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Why aren't my girls laying?

(14 Posts)
Grockle Tue 25-Sep-12 15:52:33

They used to lay every day - out of 5 hens, we'd get 4 eggs a day usually. Then, about 6 weeks ago, they got red mite. We treated it, scrubbed everything & got rid of the mites but the hens stopped laying & haven't started again. They're all about 2 years old (3 hybrids & 2 ex-battery). They all look in a bit of a sorry state & have lost weigh. One of them seems to be losing all the feathers on her head. What could that be?

I've tried giving them extra greenery, grit, cider vinegar, treats, like corn and cake & have wormed them. Will they recover?

Coprolite Tue 25-Sep-12 15:54:45

They'll naturally lay less as the days get shorter - have you taken that into account?

TunipTheVegemal Tue 25-Sep-12 16:00:01

They might well be more or less at the end of their natural laying life if they're hybrids. But if you give them time to recover you might well get more eggs out of them, though possibly not till the spring.

Moulting starts at the head. Have they moulted before? It's the time of year for a moult, and my old ones didn't moult properly in the first year but in their second year did a full-on oven-ready moult.

If it's a moult you need to give them time to go through the process and get over it before you expect them to get back to laying, as making all those new feathers takes up a lot of their energy. I wouldn't go crazy on the treats - layers' pellets probably have more protein in them.

Grockle Tue 25-Sep-12 16:00:26

Yes, I did think of that but they have laid all the way through the last 2 winters, maybe with slightly fewer eggs but they've never stopped like this. We've always had a minimum of 2-3 eggs a day, even in midwinter. We've not had eggs for weeks which is why I was worried.

TunipTheVegemal Tue 25-Sep-12 16:02:03

It's common for hybrids to be more affected by the lack of daylight as they get older - they often lay through their first winter but not subsequent ones.

Grockle Tue 25-Sep-12 16:09:11

I wondered about moulting - some of them have moulted before but not the battery hens so it could be that. They just look so forlorn and pathetic. The hybrids aren't moulting, they are just skinny & look depressed. I want my happy girls back. I did also wonder about them coming to the end of their laying but was really hoping it wasn't that!

Grockle Tue 25-Sep-12 16:10:13

Thanks turnip. Perhaps I should just accept that my girls are getting on a bit and are less reliable!

TunipTheVegemal Tue 25-Sep-12 16:42:41

I think if you've had 2 years of reliable laying you've done ok. It's a bit of a pity the mite thing happened just before the winter because it means they didn't have time to get going again before the other factors like moulting and daylight kick in so you don't really know where you are with them.
I would cosset them through the winter and not give up on them until spring is well underway, and if they haven't laid by then you can decide what to do.

Bizlizmum Thu 27-Sep-12 12:08:04

Have you wormed them recently? I would get some Flubavent wormer as if they have lost weight and stopped laying this might well be the reason. My three hybrids are 3 and all still lay a few eggs a week...

Grockle Thu 27-Sep-12 21:51:22

I use Verm-X and do it every month. I think I did an extra one this month too in the hope that it would encourage them. I'll see how they go in the Spring & if they don't lay again, it'll be time to think about some new POL hens. New hens are always exciting

TunipTheVegemal Thu 27-Sep-12 21:58:01

Verm-x doesn't work! People on the Omlet forum says that it really shouldn't be sold as a wormer as it can deter worms but doesn't end an infestation.

You need to get Flubenvet.

The problem is that at the moment there are supply problems with Flubenvet. The only thing some sellers still have in stock is the Marriage's Layers Pellets with Flubenvet pre-mixed. If you can't buy it online you might need to try a vet who will probably charge a consultation fee as well as the cost of the medication.

If you've only been using Verm-x there's a good chance worms may be your problem, and new chickens would just pick it up too.

TunipTheVegemal Thu 27-Sep-12 22:00:40

this shop seems to have the pellets but only in the 20kg bags.

Grockle - I posted on another thread about Ivermectin, which will worm them - there is an egg withdrawal period but if you're not getting eggs it really won't matter. Catfood is great for helping them through the moult - just a little bit every day. I mix mine with cod liver oil. Dry catfood, then pre soaked is best (less messy).

MrsBovary Sat 29-Sep-12 20:37:57

My hybrid is a little younger than yours but she's still laying every day. But my Legbars haven't laid an egg for over a week, I was thinking it might have something to do with the shorter days.

Ooh I didn't know that about Verm-x. I've used that for my hens too.

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