Why aren't my ISA brown hens laying??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by BigOrangeRoo, Dec 2, 2016.

  1. BigOrangeRoo

    BigOrangeRoo New Egg

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    Dec 2, 2016
    Owensboro, KY
    I've had my hens for exactly 2 months now and they still haven't laid a single egg. Originally I had 4 ISA Browns but now only 2 after a hawk got 2 of them while I was letting them free range. I've since built a fully enclosed chicken run and that's where they stay. I know it takes time for them to adjust to the new living situation but figured they'd be laying by now. Could the tragedy of losing 2 of their fellow hens delay their laying even longer? Please help and Thankyou
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!
    Could be many reasons......to start to narrow the 'why', down please answer these questions.

    How old are you birds?
    What and how exactly are you feeding?
    How long since the hawk attack?
    Are they the only birds you have?
     
  3. BigOrangeRoo

    BigOrangeRoo New Egg

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    Dec 2, 2016
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    Birds are approx 9 months old
    Feeding them 16% layer pellets and some scratch mix on occasion in PVC pipe feeders (which they do quite well with)
    1st hawk attack was in their first week here(wasn't sure what had happened the first time I found one dead...also have fox and coyote around me)
    2nd hawk attack was 3 weeks ago (actually saw the hawk make the attack)
    They're safe now so no more chances of a hawk getting to them
    And lastly yes they are the only birds I have.. although I am planning on adding 4 Easter Egger hens and a Black Maran Roo to my flock a few days before Christmas
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    They could still be stressed from the move then the attacks.
    I assume they were laying well at wherever you got them from?
    You'd think ISA's would lay well despite all the upsets, but we are dealing with live animals so there's no guarantees
    Are the layer feed and the scratch available all the time?

    You do know that adding more birds is going to cause more stress, right?
    How big is your coop and run, in feet by feet?
    Do you have a plan for integrating these new (how old?) birds?
     
  5. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Seems like it might be stress causing your birds not to lay. Many stressors spread out so they never got to settle in completely...

    I personally do not like layer feed. For birds who aren't laying, it's way too much calcium and can stunt growth as well as causing kidney issues which could include gout or failure. Since you are thinking of adding a roo, you might consider using an all flock type feed. Aside from the high calcium in layer I feel like the low protein content gives you a lot less room to budge. For example, when you add scratch it diminishes the protein further. And 16% is the bare minimum to support a layer, but not necessarily support healthy chick hatches. Though many will tell you they've never had problems and are probably telling the truth as they see it.

    Why are you getting a rooster? If you've never experienced it, I suggest don't unless you have very specific goals especially in a flock the size of yours. For protection, to hatch chicks, just for fun? Still a bad idea if it's your first year raising chickens... sincerely!

    I have a mixed age and gender flock. So I feed Purina Flock Raiser which is 20% protein and 1% calcium. Not saying it's the best but it is what's available at an affordable price that meets the nutritional need of my whole flock. I offer oyster shell free choice on the side for layers. The only time I ever get softees is when a new layer is just getting started and has to do with their reproductive system starting up or shutting down, not the feed.

    Will you be quarantining your new comers? Yes, that will add another stress. But since you aren't getting eggs anyways, better to get it over with. @aart has good questions to help give appropriate suggestions as you move forward.

    Couple of notes... they are not hens until 1 year old. Before that they are pullets. Same goes for boys... until 1 year are considered cockerels. There is a big difference between the two especially for boys. A good rooster might be nice, but a snotty little cock brings all the terrors of raising teenagers to the foreground!

    Waiting on first eggs can be so hard! [​IMG] You're almost there though! [​IMG] One more question, do you supplement light?
     
  6. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    Total misconception about layer feed.......Once a Bird begins laying....It is a Layer even with breaks in laying......Not sure where the myth got started? Layer feed is fine if all Birds have laid, or if half have started and the rest are going to follow soon....Wont cause a death....Chickens under 18 weeks should never get layer..


    Cheers!
     
  7. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    My concern isn't only calcium but also protein level. Here is a feed guide recommendation that includes for differences in breed. Note at the bottom it says "Do NOT feed a layer diet to chickens NOT in egg production (too high of calcium).
    http://ucanr.edu/sites/poultry/files/186894.pdf

    I think there are lot's of variables. No, I don't think every chicken who eats layer is going to die from it. Just that there is some possible side effects from it... like everything else though, I guess. [​IMG]

    Right now another thread hotly debating this topic... With lot's of good points from both sides!
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1143502/was-i-bamboozled-by-a-ts-employee

    Good to have all info available and make the decision that seems best for you. Since we are all individual like our birds, there is no right way... just the way you prefer, and it might be right for you.

    And I am thankful to be a part of a wonderful and caring community where everyone is sharing what is best in their own experience without being ugly to each other! [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    Yep......I just frown at the links provided as a way to leave answers....Only my opinion, but if uncertain? The OP is only looking for real answers and not guessed info......

    Was not stepping on toes....Just stating....

    Cheers!
     
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    So they were billed as 6 month old pullets when you bought them?

    do you have pics? Of when you got them would be best, but current is good also.
     
  10. BigOrangeRoo

    BigOrangeRoo New Egg

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    Dec 2, 2016
    Owensboro, KY

    The layer feed is available to them at all times and water as well of course but I sparingly toss them a handful of scratch weekly.
    And yes they were good layers at their previous home and yes I have a separate coop with a smaller run for the EEs & the Maran adjacent to my bigger run and coop where my browns are now... they'll be able to meet thru a chicken wire fence... how long should I wait to introduce them into the main run??? By the way, the EEs will only be 6 weeks old & the Maran 3 weeks old. Tried to coordinate it where they all become fertile around the beginning of spring to start laying. And yes I'm getting the cockerel because I eventually want to hatch chicks... via incubator and so forth... but that's still months away before I start that experiment
    And yes both the main coop and the smaller coop have brooder heat lamps in them. One in main coop is on timer for 6-10pm & 4-8am... the one in the small brooder coop will be on 24/7 while they're in there.
    Lastly my main run is a 20x10
    Brooder coop has a 4x8 run
     

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