Where are all my eggs?

Strato

Chirping
Aug 8, 2019
21
25
64
I am very new to chickens and recently inherited 7 chickens and 2 ducks with no prior experience, so hopefully this isn't a really dumb question.

We used to get several eggs a day from our birds, but the past week or so we've hardly had even one a day. I don't think it's a predator getting in, although I did worry about possibly the chickens deciding to lay elsewhere (they are free-range in our fenced backyard.) Unless they are doing it somewhere extremely hard to find, I haven't noticed any eggs out of place and up until now they always went in the nesting boxes in their coop.

I tried keeping them in their run all day for a few days and still no eggs. I thought perhaps refreshing their nesting materials would entice them, as well as placing a few ceramic eggs to remind them where to lay. No luck!

Any suggestions on how to get our eggs back? I miss the free breakfast!
 

oldhenlikesdogs

I love September
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Where are you located and how old are your hens. Many are starting to slow down or quit for the season. Birds older than a year will molt. Those 6-12 months may or may not. Almost all will slow down production if they aren't quitting in the northern hemisphere.
 

Strato

Chirping
Aug 8, 2019
21
25
64
Ah, I see! I don't know how old my chickens are, but they are all definitely older than a year. I didn't even know they quit laying at certain times of year, but that makes sense! I'm based in North Carolina where it's been pretty consistently hot.
 

igorsMistress

Frank and Abbys mom.
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Are you seeing feathers around, anyone looking bald in places? If so they may be molting. A little more protein is good for them if so.
 

ChickenCanoe

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Ah, I see! I don't know how old my chickens are, but they are all definitely older than a year. I didn't even know they quit laying at certain times of year, but that makes sense! I'm based in North Carolina where it's been pretty consistently hot.
Temperature is almost never an issue. The primary thing, other than age, is the length of the daily light period vis a vis daily dark period and whether one is increasing or decreasing.
Your day length is now over two hours shorter than it was at summer solstice. That's enough to induce molt and cause a cessation of laying - especially if your hens are a couple years old or older.
I'll bet if you check the distance between the two pointy pelvic bones, it has closed to less than 2 finger width distance.
You should start seeing lots of feathers about.
A little more protein during this time will help them recover quicker.
After they regrow their feathers, you can incrementally add light to the coop to slowly increase the day period.
 

Strato

Chirping
Aug 8, 2019
21
25
64
Thank you! They are indeed molting- some of them are much more patchy-looking than others. I'll make sure to give them a lot more protein!
 

Strato

Chirping
Aug 8, 2019
21
25
64
Well, the chickens came with the new house, and as far as I know they've been consistently laying eggs here their entire lives. I suspect they might be laying less because of seasonal change, or perhaps lack of quality water because our two ducks keep making it super muddy.
 

ChickenCanoe

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Thank you! They are indeed molting- some of them are much more patchy-looking than others. I'll make sure to give them a lot more protein!
It doesn't have to be a lot more protein. I said "a little more protein". Too much of a good thing is a bad thing.
Just a boost of perhaps a couple % which can be achieved with a switch from layer feed to a grower or all flock feed.
Some animal protein occasionally will help. I give a little canned mackerel about 3 times a week. The reason I use that is that it is the cheapest canned fish per ounce and I also use it for baiting predator traps.
 
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