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#12077 - 05/24/07 03:15 PM No eggs for at least a year
Mother Hen Offline

Registered: 06/03/04
Posts: 41
Loc: Texas
We started out with 6 backyard suburban hens (well they were chicks when we started...) in May of 2004. The chickens were very healthy and laid a lot even through the winter. In summer, we were often giving away 5 dozen at a time. Last year within about two weeks, we lost two chickens to (we think) a hawk - just up and disappeared with occasional hawk sightings. Then right after that I ran over one backing down the driveway (yuck). After this, egg production went down to maybe 1-2 eggs a week, then 1-2 a month, and then to nothing. We haven't had regular eggs in a year. At first I figured they were traumatized to have lost 3 buddies, but it never got better. The girls appear healthy and do their normal routine. There is no sign of egg rustlers (no bits of shell and no sqwauky chickens indicating an interloper). They were only 2 years old when they stopped laying, so they weren't past their prime. We tried changing their feed from Layena to Dumor Layers Pellets on the advice of a friend, but to no avail.

What's up with my chickens? We want some eggs!

#12078 - 05/24/07 04:55 PM Re: No eggs for at least a year
CJR Offline
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8499
Loc: Montana
If they were a "production breed", they are doubtless ready to be replaced. They are not bred to lay a lot of eggs for more than a year, or some for as long as 2 years. Trauma may have cut their laying time shorter--and it can interrupt laying for a long time. Of course, there is always the possibility of a really sneaky varmit stealing eggs (?), nesting out of the coop,(?) but chances are, you are just ready for some new layers. Good luck, CJR

#12079 - 05/24/07 06:46 PM Re: No eggs for at least a year
Raspberry Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 12/25/06
Posts: 174
Loc: Oregon
Of course, there are ways to tell if a hen is in her laying cycle or not.

not laying:
dry vent
one finger widths fits between pubic bones
shriveled comb
pale comb.

moist vent
two to four fingers fit between pubic bones
swollen comb
comb in full color


#12080 - 05/24/07 07:41 PM Re: No eggs for at least a year

To determine if they are laying you can also look for the bleaching sequence. Hens that are laying will not have alot of yellow pigment. Check the beaks, legs, bottoms of feet, vents and earlobes to see if the color is pale. I've found clutches of eggs in the most unlikely places at times when I thought they just weren't laying!

#12081 - 05/28/07 09:05 AM Re: No eggs for at least a year
Mother Hen Offline

Registered: 06/03/04
Posts: 41
Loc: Texas
CJR - Thanks for the info. We got our chicks at the feedstore and they are 1 minorca, 1 buff orp, and 1 rhode island red. They are very small compared to the ones we saw at the livestock show. So, it sounds like they have just run their course. How long do they live? I thought I had about 5 laying years and a lifespan of about 10 from the books. If they lay shorter, do they live shorter? Just want to prepare the kiddos.

Raspberry - good info. I know one has been through a bleaching cycle (shriveled, pale comb), but has now returned to a good looking comb. A second one is in the poor comb stage. The third one has maintained comb color all along. I have not checked vent moisture or pelvic width, but may do that today. Do you check the pelvic width at the vent?

sunchicks - I've got some pretty yellow legs out there, except for the one with grey legs.

My yard does not have any good places to hide eggs. The girls have eaten all the vegetation except the grass (and they're working on that). There are no nooks or crannies to hide in. If we had an egg thief, you'd think I'd see an egg everyone once in awhile between thievings. I never catch them laying or even setting. I think CJR is right, they're just done. Chicken menopause...


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