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Split flock for breeding - now no eggs?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by becklinn77, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. becklinn77

    becklinn77 In the Brooder

    Sep 1, 2011
    Oologah, OK
    About 3 weeks ago, I split my flock of 25 to try to get some barred rock eggs. 8 BR hens and a roo went to the smaller coop (it's big enough for them, I've kept 10 in there before without problems). the other 16 mixed and other breeds plus a roo stayed in the big coop.

    Hens had just been starting to pick up laying again before I split, and I'd been getting about 8 eggs a day at that point.

    For the first week, I got 1-2 eggs from the small coop and 5-6 eggs from the large coop per day. Since then, the big coop is laying more - about 9 a day now. But the small coop has stopped all together. No eggs at all from there in the last 2 weeks.

    No signs of illness. I'm alternating days, letting one coop free range every other day. But a couple of times I've kept them cooped a few days in a row to be sure they aren't laying in the woods or something. (I've looked and haven't found anything).

    Any ideas? Do I just need to be patient and wait longer for them to get used to the new arrangement?

  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Two weeks is a long time for them to completely stop. I think you are right to ask.

    One thing I have to ask is are you absolutely sure they are not hiding a nest in that new coop? I thought so but I had to ask. That and the molt are the most common reasons for chickens to stop laying.

    Something is probably getting the eggs. You can test this by taking a couple of your other eggs and leaving them in the coop. If they disappear, well then you know.

    Anything is possible, but if it is every egg every day, it’s not likely a wild animal. A wild animal does not sit around waiting for an egg but will come in, eat what’s there, and leave. Hens don’t always lay at the same time so you should occasionally get an egg. Many wild animals will leave shells behind as evidence, but not all do.

    It’s possible one of your hens has learned to open an egg and eat it. Once it is opened the others might help her eat it. They can even eat egg shells, but usually you can find egg shells or soggy spots in the nest if it is a hen eating them. This one is possible but not very likely.

    One of the things that will take an egg and leave no trace is a pet dog. Does Barky have access and has she learned that the egg song is an invitation to a treat?

    Something else that leaves no trace is a human. You might try a padlock on the door to see if that helps.
  3. daneblackburn

    daneblackburn Chirping

    Jul 10, 2013
    I bought a flock of chickens on 17 th of January they laid great for a week, but went into a molt and I am just now starting to get some eggs.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    How old are the hens?
    Did/do you use supplemental light?
  5. becklinn77

    becklinn77 In the Brooder

    Sep 1, 2011
    Oologah, OK
    Hens are about 10 months old had been laying before. As I said, I got a few eggs from that coop the first week. Nowhere to hide eggs in there. The small coop and large coop are right next to each other so it would be strange for someone to steal eggs from one and not the other. I'm also home all day most days, so it would be hard for a theif to not be seen. Got a dozen eggs from the large coop today. Still nothing from the small. I've had egg eaters before and always found yolk in the shavings and on their feathers that gave them away. This coop is absolutely predator proof. (or it is so secure that there would be evidence of a breech) No, I don't supplement light.

    I'm thinking of shaking them up again. Putting all my other brown egg layers in the small coop and my Ameracaunas and BR in the large coop. That way I could still tell which eggs are pure, and see if they're just unhappy with their new smaller digs. If that doesn't work, I'm stumped.

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