Pullets Stopped Laying!!!


8 Years
Sep 26, 2011
North Carolina
I had three, 8 1/2 month old pullets that were laying very well. One silkie, one polish/silkie mix, and one EE. About a month ago, my silkie was taken from the coop by something. After that my polish/silkie mix slowed to a complete stop with her laying. My EE went layed for about a week after that before stopping, too. They haven't layed since. Right now they are almost 10 months old.

What could have caused this sudden stop? I was thinking shock from the predator attack but how come my EE kept laying a week after that before stopping? They are not molting and are perfectly healthy so I can't think of anything that would have made them stop.
My first thought is that they are hiding a nest from you. I don't know if that is possible with your set-up.

My second thought is that something is getting the eggs. There are any different things it could be, some would leave evidence but many would not. You can test this by putting an egg out there and see if it disappears. My top suspects when an egg totally disappears without a trace are snakes, your family dog, or maybe a human, but it could be many other things.

Shock or stress can stop or reduced their laying, but I'd be real suspicious that it is some other explanation.
A few weeks back I thought mine stopped laying. Nope, a chicken snake was getting the eggs. Also, after an encounter with the snake actually taking up residence in one of the nesting boxes under the hay, the hens started laying in the flower beds. After I "removed" the snake, it still took a couple of days for them to accept the nesting boxes as safe again.
It's frustrating. I have 14 layers and they have slowed some. One day last week I only got 6 eggs! This should be peak season. Daylight hours are right, Temps. are spectatcular. They have plenty of food, fresh water and I free range them 2 hrs. in the evening.

I did get 14 out 14 a couple days last month. Usually it's around 9-12 a day, but that 6 egg day was a huge disappointment.
A SNAKE or a rat not a mouse but a field rat will take the eggs and eat them after they leave the house. Take your girls out to free range and get 2 Giant killers, set them off in the coop and anything that is in there will die. But your girls must be out of the coop. It is not poison but a gas that will sufficate the predator.
Thanks for the help! Would a snake or something get in through the chicken wire to the run and then get into the coop? My chicken coop has lots of security latches and my run is a full cage. The top, bottom, and sides are chicken wire. Any predator would have to be small enough to get through the wire to eat the eggs. I feel like if something did that my dominant EE, Pumpkin, would peck it to death. My chickens are not free ranged so and there aren't any hiding spots for eggs where I would not find them. Is it possible that they started eating their eggs? They haven't ever done that before and I have a golf ball in there but is it possible that they randomly started doing that?

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