Why doesn't my RIR hen lay?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by gckiddhouse, Feb 19, 2009.

  1. gckiddhouse

    gckiddhouse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 9, 2008
    Desert Hills, AZ
    I have 2 Rhode Island Red hens, Cinnamon and Nutmeg. They are 8 months old. Cinnamon lays about 4 days and then skips a day. Pretty good. Not what I would have expected from a RIR, but I am happy with her and her eggs.
    Nutmeg, however, doesn't lay. At all. She has laid. We know for sure that she has laid at least one egg. That was about 3 weeks ago. Previous to that, she may have laid one or two. Tough to tell with two of them around.

    We keep records everyday of who laid, weight of the egg and what time of day the egg was laid. So we know Cinnamon's pattern very well. That is how we know that Nutmeg is not laying.

    If she is laying internally, wouldn't she be dead by now? They all started laying back in early December. Even if the egg 3 weeks ago was her first, wouldn't she be sick by now? She seems very healthy, just doesn't lay any eggs.

    I am considering either 1. keeping her as she is one of our first chickens and we love her, 2. making Nutmeg soup, or 3. re-homing her to someone who just wants a pet that does not lay eggs.

    We have 7 other hens that are laying actively right now. The leghorn will lay for like 7 or 8 days in a row without a break, sometimes more! So I know that they are getting good nutrition. They free range during the day and eat lots of grass and bugs and whatevers.

    Just don't know why she does not lay!! Any recommendations? Explanations?

  2. Lollipop

    Lollipop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Egg laying is a very personal thing. Aside from the fact that your "Pullets" will not be " Hens" until they are a year old, sometimes it takes a while to get things working as they should. If you can find it in your heart to be patient with the young lady, I`m sure she will get with the program before long.
  3. Chef

    Chef Chicken Connoisseur

    Dec 16, 2008
    Do you have a roo? Sometimes a hen will take on the role of a roo and stop laying. I know one of my rir hens did this when I seperated the roo from them. The one not laying will usually be more agressive toward the others. Just a thought.

  4. CityClucks

    CityClucks The Center of a 50 Mile Radius

    Jan 31, 2009
    Tulsa, OK
    Does Nutmeg squat for you? Is she moulting? Are her comb & wattles red, or not so much?
  5. gckiddhouse

    gckiddhouse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 9, 2008
    Desert Hills, AZ
    We do have a rooster. And Nutmeg isn't anywhere near the top of the pecking order.

    She is not moulting. They all moulted in October. Her comb and wattles are red and healthy. Some of my chickens squat for me, but not always, I don't remember if Nutmeg does. Oh ya, she did the other day when I was checking her back feathers.

    If she just hadn't laid yet, I would think that she will eventually, but she has laid at least one egg. Usually the ball gets rolling after that first egg comes, right?
  6. CityClucks

    CityClucks The Center of a 50 Mile Radius

    Jan 31, 2009
    Tulsa, OK
  7. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    See if the distance between Nutmeg's pubic bones is the same size as the distance between Cinnamon's pubic bones. If they are the same size, Nutmeg is laying "somewhere" besides the coop.

    If Cinnamon's pubic bones are far apart, and Nutmeg's are close together, Nutmeg is not laying at all.
  8. gckiddhouse

    gckiddhouse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 9, 2008
    Desert Hills, AZ
    Quote:Well, I have considered these things.

    Nutmeg has laid an egg. The egg was 2 oz, so I am fairly certain that her pubic bones are sufficiently spaced.

    I have looked around the yard with the idea that maybe she is laying "somewhere". But our yard doesn't have too many "somewheres" for her to lay in. The egg she laid was in the coop. I stood there while she did it, so I know she did it.

    She does go in the hen house and sit in a box. Then she comes out. She doesn't cackle or anything. Just seems to do what the other girls do.

    I will go check the yard again and make sure that she doesn't have a "nest" somewhere.
  9. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

    Mar 3, 2008
    Have you checked them for lice? Sometimes that can cause them to stop laying. Is she fully feathered, or is she missing some feathers at the base of her tail? Check around her vent to see if you see anything.
    If she's an internal layer, sometimes you can feel her abdomen and if you feel something that feels like an egg in there, then you know. I had one hen that had stopped laying for months, and it felt like there was an egg right there... it wasn't. When we finally culled her, there was a mass that looked like a very large baking potato in her abdomen... all the eggs that had smooshed together. [​IMG] I hope she's not an internal layer. Is it possible she's hiding them somewhere?
  10. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Pubic bones will only be spread apart IF they are actively laying. Pubic bones will not be spread apart if they are on laying vacation. In other words, her pubic bones will contract and expand over time, not daily.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by