Yet another person asking about Chickens not Laying Eggs.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Jleggett, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. Jleggett

    Jleggett New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    Sep 29, 2012
    I have read through a lot of your posts and I am trying many of the suggestions I just thought I would ask for a few more specifics. I'm sorry this is going to get long...

    We are renting a house near Jacksonville, FL that came with chickens. At this time we have 17 hens and one rooster (I think) I don't know what kinds but there are many different colors. I'm sorry I can't be more specific. I don't think the oldest chickens are three yet and some are younger.

    We are renting from friends who moved and took some of the flock and left the rest for us. We started with almost 40. A few have gone over the fence to the front yard and the dogs got them. We try to discourage this but it doesn't happen often. When we moved in they were laying 8-9 eggs per day. Then Tropical Storm Debbie came through. That was the end of June. So about that time the days started getting shorter. However not that short. Further this seemed to send them into a molt as there were soon feathers everywhere. I understand both stress and the days could be the cause. However it is now late September and we still have no eggs.

    Now we have lost a handful of chickens twice this summer to some unknown chicken plague. After TS Debbie and another storm later this summer with DAYS of rain we had weird chickens walking around. We would go in the yard and make sure that all standing water was dumped and we separated the sick chickens. They almost all died if they got sick. Only one of the others who got sick then got better and joined the flock again. They seemed to have a neurological issue and would die within about a day.

    They were laying when there were 40 of them, so I believe there is room for them. There is a nice coop and run and the owners left the run open most of the time for them to free range so we do as well. We have a security system and I have gone back and looked and there don't seem to be any animals attacking them or the eggs.

    I have installed a timer and a light to increase the days. I looked up our day lengths and sunrise times with the USNO. Florida has a much smaller difference in day length. We don't ever get below about 10 hours a day, but it also means that we don't get much over 14 hours in the summer. So almost as soon as the days start to get shorter they drop below 14 hours. How long after you start lengthening the days should I see results? (If I'm going to)

    I have cleaned the coop every time there is a plague. I have Layer crumbles food and oyster shells out in separate feeders. This is what they were eating when we moved in. It was hot, there was a molt, there were storms, there was a sickness, but at this point I seem to have them all healthy and happy other than they don't want to lay eggs. It hurts my feelings every time I buy eggs at the store.

    Any other tricks or ideas? I have looked over every inch of the yard they aren't laying somewhere else. I heard putting golf balls or eggs into a nesting box to make them "envious" of someone else's eggs works. Any thing else you recommend?

    Thanks for your help. I thought this was really cool when our friends started it. Overall I enjoy the chickens and I enjoy watching them. I just wish they would lay eggs. I would like to do more but I don't want to add more chickens back in till I have some of this under control, and I'm sure they are happy and healthy.

    Thanks
     
  2. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,787
    36
    213
    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    Wow. You've had a lot of things going on, for sure.

    You are right about stress causing them to sometimes take a break in laying. Obviously illness and then the loss of more of the flock creates more stress. Any big change (and sometimes small changes!) can stress your birds.

    You are also correct that they don't lay during a molt, and even after it looks like they've replaced all their feathers, it can still take a good long while before they lay again. A lot of this can vary per individual bird, as well.

    I don't live in FL so don't have to contend with all the storms, but is there a way that you can have a covered run for them so they have a relatively dry place when it storms? Or is that just a silly thought for your area?

    Wish you well and [​IMG]
     
  3. Jleggett

    Jleggett New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    Sep 29, 2012
    Thanks for responding and for the welcome!!

    The coop is of course covered. Most of the run is under shade cloth but that doesn't STOP the rain but it does slow down the worst of it a bit. There is also a picnic table they hang out under and up against the side of the house when it rains. Covering part of it is doable, and I might look into that.

    However we are out of the worst of storm season and the daily thunderstorms are slowing up as well.

    They did lay through this last year and at the first part of the summer too....so I'm not sure just thunderstorms are the problem...

    I put practice golf balls (the cheep plastic hollow ones) in some of the nesting boxes today. Any ideas from folks how long that trick should take to work? or the extending the days?

    I don't mind being patient...I just don't know how long is patient and how long is wasting time and energy on ideas that are not working so I should move on to something else.
     
  4. OnewChook

    OnewChook Chillin' With My Peeps

    Wow! A busy life!! My Pullet gets stressed sometimes but hasnt started laying!! [​IMG]

    Also, [​IMG] [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by