They all stopped laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ORChickFam, Oct 28, 2015.

  1. ORChickFam

    ORChickFam Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 16, 2015
    Oregon Coast
    Until September 7th we were averaging about 15 eggs out of our 17 gals. We've got Red Comets, Barred Rocks, Black Star, Welsummer, BO, and a few Red Stars/Buff Comets etc. A fairly hardy egg producing flock. Then September 7th our Silkie passed due to our failure to put her back in the coop and our dog got her. Pretty sure he gave her a heart attack as there were no puncture marks or anything like that. After that the eggs slowly started to dwindle. I thought "PTSD" for the girls and made an effort to spend more time out with them after work and keep Tobs away from their area, even put his shock collar back on to retrain.

    But the production continued to dwindle to the point that by the week of September 21st we were seeing no eggs. At this point the weather started to change but it wasn't drastic. Still had highs of 65-70's about half of the week and the low's were in the 50's the same as August.

    The first week of August they were all treated with a dewormer. I don't believe they have coccidiosis as I don't see any of the signs for it (They aren't listless, no one's died, they still have an appetite, no bloody poop or anything abnormal)

    About two weeks ago, I noticed that all their combs have started changing color from the beautiful bright red they used to be to now a dull red.

    Monday this week one of our gals is being picked on now on the back of her neck, someone (coughprettysureitwasmybarredrockcough) plucked a good chunk of her feathers out.

    We are now going on about 40 days without any signs of egg production.

    The girls have access to Purina Layena Crumbles, Oyster Shells, a Flock Block, and then we give them access to fresh veggies every other day with an occasional treat if we have leftovers from dinner. They have access to 10 gallons of water all day long as well.

    Since this is our first time raising chickens, I am completely stumped. We have had them since they were day old gals (March 2015) and it's driving me insane that I can't figure it out.

    Any insight would be very much appreciated.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2015
  2. Hholly

    Hholly Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2015
    Amo, IN
    I know that production goes way down when the molt. But your situation seems extreme. Hope someone else will have some ideas.
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    It's possible they're molting. At any rate, day length is the most likely cause. Cold has nothing to do with it. Winter is when laying is infrequent, that's when the days are shortest, it just happens by coincidence to be cold then.
    Light reaching the pineal gland is the primary stimulus to sexual maturity and egg laying.
    Birds not laying either due to molt or day length usually have paler shriveled combs.

    Predator attacks cause stress which stops ovulation so the combination of short days and the dog attack could have done it.
    I had a flock of 12 attacked by a beagle in the middle of summer one year. I got 2 eggs that day and not another for 2 months.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2015
  4. ORChickFam

    ORChickFam Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 16, 2015
    Oregon Coast
    I have been wondering if it was just coincidence that it all was happening at the same time and the same time I took on a second job. The kids even told me the gals stopped laying because I'm not home as much with them. (way to twist the knife in my heart a little more guys! lol)

    I didn't think about molt because I was under the impression it didn't happen till they were about a year old and we're not there yet.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    How big is your coop(feet by feet)? Crowding.
    Do they free range? Laying in range area.

    You may be diluting their nutrition(protein) with the flock block as it's only 9% protein and the layer is usually about 16%(minimum req).
    It's more of a treat food...candy bar for chickens, lol.

    Could be a combo of all the things, stress from attack, shortening days, lower nutrition....
    ....I doubt it's your absence due to the extra job, unless something is harassing them in your absence.

    I'd suggest knocking out the treats for a few weeks see if it makes a difference.

    My Feeding Notes: I like to feed a 'flock raiser' 20% protein crumble to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer. I adjust the amounts of other feeds to get the protein levels desired with varying situations.

    Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    Animal protein (mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided during molting and if I see any feather eating.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  6. Susancnw

    Susancnw New Egg

    May 8, 2012
    Fort Collins, CO
    We have about 20 girls...okay, 17 girls and 2 boys....we have chickens ;) They have molted, finished, etc and I am still not getting any eggs.

    I have some that are 3-1/2, some that are around 2 or so and some were a year in August. I have ONE egg left and since I haven't bought eggs in over 3 years, I don't want to do it now.

    When they finish a molt, when can I expect eggs again? They seem to have refeathered for the most part and I am seriously considering making a trip out there and telling them that if someone doesn't start laying again, I am going to borrow a pressure cooker.

    Ideas or suggestions? Just started supplement the light again, layer mash and whatever extra fruits and veggies we have but this is getting ridiculous. I'm thinking it's been close to a month without eggs.
  7. allpeepedout

    allpeepedout Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 2, 2011
    Southern Indiana
    I thought it was normal for mature hens of backyard breeds to molt in autumn and stop laying for months, then resume as the days start getting longer in January or even early spring, depending on breed and age -- unless under artificial lighting or first-year pullets.
  8. Susancnw

    Susancnw New Egg

    May 8, 2012
    Fort Collins, CO

    We supplement with light but we've always had eggs. We've honestly never NOT had eggs. We did get 6 this afternoon but it's been weird.
  9. 2Fast2Curious

    2Fast2Curious Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2015
    If you're in a semi-urban/suburban area, there's also the chance someone else is giving 'em treats.

    We just discovered that some guy's been giving ours pizza for several months straight. All this time, we've been wondering why there's no eggs.
  10. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 14, 2015
    Northern Colorado

    Oh that would make me mad! Nobody gives my girls pizza but ME ;)

    Another consideration, if this IS a populated area, is 5 fingered 2 legged predators, if you catch my drift ;)
    1 person likes this.

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