Two problems...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by GentlyLiving, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. GentlyLiving

    GentlyLiving Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 20, 2012
    I have five hens that have been together since chickhood. They are almost two. They are molting and it is winter and they have stoped laying. This is normal right? They layed all through winter last year. Not as regularly as the warmer months but we got enough eggs to get by. Nothing this year for the past two months. One (or maybe two) layed a few eggs but the others have stopped completly. More trublesome is that for the past two days one of the hens has been hiding from her sisters. We have the water and food on cinder blocks and she has her head in one of the holes under the feeder. She only comes out if I physically remove here or put treats right next to her. I haven't noticed the other ones bothering her, but she is missing feathers on her head. Otherwise she seems fine. The girls don't like snow so they have been hiding inside and I am thinking that they are getting restless and picking on her. I removed her for a few hours today and she pecked hapily around the yard on her own but as soon as I put her back in she stuck her head in the hole again. What is going on and what can I do??! Thanks for any advice you can offer.
     
  2. BorneHomestead

    BorneHomestead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 10, 2013
    It is normal for them to be molting right now, which also explains the no egg issue. The use their energy to create new feathers and that takes away from laying eggs. Molting usually lasts between 10 weeks to 6 months and once finished with their molt they will begin to lay eggs again. When they molt the feathers on their head go first and down the neck and it works its way to the back, so the tail is usually last. Once they finish their molt watch for their combs to get bigger again and turn red. That is a good sign that they will be laying soon. As for the one who is putting her head in the hole. I would remove her for a few days, and in the mean time put in a head of lettuce or something to keep them from being bored and then add her back into the flock. If you are not free ranging them they get bored very easily.
     
  3. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Dec 25, 2012
    The difference is that last year your hens were teenagers, now they are approaching middle age. It is normal for hens and humans to slowdown or slack off as they age. If a pullet lays 7 eggs per week, expect a 3 to 4 year old hen to lay only half as many eggs.

    Another way to entertain your hens is to give them daytime access to a raised dry coop floor with 8" to 12" of shredded corn shucks on the floor. Feed them their pellets and grains directly in the shucks or straw and make them hunt and scratch for their food. If they slack off on eating all their food reduce their daily ration by about one teaspoon per day per bird until they clean up every morsel. Remember what your granny said, "Idle hands are the Devil's workshop." Well it's no different with chickens.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2013
  4. GentlyLiving

    GentlyLiving Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 20, 2012
    Thanks. I will take her out for a few days of peace and quiet and give the others some entertainment. Thanks for the help!
     

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