Sex Link burned out?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by FabulousMandy, Aug 29, 2010.

  1. FabulousMandy

    FabulousMandy In the Brooder

    Nov 16, 2008
    New Orleans, LA
    I have a Red Star that is about 21 months old (she'll be two in November). Around the beginning of the year her laying dropped from one a day to one every other day, and then to one every couple of days, etc., until she stopped completely towards the middle of spring. Her eggs went from strong and hard as a rock to thin and.. weird. The last "egg" she laid was just a soft, empty membrane. Once in a while I'll see her jump in the nest box and act like she's going to lay, but then she eventually hops down and leaves nothing behind.

    Currently I have only one chicken that's laying out of four hens- the other two are molting and then I have my Red Star. I keep giving her "excuses" over why she hasn't started laying again, like it being too hot (lost two to heat stroke this year [​IMG]), or too rainy, or whatever, but something about the way she just gradually stopped laying and those weird eggs really bugs me.

    I'm left to believe that she's simply burned out. I know it's not unheard of for a sex link to burn out at about age two, but typically the ones that burn out that quickly are battery hens, and, gee, what a surprise, right? However my lil lady lives a pretty cushy life in comparison to a battery hen, so that plants a seed of doubt in my head. Maybe it really is just the weather and once nice, dry autumn arrives she'll start back up. And I hope for her sake she does, because my gumbo pot is a callin if you know what I mean.

    And if she's randomly jumping in the nest box to lay that means she's feeling the urge, right? That's got to mean something. I don't imagine chickens ever feel nostalgic and jump in a nest box for the heck of it just to remember the good ole days.

    So can anyone give me any other reasons why a red star, that's in visibly great health, would just stop laying completely for nearly six months? I just don't know what to think about all of this.
  2. tuesdays chicks

    tuesdays chicks Songster

    Apr 26, 2010
    stuart florida
    I hope she starts givig you eggs again. But maybe she is as you say burnout. If so thats terrible, your probably like me and expect to keep your girls for awhile but don't need freeloading hen. Gl
  3. NellaBean

    NellaBean Graceland Farms

    Mar 4, 2009
    Broodyland, TN
    My Coop
    Couple things......the reason hens "burn out" in factories is not because of the conditions they are kept in it is because they are egg laying machines and more or less wear out the egg machine. The genetics that makes them such laying powerhouses is what causes them to burn out quickly......because of that, an egg laying machine in a nice cushy home will still burn out after a certain number of eggs....that's just what they do.

    However having said that, she seems a little young to be burned out already.......
  4. oesdog

    oesdog Songster

    Jun 7, 2010
    It does sound like she is burned out. I hope that after a good long rest and when the spring comes in she may start laying? You could give her Vitamins ( Infant no iron) to biuld her up as Hens do get run down. Are you sure she isn;t having a bad Moult? or Egg bound?

    My Bertha is Burned out. She would lay one egg maybe every 2 or 3 weeks, but she has other uses. She is a great mum and is very broody all the time. She now has 4 chicks and incredibly one of them looks just like her!( eggs were from other hens but I think she laid one!) I couldn;t believe it, as she never lays eggs! Bertha is going to be my retired old girl. I am not going to get rid of her because she is burned out especially as she is a great mum. However she is taking it to extreme in that her chicks are near as big as her and she wont give them up just cries terrible if I try to move her. Last time she laid would have been begining of May - now its near September. So thats about 4 months. I don;t think she will lay again. I guess she will end up a free loader! Her chicks are well grown so she should be laying again now. But I don;t care I love her and she gave me loads of pleasure and loads of eggs when younger. I think she is about 4 yrs old. She would be the oldest hen I have. Hope that yours lays again or has a different use - ? [​IMG]

    Oesdog - [​IMG]
  5. The Lisser

    The Lisser Songster

    I'm no expert, but I've done a lot of reading on here . . . it sounds like it could be internal laying, where there is scarring or something in the egg-laying "equipment" that blocks the eggs from forming normally and being laid. Based on what folks have said on here, the hens who lay the most frequently are more prone to this kind of thing.

    If you do a search on "internal laying" or egg peritonitis it will show a lot of info about it.

    I hope she feels better!

  6. FabulousMandy

    FabulousMandy In the Brooder

    Nov 16, 2008
    New Orleans, LA
    For a while I thought that the problem was internal laying but I think I've ruled that out. She's really in tip top shape. She's very alert, active, very heavy and meaty, normal appetite, no lumps or weird squishy spots, etc. I know sometimes internal laying can be something of a silent killer, especially when egg yuck backs up into the oviducts, but I feel like if this was the case she would have started getting really sick by now. I am concerned about other diseases or conditions that mess with egg production. What are the chances it could be something like ovarian cysts/cancer? I know that can affect high production hens.


    So I really thought about the internal laying thing after posting this and tried to remember when I last gave her a good check over, and it's been a couple months since I checked her for abdominal squishiness. It's not extremely squishy... but it's definitely more pronounced than it should be. So I guess that is the problem. Thank you Melissa for bringing that up, I wouldn't have thought twice about it otherwise.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  7. The Lisser

    The Lisser Songster

    I really hope it's not internal laying, but at least you have a good resource for information (BYC) if that is indeed what it is.

    Good luck! Hope she feels better.


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