When to worry about decreased egg output

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by jsmith2952, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. jsmith2952

    jsmith2952 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 22, 2013
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    Hi,

    I have 3 chickens, all of whom will be 1 yr old in March. We're in Canada and to say it's been cold, even for us, would be an understatement! We've had so much snow and freezing temperatures, it's been a little frustrating! But through it all, my hens have been laying faithfully daily (as a matter of fact, they went on a 6-week 3-eggs-a-day crazy lay schedule before one even took a day off!) Because they've been such frequent layers, I've become a bit concerned over the past few days. I've only been getting 2 of the 3 eggs for 4 days now. Keep in mind we're right in the middle of another cold snap--2 weeks of -30C at night. I'm hoping that it's totally not a big deal; they are all eating a TON, moving around, making chicken sounds, and their poop looks pretty normal, from what I can tell. I've read some stuff on worms, parasite, lice, mites, and don't think it's any of those things. I guess one could be eggbound, or beginning moult, but again, it's hard to tell without picking them up and inspecting them.

    So, my question is, at what point do I start to worry and go out and give each of them a physical?

    Also, if I can narrow it down to who isn't laying, does it automatically mean something is physically wrong with the hen if she's stopped all of a sudden? Could one hen just be particularly fed up with the cold temps and has gone on strike??

    Thanks for any help!
     
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    They were doing some really good laying there for you, hopefully they all have just skipped a day recently and it is not a problem with one hen. I would try to figure out if it is one or all of them though if possible, and check them all closely over. If a young consistent layer (of a production breed especially) suddenly stops laying I would worry. It could just be stress, odd molt etc, but with young birds, egg binding/ internal laying are something to look into. You haven't changed anything in the coop recently, lighting, feed etc?
     
  3. jsmith2952

    jsmith2952 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 22, 2013
    Ontario, Canada
    I'm also hoping that it's just a coincidence...

    I haven't made any changes to their food/living area. I recently added a dustbath, but other than love it and play in it all day, I don't think it's had any adverse reactions.

    I went out and inspected them this afternoon. They all look good. Very dusty, but happy. One of them looks a bit moulty. She's really dark red (a sex link) and she's always had these patches on her chest that are white, so she kind of looks like she's moulting when she's not, which is why I didn't think about the possibility she might be the one not laying. But now, upon inspection, there are loose feathers on her body and in their coop. Not like a ton or anything, just more than usual. I checked her for mites and lice. Nothing I can see. Their dustbath has DE in it, so I'm hoping that that will take care of any pests for the most part.

    If the egg problem is a result of moult, does the moult have to be severe?
     
  4. TK421

    TK421 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you can look at your collected eggs and identify which eggs match, then you can figure out if you have a rotating rester (which is normal) or if 1 chicken has stopped laying, which ay be cause for concern. I can tell my egg-sources apart by egg shape and spots, though I don't always know which chicken lays what egg.
     
  5. jsmith2952

    jsmith2952 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 22, 2013
    Ontario, Canada
    Thanks for the advice. I've been trying to figure out which girl lays which egg. Thought I had it figured out, but now I'm not so sure. I get one really light brown one and two darker brown ones, one that's usually pretty spotty and one that's a bit more plain. The lightest one is still being regularly laid but it's the dark ones I'm not entirely sure about. I'll keep checking...
    Can this just be a cold weather thing?

    My friend has a large flock and his production of eggs drops to less than half for most of the winter and he said that I had been pretty fortunate to have my hens lay so regularly in all this cold weather we're having.

    I'm now at 5-6 days of 2 eggs of 3. All three hens feel fine, after my novice examinations: no lice or mites that I can see, no hard tummies or areas around vents. They're all eating, moving around and poop is normal looking.
     

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