Post-attack egg laying?

Xtina

Songster
11 Years
Jul 1, 2008
729
2
149
Portland, Oregon
Hi all,
We had a horrible event last night: a raccoon got my buff orpington. It was terrifying for both me and my ladies, but it has sort of freed me up to identify another problem I've been having. For the longest time, I've only been getting two eggs a day out of my three birds, but since I can't be out there watching the girls every day, I had no way to figure out who had stopped laying. Well, now I only have two birds, and I caught one of them laying an egg today. So I know my barred rock is good. Now I'm left with a Rhode Island Red, who may not be laying eggs. She didn't lay today, but I didn't want to jump to any conclusions. There are so many possibilities besides this being a chicken who's outlived her useful egg-laying life. So I thought I'd come here and ask a few things:

1. Do some chickens get so scared after an attack that they would stop ovulating for a short time? I could totally see that happening to me after what they went through!
2. Do some chickens slowly ramp down production, only laying eggs maybe every few days or so?

I just don't want to jump to any hasty conclusions and send her to the soup pot prematurely. I suppose time will tell me anyway, because it's not like she's going to be made into soup tomorrow - that would leave my barred rock alone. I have to sort out the problem and introduce new hens before making any decisions. I just wanted to get any answers you guys may have before I let time answer me.
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
597
448
South Georgia
You didn't say how old they are. Usually around 1.5 years they will molt then lay fewer eggs, but many will continue to lay for years, and these are generally larger eggs; I've started getting eggs bigger than the jumbo ones in the store; many of mine just finished this molt.

They can stop laying after a scare like that for a long time, like at least a month. They do go into shock. The loss of one also changes the pecking order s o they will be busy sorting this out as well.
 

Xtina

Songster
11 Years
Jul 1, 2008
729
2
149
Portland, Oregon
Yeah, I should have mentioned! My girls are about 2.5 years old and they have been fantastic layers until this summer. Things got kind of sketchy. Between the creative places they found to lay their eggs (not in their nesting boxes) and the spate of egg-eating that occurred (the offender was removed by the raccoon last night), I couldn't really keep tabs on what was going on.
 

CMV

Flock Mistress
10 Years
Apr 15, 2009
6,770
197
281
1. Absolutely. Stress is the biggest reason for birds to stop laying. An attack would certainly qualify.

2. How old is she? If she is under 4 y.o. I would say she should still be laying pretty well. My 3 y.o. hens are laying the best eggs of their lives. They skip a day like every 3-4 days, but they are still laying pretty regularly.
 

sourland

Broody Magician
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 3, 2009
125,109
382,916
2,027
New Jersey
The answer to both of your questions is yes. The trauma of the coon attack could cause your hens to stop laying for a significant period of time when you factor in shortening daylength, molt, etc. I hope you eliminated the coon. If not, he will return to wreak more havoc.
 

CMV

Flock Mistress
10 Years
Apr 15, 2009
6,770
197
281
Quote:
Mine slowed down last summer and I couldn't figure out why. Then they molted but never really started laying well after. I finally figured out they had a terrible case of mites. Have you done a bug check lately?
 

Xtina

Songster
11 Years
Jul 1, 2008
729
2
149
Portland, Oregon
As for the coon, his days are hopefully numbered. He got away this time, but we're setting out a trap tonight. And I should admit that the reason he succeeded was my fault out of negligence. My coop is in need of some repair so I hadn't shut it. That problem has been remediated and my girls are locked up good and tight tonight. This will be the first time the coop's fortifications have really been tested against a marauder with opposable thumbs, but I think we've got good defenses going. I'm hoping to catch the SOB tonight though.

As for the mites....hm. I haven't done a thorough check, but I do handle them regularly. I'll keep a lookout for any traces. Thanks for the suggestion.
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
597
448
South Georgia
Quote:
Best to check at night with a light and helper. Some of those critters only get on at night. Though I'm betting this isn't the problem; still, always good to check.

Good luck with your coon! They can be such a pain to trap.
 

Xtina

Songster
11 Years
Jul 1, 2008
729
2
149
Portland, Oregon
My biggest fear with trapping this raccoon, if it is a raccoon, is that it's too big to fit into our trap. The raccoons in this neighborhood are just massive...I'm imagining they're on par with my 50-60 pound dogs. The trap really wouldn't fit anything larger than a big opossum.
 

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