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Why have my girls stopped laying?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Lolas mom, Oct 16, 2016.

  1. Lolas mom

    Lolas mom In the Brooder

    Jun 14, 2015
    Hi All -
    I have four Barred Rocks - two are about 16 months old and two are six to seven months old. Only one of the young ones has started laying eggs - she is the outgoing one. The other one hasn't layed any eggs and is kind of a nervous nelly. The two older ones have layed an egg just about daily for about a year.
    Kind of a long story... Over the summer, I wasn't getting eggs in their nesting boxes, but had heard them sing their "I layed an egg" song. I looked around the yard and found eight eggs in a little nest they had made for themselves in the yard. I wanted them to get back to laying in the coop and kept them from free ranging for a few days and they started laying in the nesting boxes again. Fast forward to about two or three weeks ago - now I am getting one of the new chicken's eggs, and that is all. I have searched the yard and am convinced they are not laying in the yard somewhere - they just aren't laying. I kept them in the coop/run for two days and still only got one egg from one of the new ones.
    As I have been trying to figure out what is going on, I have been watching my backyard a little more closely. A couple days ago, when the chickens were free ranging and their coop door was open, I noticed my very elderly golden retriever (who loves chicken poop!) inside the coop. Our coop is raised off the ground a few feet and has a smallish door so I was shocked to see my old girl pup (she is 14) in there - enjoying her favorite snack (YUCK!).
    The dog doesn't bother/hurt the chickens. She occasionally runs around the yard and, if she gets close to them, they move away from her quickly. I am wondering if they aren't using the nesting boxes/laying because they no longer feel like it is a safe place because the dog has been in the coop. Any ideas?
    My solution, right now, is to put some screening on the top half of the coop door opening so the chickens can get in/out, but hopefully the dog can't get in. I have also been trying to keep the dog inside when the chickens are out, but we like to have the dog out with them when they are free ranging on "flock protection duty" (we have had a couple hawks show up in the yard and the dog seems to keep them away). Does anyone else have any ideas to get the girls back to producing eggs?
    [​IMG] This is the coop so you have an idea of what the dog was getting in.

  2. SueT

    SueT Crowing

    May 27, 2015
    SW MO
    They are likely molting. 16 weeks is the right age, this is the right time of year. Look up at the top of BYC home page, there's an article on molting...
    They can molt so gradually that there aren't bare patches. Mine are doing that, and I am getting zero eggs. Hopefully my young pullets will start laying soon.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016
  3. Lolas mom

    Lolas mom In the Brooder

    Jun 14, 2015
    Thank you! I had checked them for molting, but hadn't noticed anything unusual. I had one molt last year and it was pretty obvious - she looked terrible! Hopefully, that is it. Thanks again!

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