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Why did my hens suddenly stop laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chickenz4ever, Apr 1, 2015.

  1. chickenz4ever

    chickenz4ever Hatching

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    Apr 1, 2015
    Hi! I'm raising an Orpington, Barred rock, and Rhode Island Red through FFA. They are all 26 weeks old , but only the BR and the RiR are laying. They started off at a pretty good rate (the RiR almost layed an egg a day!), but then they suddenly stopped. I am feeding them a good quality layer feed and I keep oyster shells on the side. They have access to fresh water and free range the entire day. They are not showing any signs of illness either.

    I'm not sure whether stress might be the problem, because my I keep my chickens on a FFA campus, and they are surrounded by lots of older hens who also come into my coop to lay eggs.

    I'm also suspecting that I might have an egg eater, because I keep finding cracked shells in the nest boxes. I just put up curtains, and I'm going to add plastic eggs inside the nest boxes. If there is an egg eater, how would I figure out who it is and how would I break the habit? The egg eater could be one of my chickens, one of the older hens, or maybe I'm just imagining it..

    I'm not really sure what the main cause for my hens to stop laying is, and any suggestions will be appreciated! Thanks so much in advance! :)
     

  2. chickenz4ever

    chickenz4ever Hatching

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    Apr 1, 2015
    An update: My RiR goes into the nest boxes as if she is going to lay but when I check afterwards I see nothing..my BR stopped going into the nest boxes all together. I'm really confused.. :O)
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Free ranging and coop open to dozens of other chickens?
    Sounds like a goat (errrr, chicken) rodeo!
    That's gonna be a hard one to figure out.

    Broken shells definitely points to an egg eating chicken or predator.
    The fact that they free range means they could be laying anywhere.

    If coop is open to all how do you know which chickens are yours?
    Are they marked and you check to see that yours actually come back to your coop each evening?
     
  4. chickenz4ever

    chickenz4ever Hatching

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    Apr 1, 2015
    Thanks so much for your reply!

    Yes, they have rubber bands on their feet which I use to recognize them, and I come everyday to lock them back up. I'm really not sure if they are laying somewhere else, but I can try keeping them inside for a day to see if I get eggs or not. Also, I've started to collect the eggs more often, so the cracked shells have stopped. But my RiR still broods in the nest boxes over nothing. Should I worry about this? Could she be laying internally?

    Thanks in advance :)
     

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