rehomed flock not laying much after 10 days

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jemimarose, Aug 31, 2013.

  1. jemimarose

    jemimarose Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 28, 2013
    I acquired a flock of 5 hens from someone who decided to switch to ducks. The day I picked them up, they had each laid an egg for the woman before 10:30am. When I got them home, I had to keep them in small cages overnight, but the next day I supplied them with a large fenced garden plot, plenty of layer food, a coop and 3 nest boxes. One of the nest boxes had 3 eggs in it that day, and one was laid on the coop floor. The next day I got 2 eggs, the next day, one, and since then I have gotten only one or two a day out of the whole flock. I understand they need time to settle in, but does it really take longer than 10 days? They seem happy, and they come running to me when I come to the gate. I increased their protein, I've given them a little scratch to occupy them, I give them little treats at the end of the day (so it won't spoil their appetites for the layer feed). I notice though that they only use one of the nest boxes. They don't like the other two for some reason. Will they refuse to lay if the nest box they like is occupied?
    Here's something I think is weird: one of the hens had been acting funny for 3 days off and on, just standing with eyes half closed, not eating--but only from time to time. The other day I got home from work about 7pm and she was doing it again. I went to her, petted her and talked to her for a minute, then went in the house. When I came back out, she had laid an egg on the ground just inside the gate, at 7:30 at night! Can they hold their eggs? Why would she do that? Why not go in the nest box?
     
  2. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hens sometimes wait turns to use one nest box, even when other nest boxes are available.

    Any big change can cause hens to stop or decrease their laying. You are getting eggs, so that is good.

    Has the hen that laid an egg on the ground ever laid an egg in your nest boxes?

    What breed of chickens do you have? How old are they?
     
  3. jemimarose

    jemimarose Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 28, 2013
    Well, I don't know what breeds, but looking at the breeds pics, the tan ones look like Amber Whites and the other two look like Speckled Sussex. According to to the woman I bought them from, they're less than 2 years old.
    Come to think of it, the egg I found on the coop floor that 2nd morning was from the same hen, and I hadn't seen another one like it til she dropped that one by the gate.
    Do you think the attention I gave her had anything to do with her laying that egg so late in the day in a weird spot, or was it just a coincidence?
     
  4. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    At around 18 months chickens will have their first adult molt. The most common time is late summer or early fall. Molting can also be brought on by stress (such as moving the flock). Egg-laying will decrease or even stop during the molting period, which can last as long as a couple months, depending on the type chicken. It is possible that your hens are molting, and when hens have a soft molt, it is sometimes even difficult to tell they are molting.

    I am not saying your hens are molting, but it is a possibility.

    I think you need to get the hens trained to lay in the nest boxes. You can close up the hens in the coop for a few days so that they all lay in a nest box. Don't close them up if it is too hot, though.

    But I am not sure why that one hen laid one egg on the coop floor and another egg in the run.
     
  5. jemimarose

    jemimarose Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 28, 2013
    The nest boxes are not in the coop, since the coop is just a large temporary cage with roosts in it. I don't have a way to confine them with the nest boxes for now, so I may have to wait until I integrate them into the existing flock. Then I can close them into the main coop with the nest boxes in it. It will probably work out eventually. I'll just have to be patient.
     
  6. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, now I know why you are having trouble.
     
  7. amyegg

    amyegg Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 4, 2012
    We got ; Gris. Buff ├┤rpinvtons to start.they didn't lay for mos. :sigh
     

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