Sudden stoppage of laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 7 chicken army, May 6, 2016.

  1. 7 chicken army

    7 chicken army Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi all, new poster here (and I did stop by the introduce yourself thread) and I have something happening that's strange. I have a Maran hen, she usually lays about 5 times out of 7 days or so. She hasn't laid an egg for 6 days and she stopped suddenly. It's very odd. Things I've checked:

    1) She's not moulting
    2) She and all my hens have access to clean water and food at all times
    3) She's relatively high on the pecking order so no-one's bullying her out of the nest box
    4) She does not appear to be broody. She is the hen I've had that goes broody the most and I've had to use the broody spa for her a couple of times, but both times I knew she was broody because she wouldn't stay out of the nest box. She is not parking in the nest box now.
    5) No worms, no feather mites, no red mites. No predators or other small stow-aways in the coop.
    6) Is behaving completely normally, no listlessness (she does not look to be eggbound)
    7) The other hens are laying and there is enough of a light period for them to be laying normally.
    8) They all get time out of the run to eat grass and worms and things and run around.
    9) She has just hit her two year mark approximately, but I can't see why that would suddenly make her stop laying, that doesn't seem possible.

    Now the only other thing that's been strange is that I have found what appears to be yolk on the outside of a couple of eggs. I can't imagine she would be eating just her own egg (she's the only dark brown egg layer though), but would that even be possible? Is there some way to test this, like filling an egg with non toxic dye or something and putting it in the nest box and seeing if she eats it? Or if another hen eats it? I can't see egg yolk on anyone's beak and I can't stand there watching all day to catch someone in the act.

    Any other ideas? I'm stumped and I'm not sure what else to do but wait it out, but I'm sure curious. Thank you for any insights you can give.

    7 Chickens
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I have read of a couple hens that eat only their own eggs.
    Have you checked her vent for signs of yolk and her pelvic point spacing?
    You might want to segregate her for a few days, in a wire dog crate within the coop and/or run, and see what that shows you.

    Another trick I've read of is to roll an egg out into the middle of the floor and see if anyone attacks and pierces it.
     
  3. 7 chicken army

    7 chicken army Out Of The Brooder

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    May 6, 2016
    Thanks for your response. I got an old dry egg of hers and rolled it out on the lawn when they were roaming around. No-one looked at it for more than a moment (because of the movement) so that is good. She spent an hour dust bathing over here in the sun, so at least she's happy lol.

    I did look at her vent, it looks normal to me (same spacing as it's had, etc.) No poopy butt, no trauma or anything that I can see. I wonder if it's the unseasonably hot weather we're having, but that started before last week. Are chickens really that sensitive? Seems a little extreme, but if there's nothing else to point to, it's as good a guess as any I suppose.
     
  4. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Since you mention that you've had some warm weather lately, you may have noticed that they are spending more time in the shade, and around the water sources and not eating as much as they usually do. It could be that she isn't eating enough feed to get enough protein for egg production. You may try switching to a grower, all flock, or flock raiser feed to boost the overall intake of protein. Layer feed has just the bare minimum of protein to support egg production. If they don't eat enough of it, they can't lay, simply because they aren't getting enough protein. Switching to a higher protein feed should help, if that's the problem.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Yep, heat surge and low protein are possibilities.....
    ....and some birds are just not prolific and/or consistent layers after the first year.
     
  6. 7 chicken army

    7 chicken army Out Of The Brooder

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    May 6, 2016
    Thanks for the replies. They are on Feather Fixer which is 18% but it's true they haven't been eating much. Still nothing from her yet.

    -7
     
  7. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've also noticed some hens would stop laying days before showing signs of a molt or broodiness. I've also had hens continue to lay for a few days into an obvious molt or gone broody. Go figure.

    Yeah, and some breeds really plummet in egg production or consistency after the first year. I know red sex links fall into this boat.
     
  8. azjustin

    azjustin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our hens always pause when we go into summer. After a couple of weeks to acclimate, all is good.

    Eating also declines at first, and water usage goes up dramatically.

    Hopefully that helps.
     
  9. scrambled please

    scrambled please Out Of The Brooder

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    I seem to find a pile of eggs somewhere other than the layer box. I have a snake problem too but .... ???
     
  10. 7 chicken army

    7 chicken army Out Of The Brooder

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    May 6, 2016
    Well just to update this...the hen is still not laying, yesterday she went into broodyness, and SOMEONE is breaking eggs in there because I found yolk. So I guess I have to decide what I want to do about this. I'll go read some more on egg eating to see if I can find a way to narrow down who is doing it. It's not every day either which is a bummer. If she's sitting in there all day though and another hen comes in and lays in the spot next to hers (it's one communal nestbox with two laying spots) I could see how she might peck at that egg out of boredom if nothing else.

    Anyhow that's the update, thank you all for your ideas. I guess she's just done :)
     

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