What kind of stress is it referring too when a chicken is not laying eggs?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by WardFarmChick, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. WardFarmChick

    WardFarmChick New Egg

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    Oct 25, 2013
    Williamsburg, Kentucky
    I am concerned about my Buff Orpington's. They are just over a year old. We have 25 hens and 1 rooster. They used to lay on average 16-19 eggs per day up until 3wks-1month ago. Now they only lay between 6-10 eggs a day. I researched reasons on this forum and it list "stress" as being a possible contributing factor. My question is what kind of "stress" would make a chicken stress to the point that it would not lay it's eggs? And also, I am not quite familiar with the term "broodiness"!! What does this term mean? With all of this being said; since they are over a year old-it's not the chicken's age; They are "molting" but have went through this before and it did NOT affect their numbers of eggs per day; It is definitely not "poor nutrition", ours eat "Laying/Layer(s) Mash-crumbled", old egg shells, and cracked corn. They were given antibiotic in their water 3-4wks ago. This was first and last time unless it might help us get a higher quantity. Is there anything that we can do regarding stress and molting to increase our egg count? Or is this just something that is inevitable? If there are any of you chicken farmers out there that would like to share some advice that would have a positive impact to our current situation...PLEASE HELP ME!!!!
    The chickens stay in about an acre of fenced in property and free range all day(9am-8pm); at which time they are locked into a chicken house that is 16ftx8ft, they have individual "roosts" to roost on and there are enough for each individual chicken.



    PLEASE HELP...I DON'T KNOW HOW TO FIX THIS ISSUE...THANK YOU EVERYONE IN ADVANCE FOR ATLEAST READING, AND THOSE OF YOU WHO OFFER UP ADVICE---THANK YOU IN ADVANCE!
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    Lora W.
     
  2. granny hatchet

    granny hatchet Tastes like chicken Premium Member

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    first you are not supposed to eat the eggs for 10 days i think after giving antibiotics, broody means the want to sit their eggs. if they are only one year then the first molt they went through was baby feathers, this may be their first true molt. there are a lot of stressors. molt, move, change of diet, adding more chickens. pretty much anything that is a change, like weather. or maybe they just want a break.hehe
     
  3. granny hatchet

    granny hatchet Tastes like chicken Premium Member

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    oh, and their not hiding their eggs out are they?
     
  4. WardFarmChick

    WardFarmChick New Egg

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    Oct 25, 2013
    Williamsburg, Kentucky
    no, so ur saying we need to let them sit on their eggs for a bit cuz we collect them every evening.
     
  5. granny hatchet

    granny hatchet Tastes like chicken Premium Member

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    no, you dont have to let them set unless you want some more. they probably just need a little time to finish molt and they do slow down for a while. they will start back up
     
  6. MrsBachbach

    MrsBachbach Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 6, 2013
    Arkansas
    No you do not have to let them sit on their eggs. If they are broody they will not lay until they hatch and raise chicks. You can break their broodiness by puttin them in a wire bottom cage for a few days, but after a few weeks they will usually go broody again. I really doubt all your chickens are broody though. Usually a couple at a time, but not all the hens at once. I think you are experiencing molt in your flock or a shortening of daylight hours. They will not lay when they molt because they need the protein in their feed for feather growth, not eggs. So you have to wait it out, usually a couple of months. Uping their protein might help grow the feathers faster. If you see an extra amount of feathers laying around the coop, that may be what it is.
    Other than something stressing them like illness the only other thing it may be is daylight. The days are getting shorter this time of year and many chickens just slow down on the laying. Some will stop during winter months, then start up again in the spring when days start getting longer and warmer. Mine have just about stopped laying. Only the new pullets are laying anything now. Light triggers a egg laying response, so when the daylight is reduced, so is the laying. If you want to keep them laying in the winter, you can put a small lightbulb on a timer in the henhouse. Daylight needs to be around 14 to 15 hours a day to get them laying again. Some think its best to give the hens a break for a few months during the winter anyway. Some feel keeping them laying all year round shortens their egg laying life or could cause problems down the road like prolaspe and other issues. Personally, I would give them a break for a couple of months.
     

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