Why wont my Chickens Lay?!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by FuzzyButtz, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. FuzzyButtz

    FuzzyButtz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Okay.. I'll start off by saying as of last night, I have 6 birds (lost one to a freak accident..)

    4 Orpingtons (22 - 26 Weeks Old)
    3 Are Buffs and are about 22 Weeks
    1 is Black and is about 26 Weeks

    1 White Leghorn (2 YR/OLD)

    1 Jersey Jiant (1.5 YR/OLD)


    I recently switched them back to Pullet Grower, and as of 10 days ago they have had a light/heat source in the coop, which is on 20-24 hours per day. They also get Flax, Wheat, Oats and Vegetable/Fruit Scraps 3-7 days per week along with Oyster Shells and Grit. I just started incorporating some Hay into their bedding (Straw with a Shavings base) to give them a bit of grass to pick at since free ranging is no longer an option due to our harsh northern AB Winters. To rule it out, I am de worming them tomorrow. I was told to grind up Pumpkin and it acts as a de wormer, but i'm not sure how true that is so to be 100% certain, I will use the stuff from the farm supply store.

    None of the Orpingtons have laid yet, but the breeder who the Buffies came from said all hers (they were all in the same pen when I got mine) said hers started laying at 18 weeks. They all have quite small combs and wattles. The 1 Black Orp is very deep red with large wattles and Combs, but has never laid an egg to date.

    The White Leghorn laid consistently until late September. She started her Moult, and hasn't laid since.

    The Jersey Jiant is an absolute nut case and was on my 'to-butcher' list, but Hubby likes her too much so she got to stick around. That being said, I bought her in June, she laid for 1 month and then stopped and hasn't laid since. I swear, her comb and wattles have shrunk and they're a medium-pink shade now.

    I am concerned about the Leghorn and 3 Buffies weight, and i'm hoping the De Worming will help, as the Black Orp and Jersey are in lovely condition, and there is always food left over at the end of each day. To encourage them to eat more, assuming I am home, I will often switch out their food in the afternoon for fresh stuff if it's got anything that could cause it to freeze - which it usually does as I often mix it with ACV, Water or Milk and feed it warm.


    Now.. I do realize some just aren't lucky enough to have birds who will lay through the winter, and some breeds just won't lay through the winter period, but I feel like i'm doing something wrong.. My Black Orp has been extremely red in the face for the past 2 months, but has never laid an Egg, and all the siblings of my Buffies have apparently been laying consistently and still are.. My Jersey could be related to anxiety (You literally can hardly go in the 20x12 run without her trying to run through the fence, catching her is nearly impossible).

    Is there anything that stands out to you that could cause them to stop/not start laying? I'm hoping to increase my numbers up to 10 for the winter, but i'm a little discouraged - all this feeding with no results.. maybe it's because my only extremely friendly chicken passed away last night from a freak accident.. BAH!
     
  2. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

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    Sorry have I understood that correctly? You have them in light 20-24 hrs per day?? Why???
    I would imagine the stress of not getting at least 8 hrs dark a night could be playing a part in all your problems.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013
  3. FuzzyButtz

    FuzzyButtz Chillin' With My Peeps

    I was told to give them at least 20 hrs a day? My coop isn't insulated, and it's not uncommon to hit -40C (and colder with the wind chill) in the winter here, so I assume that's why the breeder recommended it....
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013
  4. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

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    Are we talking about the same thing though. There is light and there is heat. They are not the same thing. Heat lights are generally a red light so that it doesnt stress the birds out because their bodies still read it as night time. If you look at a heat light for any animal (ie reptiles) that has it going 24 hrs a day it is not going to be white, it will be red.

    A normal white light though is not the same thing at all. Imagine yourself if you never got to turn the light off and were in light 24 hrs a day eventually it would wear you out. In fact Im pretty sure its even been used as a form of torture along with lack of sleep to break people during interogations. :) That is going to stress your birds over time and could easily cause problems.

    So it depends what sort of light source you are talking about red heat night light or white daylight bulb. IF its a daylight bulb people sometimes put red celophane in front to make it red but you really have to watch it is not in any way a fire hazard. Id also go do a search for should I heat my coop threads as there are folk in areas such as yours that dont because the risk if the power goes out of loosing birds not used to the cold is higher than the risk of not heating the coop. It makes for some interesting reading so at least then you can make an informed decision on if you want to heat next year or not.

    Oh and btw my brain just cannot compute -40C [​IMG] I thought -5C was cold [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013
  5. FuzzyButtz

    FuzzyButtz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Light, but we are doing some big changes.. glad I posted.. it's all about learning! We're keeping the light in there, but adding a heat (red) lamp early next week (stores closed tomorrow).. thanks for all your help *blush - embarassed*
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    -40C = -40F But do some research on heating, it can be more of a risk than a help. Ventilation is much more important than heat.

    14-16 hours of light for laying should do the trick, but it should be introduced slowly in 15-30 minute increments a day, not all at once.
     

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