Pullet stopped laying

cate1124

Songster
10 Years
Jul 3, 2011
136
205
187
I've an 8-month old Easter Egger who began laying regularly around the normal time -- five months -- and then quit three weeks ago. There was a cold snap; my other March chicks slowed down and other local flock-keepers experienced a halt in laying. I've experienced these weather-related pauses before, but my EE does not seem to be resuming. She is a very lean girl -- less than two pounds -- who does not eat or poop much, though I have offered her every treat and also made sure she can eat without being hassled by more dominant birds. I took her to the vet 10 days ago, because she suddenly became lethargic, but she bounced back from that quickly, and the vet couldn't see (exam and x-ray) anything wrong. She appears healthy.

I've never had a pullet not lay through her first winter. Have you? She is so slight; I am wondering if her size and small appetite, combined with the energy necessary to stay warm (though the coop is cozy, as coops go), has shut down her laying until spring. I'm trying to determine whether the halt is cause for concern or something that sometimes just happens with small birds. Her eggs were large for her body size when she was laying.
 

cate1124

Songster
10 Years
Jul 3, 2011
136
205
187
This is my 5 pullets first winter. I'm only getting 1or 2 eggs a day. Before the cold weather and shorter days, I got 5 eggs per day.
Thanks for sharing that. I've just not had one quit, entirely, and not resume.
 

LaFleche

Meadow Devil
9 Years
Sep 22, 2012
7,352
27,178
932
Germany
I've an 8-month old Easter Egger who began laying regularly around the normal time -- five months -- and then quit three weeks ago. There was a cold snap; my other March chicks slowed down and other local flock-keepers experienced a halt in laying. I've experienced these weather-related pauses before, but my EE does not seem to be resuming. She is a very lean girl -- less than two pounds -- who does not eat or poop much, though I have offered her every treat and also made sure she can eat without being hassled by more dominant birds. I took her to the vet 10 days ago, because she suddenly became lethargic, but she bounced back from that quickly, and the vet couldn't see (exam and x-ray) anything wrong. She appears healthy.

I've never had a pullet not lay through her first winter. Have you? She is so slight; I am wondering if her size and small appetite, combined with the energy necessary to stay warm (though the coop is cozy, as coops go), has shut down her laying until spring. I'm trying to determine whether the halt is cause for concern or something that sometimes just happens with small birds. Her eggs were large for her body size when she was laying.
When did you last deworm her if at all?
Did the vet check a feecal float sample for internal parasites?
 

cate1124

Songster
10 Years
Jul 3, 2011
136
205
187
I don't routinely deworm my flock, as parasites are not a big problem here in Colorado. I'm sure the vet would have requested a fecal sample if she suspected them. Also, it's likely more than one bird would be affected, if it was parasites.
 

cate1124

Songster
10 Years
Jul 3, 2011
136
205
187
When did you last deworm her if at all?
Did the vet check a feecal float sample for internal parasites?
But, I see where you're going. I will ask the vet and bring in a sample if she thinks that's possible. (Would worms be apparent on x-ray?) The vet gave me a course of antibiotic (Tylan) as she said something MIGHT be starting in the lungs, but when the hen seemed completely normal the next day, she said it was fine to discontinue, as she wasn't sure she was seeing any pathology; the RX was more prophylactic.
 

LaFleche

Meadow Devil
9 Years
Sep 22, 2012
7,352
27,178
932
Germany
I don't routinely deworm my flock, as parasites are not a big problem here in Colorado. I'm sure the vet would have requested a fecal sample if she suspected them. Also, it's likely more than one bird would be affected, if it was parasites.
Well, sometimes even a vet and more so one that is usually not treating poultry, can forget such a simple thing as a fecal float.

And not all other chickens need to have had the bad luck to ingest a parasite infested bug, snail or even ant.
 

LaFleche

Meadow Devil
9 Years
Sep 22, 2012
7,352
27,178
932
Germany
But, I see where you're going. I will ask the vet and bring in a sample if she thinks that's possible. (Would worms be apparent on x-ray?) The vet gave me a course of antibiotic (Tylan) as she said something MIGHT be starting in the lungs, but when the hen seemed completely normal the next day, she said it was fine to discontinue, as she wasn't sure she was seeing any pathology; the RX was more prophylactic.
They would not appear unless they would have already formed an enormous mass (entangled ball) which would by then already have obstructed the digestive tract.

Usually tumours or egg masses (internal laying) or stuck eggs (egg binding) might appear on x-ray, and more often than not foreign objects as plastic lids, nails, screws, earrings etc.
 

cate1124

Songster
10 Years
Jul 3, 2011
136
205
187
Well, sometimes even a vet and more so one that is usually not treating poultry, can forget such a simple thing as a fecal float.

And not all other chickens need to have had the bad luck to ingest a parasite infested bug, snail or even ant.
Good points. I've e-mailed her with the question. Curious: Wouldn't a chicken with a parasite eat more, rather than less, and lose weight regardless? Appreciate your insights.
 

LaFleche

Meadow Devil
9 Years
Sep 22, 2012
7,352
27,178
932
Germany
Wouldn't a chicken with a parasite eat more, rather than less, and lose weight regardless?
At first, yes.

But depending on the time carrying the infestation, kind and amount of parasites the normal body functions and reactions can be disturbed and the chicken feels very unwell and weak, even dizzy due to the lack of nutrients and vitamins. They often show neurological issues as well.

Adding broodiness or moult a severe infestation with parasites can even lead to a chickens demise if left untreated.
 

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