What am I doing wrong?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by troxx45, Jun 16, 2017.

  1. Hello you wonderful folks @ BYC! First-time poster long time lurker browsed the coop threads before building mine, which is working great...I believe or is it?

    My situation is a complete stoppage of egg laying. I have three Australorps, and one Rhode Island Red, in the big girl coop, two silkies in the little girl coop, and finally 4 bantam chicks in the mini coop. In the big girl coop, I use to have three of each but I have recently lost two reds. I lost one on April 15th, I went out in the morning and saw all of my girls doing their thing and talking with me. My wife was out in the late morning early afternoon and saw all six girls, doing their thing. I came home in the late afternoon and found one of my girls dead at the run door. No idea what happened to her. My other girl passed away a month later with a respiratory illness. Upon the discovery of her illness, I quarantined her from the rest of the flock and treated them all but lost the battle with her. Before the loss of my two girls, I was averaging 7-8 eggs daily.

    Now I have three Australorps and one red. I was averaging three eggs a day, and one silkie egg but now I'm left to one silkie egg every other day. My Red is being pecked at and is hiding in one of three nesting boxes. I pull her out of the nesting box and let her roam around in the yard, along with my silkies, while under adult and dog supervision, once a day. I cannot let them free range the yard because we have roughly 20 feral cats, thanks to our neighbor. My Brittney cocker, Moose, nearly killed a feral cat yesterday when one jumped the fence into the yard, while the girls were out. He leaves the girls alone but if you get anywhere near them, and you are a cat, well need I say more?

    So with that what am I doing wrong? My girls are being fed Purina Layena crumble. I recently added some Purina scratch grain to their food but the decline in egg production was already in full swing, getting one big girl and one silkie a day on average. The combs of the Australorps was pale for two of them but all three are back to bright red. Their water is changed out every other day, 5-gallon buckets with nipples, with ACV added.

    Thank you for any ideas.

  2. JaeG

    JaeG Crossing the Road

    Sep 29, 2014
    New Zealand
    It could just be the stress of losing some of their flock members which upsets the pecking order. How's the temperature where you are? Heat often slows down egg production too.
  3. We are averaging 65-70 degrees here which is unusually cold for this time of year. We have hit 90 degrees one time about two weeks ago.
  4. JaeG

    JaeG Crossing the Road

    Sep 29, 2014
    New Zealand
    Hmmm, hopefully someone else has some ideas. Maybe check them for lice (you'll find evidence on the chicken) and mites (check the coop especially under the roosts, in the bottom of the nestboxes, just in case. They can cause birds to stop laying.

    I have a one year old pullet who is molting (I'm in the southern hemisphere). None of her sisters are and she hasn't even been broody (unlike one of her serial broody sister)! Sometimes they like to keep us guessing.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC @troxx45 !

    A couple things come to mind immediately:
    The respiratory illness could be lingering, even without symptoms showing.
    Adding scratch to the layer likely decreased rather increased their nutrition.
    Looks at the protein percentages on the fine print of the tags sewn into the bottom of bags.

    I'd lose the ACV for now, just plain clean water.
    No reason to change out water if there's lid(with a hole for vacuum release).
    I just top off every day on my nipple waterers.

    Now some questions:
    How old are these birds and were they all procured at the same time??
    How big are the 3 coops...dimensions and pics would be a big help here.
    Are they in a run(s), if so how big?
  6. Thank you for the suggestions JaeG and Aart!

    Age: The Rhodes, Austras, and Silkies are a year and two months old. The chicks are 3 months old.

    The big girl coop is 8'L x 4'W x 6'H with two windows and an open roof. There is a roof just no ceiling unless you consider coop wire as a ceiling. :) The run is 16'L x 8'W x 6'H.

    Big Girls and Run.jpg

    The silkie coop is one of the Merex pre-built chicken coops. The house is 2'L x 2'W x 3'H. This is going to be tight when the chicks are put in here. Another reason to build another coop. Their run is 8'L x 4'W x 6'H.

    Silkie Run.jpg

    The mini coop is a temp solution as I get the little girls acclimated to each other. I have been placing the chicks in with the silkies at night for the last two nights. On a good note, there hasn't been any real fuss.
    Mini Coop.jpg

    The pics are taken from my office window, where my cat, Dexter, loves to watch the girls and add his own nose art, no pun intended, to the window.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: