Why are my hens not laying??

Peggysaurus

Songster
Sep 24, 2019
120
232
137
Spotsylvania, Virginia
Hello everyone,

I have come here seeking input and advice. I currently have 14 chickens. The first batch of chicks we got was about 3 years ago (5 Plymouth Rock Hens, currently have three). The second batch of chicks we got was roughly 2 years ago (4 Sapphire Gems, currently have 2). The third batch we got was almost a year ago (3 Isa Browns, 1 Buff Orpington, 1 Light Brahma, all are still alive). We recently got 4 Easter eggers that have not started laying yet. If you add up the math, we should be getting at least 5-6 eggs a day. However, we are only getting 2-3 on a good day. I understand that some of the older hens might be having days where they don't lay, but the younger ones don't have an excuse. I have even closely watched the older ones and it seems like they have stopped laying altogether. This has been going on since the summer (gradual decrease of eggs). We recently installed a camera in the coop and have been watching the hens who go in the nesting box. I was watching the camera feed and I saw that an older hen would sit in the nesting box for 30 minutes, but there was no egg. There were no feathers left behind either, so I excluded the possibility of her being broody. The same process repeated with another hen. As for the younger ones, they don't bother to come up in the nesting box at all. I know for a fact that they lay eggs. I have found no evidence of any cracked eggs or yolk either. None of them appear to be sick or injured. Also, for some reason, they all use the same nesting box to lay eggs. They have five different nesting boxes to choose from. Could this have something to do with the problem? Is it something we are doing? Why is this happening to our hens? Is something wrong with them?

Thank you for taking the time to read this!
 

cluckcluckhens

Songster
6 Years
May 4, 2015
480
805
211
PNW
We have three laying boxes all of ours use the same box. Hens will lay where others have already laid.

All of our ladies started molting during the summer here. I have one yet that hasn't grew her feathers back in yet. The first to molt was our senior. She always molts in July and the others follow behind her one at a time.

Right now we are not getting any eggs. This is normal for us. Girls been doing this for years.

Critters - Squirrels will take and eat eggs. It's is a known fact unless you let them have some feed. Pellet feed the squirrels will stuff in their mouth to take back to feed other squirrels. They also can carry an egg in their mouth. Saw this with my own eyes.

Do they have enough oyster shells? Do you have an egg eater? Our girls will eat eggs if hungry, or if eggs are broke or cracked. We had to get fake eggs nine years ago because of this problem. Squirrels will carry off fake eggs also. Don't put it past them to do this.

Did you check to see if the ladies back end is blocked and can't lay? If it is normal for yours to lay I would keep an a eye on them.
 

Peggysaurus

Songster
Sep 24, 2019
120
232
137
Spotsylvania, Virginia
We have three laying boxes all of ours use the same box. Hens will lay where others have already laid.

All of our ladies started molting during the summer here. I have one yet that hasn't grew her feathers back in yet. The first to molt was our senior. She always molts in July and the others follow behind her one at a time.

Right now we are not getting any eggs. This is normal for us. Girls been doing this for years.

Critters - Squirrels will take and eat eggs. It's is a known fact unless you let them have some feed. Pellet feed the squirrels will stuff in their mouth to take back to feed other squirrels. They also can carry an egg in their mouth. Saw this with my own eyes.

Do they have enough oyster shells? Do you have an egg eater? Our girls will eat eggs if hungry, or if eggs are broke or cracked. We had to get fake eggs nine years ago because of this problem. Squirrels will carry off fake eggs also. Don't put it past them to do this.

Did you check to see if the ladies back end is blocked and can't lay? If it is normal for yours to lay I would keep an a eye on them.
Our chickens aren't currently molting. I doubt that squirrels could be eating our eggs, but I will keep an eye out just in case. I have constantly checked for egg-eaters, but I haven't found any signs. Do you think it would be a good idea to put fake eggs in the nesting boxes to encourage them to lay?
 

ChickenLeg

Crowing
9 Years
Feb 15, 2012
1,897
2,618
337
Its just that time of year Im only getting 2-4 eggs a day from 40 girls. I dont add any light in winter and they lay very little in winter they range from 6 months to 4 years old. But come spring and summer I'll have 2 dozen or more everyday. I wouldnt be too concerned 👍 and its common for a lot of chickens to only use 1 nesting box :)

Now if you want a lot of eggs none stop you can always get 6 or so pullet chicks every March and September. So you have eggs none stop and as soon as they have their first molt or slow down laying sell em! Thats how my granddad did it, but I dont focus on egg production, mine are pets over production birds 🤟
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
101,714
147,790
1,867
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
As for the younger ones, they don't bother to come up in the nesting box at all. I know for a fact that they lay eggs.
How do you know?

I have even closely watched the older ones and it seems like they have stopped laying altogether. This has been going on since the summer (gradual decrease of eggs).
Cessation of laying can happen well before feathers start to drop.
When in the summer did it start, around August?

Knowing more about your coop and run, with dimensions and pics, might help here.
Also the total number of birds.

What all and how exactly are you feeding?

Do you free range?
 

Apis mellifera

Songster
Mar 14, 2017
176
346
156
Adirondacks
Ok, I will see what I can do. Do you think that is the reason why they are not laying? This has been going on for a while, even when we did have more hours of daylight.
Yes, also you have a few young ones not laying yet and a few older birds that may be coming off a molt. Add the light, be patient and I'm sure they will start laying. Something I do that other people may not agree with is I make sure their diet is varied by adding animal proteins, some table scraps, and whole vegetables like squash, pumpkins, cabbage, etc. Don't go overboard. Complete feeds to me are not complete.
 

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