Older chicken with unusual laying habits?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Sparklewina, May 21, 2012.

  1. Sparklewina

    Sparklewina In the Brooder

    79
    3
    43
    May 8, 2012
    Red Bluff, Ca
    Hecubah is a rescue chicken (technically was left behind by previous occupants of my house) so I have no idea how old she really is. When I found her she had a mild case of scaley leg mites which I have read TEND to infest older chickens. At first she did not seem to be laying eggs - I just assumed she was too old. Then my husband found a cache of 11 (yes, 11) seemingly recently laid eggs at a time when she was the only hen in residence. (We cracked them all, none of them smelled foul, obviously we did not eat any as we did not know how long they had been around).

    The last one she laid was about two weeks ago. I have checked her secret nesting spot as well as any other spot in the yard I can think of and have found nothing. My dog has found nothing. Racoons have not found them either, or if they have I have not found any evidence (I don't know how they missed a nest full of 11 eggs!).

    Her comb has become somewhat less lustrous lately but she is otherwise in fine health. We have recently aquired our first rooster and since that time she went from being the Alpha female to third or fourth in the pecking order. I attributed the change in comb luster to that.

    So, do you think she is done laying? Is there something I can do to help her keep laying? She is my favorite chicken and getting an egg from her is like a special present and her eggs are delicious. Should I be concerned that she seems to have stopped or is it likely that she has just found some super secret ninja hiding spot for her eggs? (she seems to have a knack for it).

    I do not currently have nest boxes. My husband promised to build me some and hasn't gotten around to it yet. Could a lack of nest boxes make hens stop laying all together? There are only a handful of really good hiding spots in my yard which is about 3/4 of an acre.
     
  2. Hi Sparklewina,

    although I don't know the answers to your questions, I want to say I liked your story about the "old" hen.


    it could be that her laying days are totally overwith, or she could have slowed to the point that she will only lay very occasionally. (just guessing here). I guess that the comb is a good indication of her laying.
     
  3. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    7,950
    314
    331
    Aug 20, 2010
    Colmesneil,TX
    Whether or not there is a nest box does not affect laying. She could well be old enough that she'll only lay some. Also the other additions, especially the rooster, probably stressed her and stress will make them either stop laying or slow it way down. She'll eventually get back into it if that's what has happened.
     
  4. Sparklewina

    Sparklewina In the Brooder

    79
    3
    43
    May 8, 2012
    Red Bluff, Ca
    ChicKat - thank you <3
     
  5. Sparklewina

    Sparklewina In the Brooder

    79
    3
    43
    May 8, 2012
    Red Bluff, Ca
    Ok that does make sense, thanks very much!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: