One of our hens isn't laying at the moment (<1 yr old)

Belbris

Chirping
Feb 9, 2018
48
58
89
Nsw, australia
We've just recently been on holidays and were away for 4 weeks, with a friend housesitting and chicken minding for us. Before we went away our 2 Australorp chickens were laying about 10 per week between them (3 days on and 1 day off ... extremely regular). While we were away it's been said that there was only about 4-5 eggs a week (not counted just estimated) and in the week since our return we've only had 4 eggs.

Have watched our hens to know which one isn't laying. She appears healthy - still runs to me when she sees me coming, is eating and drinking, poop looks normal. There are a few black spots on her comb though - not sure if its mud or something else. It's not scaly or scaby, just specks of black. I've attached some photos of the hen that isn't laying.

Should I be worried? Anything else to look for?

We're in Australia so currently in Spring, heading to summer. There was a tonne of rain while we were away and little sun. But back to sunny weather now.
chicken 2.jpg
chicken comb.jpg
chicken.jpg
 

cavemanrich

Addict
7 Years
Apr 6, 2014
16,856
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Melrose Park Illinois
Chickens do take breaks from laying. Sometimes it may be stress related, and other times it may be because of Molt, or Mini Molt onset.
Your chickens may have been accustomed to you, and someone NEW may have caused their slow down.:idunno When things change,,,, chickens can react to these changes.
I would not worry at this stage as you described.
WISHING YOU BEST,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, :highfive:
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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SW Michigan
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Might she be laying out in range area?
Check her pelvic bones,
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/who-is-laying-and-who-is-not-butt-check.73309/
....then maybe lock her up.
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.
 

Belbris

Chirping
Feb 9, 2018
48
58
89
Nsw, australia
Might she be laying out in range area?
Check her pelvic bones,
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/who-is-laying-and-who-is-not-butt-check.73309/
....then maybe lock her up.
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.
I've had a good look around the yard and can't find any alternate locations (but keeping them in their enclosed run for a few days to be sure). I'm not hearing her "egg laying" noise during the day either - which is pretty normal after she's laid.

How quickly do their pelvic bones change if they aren't laying? Her vent still looks rather moist the other day when I checked but didn't compare to the hen that is laying so might do that. Thanks :)
 

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