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Would adding new chickens cause my current hens to stop laying?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Coopmom56, Apr 28, 2016.

  1. Coopmom56

    Coopmom56 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    My little flock of four hens, who have laid pretty faithfully since last August, have pretty much stopped laying consistently. Where I used to get 3-4 eggs daily, now I'm lucky if I get one. Here are the variables - maybe all of them are part of the problem:

    1. I have added four young (8-weeks now) pullets to a pen right next to the run. They are not mixing at all yet, but they can see each other.
    2. Two hens, one right after the other, have gone broody. The first hen is laying now (I think) but the other just got out of chicken jail earlier this week. I don't expect her to start laying for another week, so that's part of the egg decline.
    3. One of the other two non-broody hens had a little sneeze/cough for about two days, just long enough for me to get ready to medicate her, but she stopped and so I didn't. She never had any discharge from eyes or beak and she is foraging and acting her same bossy self now.
    4. I have found two soft-shelled eggs under the roost about a week ago. One was intact, the other had probably been there for a few days. I don't know who the culprit is. Probably one of the two non-broody girls.

    None of my older hens, who are all just now a year old, are acting strange. They are eating and drinking and free-ranging normally. So many new things, it's hard to figure out what's going on, right? What's your opinion/advice? And sorry for the long post. :(
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2016
  2. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

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    With all these changes, you shouldn't wonder at all why your hens have stopped laying. The stress of adding new birds, plus the broody hormones all tell a hen's body to stop laying eggs. I would, first of all, make sure all the birds are receiving fresh food and water each day. Make sure the hens are receiving both calcium and protein in their diets. Unfortunately, you probably won't get many eggs until the new birds have settled into the flock and everyone knows their place in the pecking order.
     
  3. Coopmom56

    Coopmom56 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 13, 2015
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    Thanks, Mountain Peeps. I am feeding Purina Flock Raiser, which has 20% protein, I think, and giving oyster shell free-choice. They have plenty of water in a two-gallon cooler with a Britetap waterer, which I replenish every couple of days, way before it runs low.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Free ranging.....and new 'intruders'(gasp!) in the coop....they may be laying out in range area.
    Might try keeping them confined for a few days.
    Softshells could be from stress..... from the little infection and/or the newcomers and/or the weather spiking hot in spring.

    Chicken don't much like changes, but usually get over them pretty quick.
    How long have the chicks been in coop and how did that coincide with the laying and sneezing issues?
     
  5. Coopmom56

    Coopmom56 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 13, 2015
    Texas Panhandle
    My Coop

    Thanks for the reply, aart. The new girls are not yet in the coop/run, they're in a separate pen right next to the run. I'll check the yard for eggs, but I'm out there pretty often and haven't seen any yet - not many places to hide them in the west Texas buffalo grass where they free-range. It's probably a combination of all the things I listed. :)
     

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