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What's Going On With My Hens?!!?!?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MorganCreekFarm, May 19, 2010.

  1. MorganCreekFarm

    MorganCreekFarm Hatching

    Mar 24, 2010
    Franklin County, VA
    Let me start out with the full story, we purchased 15 Buff Orpington's pullets from this lady we found on the internet, who lives in another state. We drove the 1 1/2 hours to pick them up. At the time, they were 9 weeks old. However, as they started growing, and up until they all were about 20 weeks, things started to change a bit. Well, it turned out 10 out of the 15 were roosters. So, I called her, and she agreed to come to my house & exchange some hens that were the same age for the roosters.

    She brought me 2 barred rocks, 2 black sexlinks, 2 delawares, 2 red sexlinks, and 2 more buff's. She told me that 8 out of the 10 were laying regularly. However, I have had them for almost a week now (she delivered them last thursday), and here's what I've gotten so far. Last thursday, 2 eggs - Friday, 3 eggs - Saturday, 4 Eggs - Sunday, 1 egg - Yesterday, 4 eggs - Today, 1 egg.

    There is no way that 8 of them are laying. I don't understand what's going on!! She said they were laying regularly, but it just doesn't seem that way. My 5 buffs that I already had are 21 weeks old now, and they aren't laying either.

    Do you think they are still getting used to their new "digs" or is something else going on?

    She had the hens with roosters, so a couple of them were "raw" in spots (no feathers, just red), I checked for lice/mites, and nothing.

    If she was right, I should be getting around 8 eggs a day.

    Please Help!!!
  2. chickensnax

    chickensnax In the Brooder

    Nov 24, 2009
    south Texas
    Well for starters, take a deep slow breath.

    Your girls at only 21 weeks are still young yet, some breeds start laying eggs early and some are late bloomers. Don't give up on them, just give them plenty of time and proper nutrition. It usually takes till they are about 6 months old before it starts happening, you girls are almost there. You'll see them start gettting very red in the comb and wattles and even some growth and develpment as well, they will also start showing an interest in suitable areas to lay their eggs and even start practicing and going through the movements. If you haven't switched to laying feed from grower than I would go ahead an do so.

    THe new girls I wouldn't worry about them either.

    If they were all laying at the other ladies house they can have egg laying interupted by a stess, like long car ride, moving to a new house and yard, getting new flock mates. All of which happened to them all at once. Also the saying that they are all laying regularly is a little vauge from the seller. She could of ment regularly as is every couple of days, or regularly as in everyday, everyone defines it different. Plus if they are young girls just entering laying than it can take their systems a little while to getting the egg laying settled out. Plus adding the stress of moving. Plus if they got switched feed than it might also give them a chane to get their systems set up with the new nutrition. YOu didn't say what kind of feede they are on, but if they went from layer feed to grower feed(chick food) than it would cause them to stop laying or interupted laying. they would not be getting what their bodies need for egg production.

    All in all I wouldn't worry just give them some time to get settled and adjust themselves in and it sould all straighten out. Just sit back and enjoy some chicken watching and the eggs will come when they come.
  3. MorganCreekFarm

    MorganCreekFarm Hatching

    Mar 24, 2010
    Franklin County, VA
    Thanks for replying! They are all on laying feed, however, it may not be the same brand the previous owner was using. Also, I mentioned in my post that 3 of the hens she brought me had "raw" spots. One of the barred rocks has a huge raw spot on her back, just before her tail feathers, it is very red, and looks like it hurts. I can see feathers starting to come back though. However, one of them looks really bad....her "rear" area is completely featherless, red and raw, it just looks SO painful.

    I asked the previous owner about it, and she said there was nothing to worry about, it was from her roosters getting on them, because those hens were the favorite.

    Should I put some sort of antiseptic spray or ointment or something on it, or just let heal on its own? Have you ever heard of such a thing happening to a hen from a rooster?

  4. markb816

    markb816 Songster

    Apr 18, 2010
    Middle Tennessee
    I have two silver wyandottes hens that don't have any feathers right above their tail, on their back.
    It also is from the rooster who seems to like them.
    As well, it looks rough and not enjoyable for me to look at.
    However, the two hens seem not to mind. They don't show any symptons of pain or distress from it. I haven't noticed any bleeding or parasites in the raw spot. The other hens don't seem to find it vulnerable and a target of interest either.
    I have let it be for now but closely monitoring the situation.
    I know that it is not uncommon for a Rooster to pluck feathers out of those particular spot of a hen during the courting process.
    But with your concerns on egg laying. It will take your girls some time to transition over and that will affect their performance. They are going through a lot with the move. Be patient and understanding, which I know you will, and sooner or later, they will get back in their routine. Seems like if the seller was courteous and committed enough to trade out the roosters for hens that she wouldn't be that inclined to mislead you, but of course I don't know her. One question with that, did you think about quarantine for health and safety issues as well?
    Maybe someone on here can give us some more insight on this, but I hope this helps.
    Last edited: May 19, 2010
  5. La_TomboyGirl

    La_TomboyGirl Songster

    Jun 24, 2008
    NW Louisiana
    When my girl got whole bunch of her feathers ripped out by a neighbor's dog, her skin was raw & got very hard & dry the next day, so I slathered on some vaseline & neosporin (mostly petroleum jelly in it anyway) all over the area every day. Of course, she was inside the house in a dog crate, so couldn't get in the dirt to make a mess! LOL Also, since it is SOOO red & sore, you may want to separate them out, even if it's in the garage or something, esp. if you have a roo in there so she can have some time to relax & heal up. I thought my girl was dead/dying when I finally got her away from the dog, but after 3-4 weeks in the chicken infirmary, eating good, getting pampered w/daily moisturizing treatments (aka vaseline -lol) , & a lil baby talk, she started growing the feathers back & the big, nasty gashes through to the meat healed up. Now you'd never know by looking at her! So, I'm pretty sure your girls will be fine as long as there's no additional underlying health issues to further weaken them. Good luck to you!
  6. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    When you said 21 weeks, I thought: oh my, that's a bit early to start worrying about not laying! Some birds don't start til 24 or 25 weeks, or more. It's a lucky chicken keeper who has pullets laying at 21 weeks!

    And ANY change in environment can cause layers to stop laying for a while. Sometimes as much as a month. The "egg building" process takes about 26 hours to complete, and any stress can muck up any one of those processes so the chicken just doesn't lay for a while. I bought 2 laying pullets some months ago; one laid an egg on the road trip, one laid an egg the next morning, but both stopped for nearly two weeks right after that. Obviously, they each had eggs "in the chute" (so to speak) on the day they they were sold to me.

    They're very good layers, nearly an egg a day. But sometimes each one skips a day or two, even within the same week.

    The cool thing is that their laying sort of jump-started my pullets into laying earlier than I expected. Wahoo! Eggs already! (At 22 weeks, then 24 weeks, then 25 weeks. I have different breeds, maturing at different rates.)
    Last edited: May 19, 2010

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