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possible stressed out hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by sassychickengirl, Oct 29, 2010.

  1. sassychickengirl

    sassychickengirl Out Of The Brooder

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    May 21, 2010
    small town ohio
    I have five hens that have been laying for a while now. I bought some chicks several months ago and two turned out to be roos. The one roo is very happy being a rooster [​IMG] and I was wondering if this could be stressing out my older hens (they are about fifteen months old). I didn't have a rooster with them before and their egg production is almost non-existent lately.... like three eggs in the last eight days. Before we were averaging 3-4 eggs a day. I know the weather is a factor, shorter days and all too. Can roosters stress chickens if they aren't used to them?
     
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Feb 24, 2009
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    I would say if you just suddenly put the rooster in with them, then yes, it could stress them out. Hens do get upset with changes. Also, do you know if they're molting? Chickens commonly molt in the fall, and that means they quit laying because their bodies need to grow those new feathers. I wouldn't worry too much. You probably won't get many eggs during the winter months, unless you use artificial lighting. I've seen a decrease lately too, and in my case, it's molting and decreased daylight.
     
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    An overly active rooster can most definitely stress out your hens and cause a drop in egg production. Of course, as has already been mentioned, at this time of year it would be hard to put all the blame on roo related stress. I tried a young roo early spring and my girls (who were little laying machines) dropped way off; only two of my hens tolerated him. The others would run screaming, fight back, or hide in the coop. Egg production went right back to normal after he was gone. Late summer we tried an older rooster, and within a week all of my girls were following him around...no change in egg production.
     
  4. sassychickengirl

    sassychickengirl Out Of The Brooder

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    May 21, 2010
    small town ohio
    Thanks for your replies. The rooster has come into his own, so to speak, within the last month or so and has been quite active with my hens. I don't think they are liking him very much and have been contemplating sending them ( I have two) to the butcher. They are really pretty roos and the very active one is also a very good rooster in general. Friendly, sounds the alarm, etc... I just don't know. I'm kind of torn on what to do. I expected the production to slow some, but my new girls should be laying within the next 4- 6 weeks I think. At least a little. They are wyandotts and golden buffs who are winter hardy, but I don't have much experience with all this. I've only had chickens for 1.5 yrs now. Not sure about molting. Everyone seems to have all their feathers in tact, although I have noticed many stray feathers flying around the pen and yard. Nobody looks sparse though [​IMG]
     
  5. Cavendish Chickens

    Cavendish Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wouldn't send the boys off to the butcher just because the hens don't like them. Since YOU like them so much, why not make their own separate pen(s) so they can stick around still accomplish the things you appreciate them for?
     
  6. cackleberrycoop

    cackleberrycoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 13, 2010
    Montana
    Quote:Are your hens confined with the two roosters or do they have the ability to get away from them for a while? If you like at least the one rooster, it may be a good idea to wait and see if the girls are just going through a molt. I know that some of my hens loose all their feathers and look horrific during their molt, but others barely look different at all. This is a very popular time of the year to go through a molt. Also, flip them behind side up and check for any lice or mites crawling around their vent area; too many creepy-crawlies can sap their egg laying energy also. This young, I doubt that your birds have an overload of intestinal parasites, but if this keeps up, that's another issue you can look into. Is it cold where you are? Frozen water for part of the day can have a drastic affect on egg production; something we are battling up here. Anyhow, there are other possibilities besides the roosters. Good luck!
     
  7. sassychickengirl

    sassychickengirl Out Of The Brooder

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    May 21, 2010
    small town ohio
    Quote:Are your hens confined with the two roosters or do they have the ability to get away from them for a while? If you like at least the one rooster, it may be a good idea to wait and see if the girls are just going through a molt. I know that some of my hens loose all their feathers and look horrific during their molt, but others barely look different at all. This is a very popular time of the year to go through a molt. Also, flip them behind side up and check for any lice or mites crawling around their vent area; too many creepy-crawlies can sap their egg laying energy also. This young, I doubt that your birds have an overload of intestinal parasites, but if this keeps up, that's another issue you can look into. Is it cold where you are? Frozen water for part of the day can have a drastic affect on egg production; something we are battling up here. Anyhow, there are other possibilities besides the roosters. Good luck!

    The hens are in the same coop and run with the roos, but they do free range for part of the day. I really can't separate the roos because I don't have another area for them.

    I did really check out the layers today, and it seems that three of the five look like they are molting. So I will hang on to at least one rooster and see how it goes. The girls REALLY don't like them, but we'll see. If he/ they can earn their keep then they will stay; otherwise they will make a nice dinner sometime soon.
     

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