IMG]


    I have been waiting, rather impatiently, for this dry spell to pass but I am starting to get concerned since it's been going on for so long and now the chicks aren't laying either!

    Chicken breeds:
    Older girls - BA, RSL and EE
    Chicks - BCM, EE and Welsummer

    I would LOVE suggestions! Thank you!
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Those patches could be freather picking, but what they brought to mind is a hen who has taken on the "rooster role" and is mounting the other hens, which one may do in an all hen flock, as a gesture of dominance. Somethimes they will also (sort of) crow. I've had a couple do this.

    Your younger batch are just now getting old enough to lay. Not many pullets start before 20 weeks, and sometimes they take a good deal longer. It's partially a breed or line thing. I haven't had all the breeds you have, and mine have all been hatchery birds, but my EE's were the last to start, I believe after 30 weeks. Between winter coming and nolt finishing, it's just a matter of patience, hopefully.
     
  3. feathered fury

    feathered fury New Egg

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    .z
     
  4. Mommato5

    Mommato5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The chicks are 31 weeks. I have seen one of the older girls mounting other girls, but she's mounted several of them. Why would only one have marks from it? And what can I do to protect her so her back so her feathers grow back? These are also hatchery stock. :) I Surely hope it's just a patience thing! All summer long with next to no eggs and now going into winter...
     
  5. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Probably only has one because she is the "favorite," just as males usually have favorites. It may be that if you picked each one up and checked thoroughly, you would see some bare spots that are covered by feathers on some others.

    You can put a "saddle" on her. I've made a number of these, though none of my girls are wearing one now. If you're like me, you won't get the fit right the first try or two, but after that you can almost cut them freehand from memory. I cut them out of a scrap of polarfleece because it's thick enough, it stretches a little, it never ravels so needs no sewing, and I have the scraps. I feel sure a scrap of a sweatshirt would work as well. You can also go to our BuySellTrade forum and buy them; they are not expensive. I just make two holes for the wings and have it end about where their tail feathers begin, with nothing across the chect to hold it on.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/patterns-chicken-saddles

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/651503/hen-saddles/0_20 (this is just the first ad I came to; there are probably others)
     
  6. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    My Coop
    I hate to ask a seemingly obvious question, but are you sure the one doing the mounting is a hen?

    Pullets coming into lay in the shorter days of winter usually take longer to start laying. I have 38 week old pullets that have not started laying yet. In a couple more weeks, the days will start getting longer again, which will help.
     
  7. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Late-season chicks always come into lay later than early-season chicks because of the declining light levels. They may not start laying until light levels are increasing. I've had May babies not lay until April of the next year. [​IMG]

    I have some EEs that are 30 weeks old this week that aren't laying either, and mine were put on an increasing light schedule when they were 20 weeks old.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2013

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