No eggs


No eggs: We have 20 chickens that have been good layers but since Nov. they have quit laying. Any suggestions?

Not knowing what kind of weather you are experiencing, it would be hard to say. My hens laid little for the 4 months of winter, but as the temperatures began to rise and we experienced more sunshine, their normal laying resumed.

Egg production is triggered by hours of light in a day, which is why egg factories may keep lights on constantly or for days at a time.

If you can light your coop, I would suggest leaving a bright light on for 24 hours straight and see if that gets them laying again.

You didn’t mention their breeds or ages. Some types of laying hens are called “Production Bred” and are designed for only 2 – 3 years of good laying and health.

If you have these types (available in different breeds, like Rhode Island Reds and some of the other popular breeds often available at feed stores) these hens could be laid out, meaning they can’t produce many more eggs.

Make sure you are feeding a good quality layer feed that includes sufficient calcium and other minerals.

You might want to offer oyster shell or similar product made to supplement needed calcium for good quality shells.

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No Chicken eggs

by Diane
(Brisbane Queensland Australia)

No chicken eggs: She has not laid for over 2 weeks, is now lethargic and not eating. Doesn't want to go foraging with the other hen.
I have found egg yellow in the coop upstairs as though she is trying to lay. What can I do for her?

When you say “egg yellow”, it sounds like you are describing the yolk part of the egg. There can be a few reasons you are seeing this.

Sometimes a chicken will lay or try to lay an egg without a hard shell. This can be due to calcium deficiency or just a minor and one time event.

Make sure your hens have access to a calcium supplement designed for chickens. Layer feeds usually include enough calcium for normal shells, but not always.

She might have had an egg shell break inside her, in which case she is trying to push sharp shell parts through her oviduct.

This can be painful, cause cutting or tearing inside her. If that is the case you would probably see some signs of bloody discharge from her vent.

It’s important to always handle hens carefully, but one jumping from a high place and landing hard could cause this as well as an attack by another animal.

Her lethargy is a big concern and may or may not be connected to the yolk you saw.

Sometimes chickens eat their own eggs by breaking them open or finding them broken and eating most of the contents and sometimes all or part of the shell.

You need to make sure she is not “egg bound” meaning one or more eggs in her oviduct that have become stuck for some reason.

You can gently feel the area and check for egg shaped lumps below her vent and up towards her ribs.

Being egg bound is life threatening. It’s possible that she can’t poop and this would cause her digestive system to back up and be the reason for no appetite and lethargy.

If this has been going on for two weeks, she needs help fast. If there is a broken egg inside her there may be too much damage for her to ever be a good laying hen for you again.

If she has produced one or more eggs just a bit too big to pass easily, you may be able to help her get going again.

I would bring her to the house and a large sink. Flip her over and run very warm water from her chest down past her vent. This can help relax her laying muscles.

I would do this for about 5 minutes and dry her off. You could gently apply mineral oil to her vent area, and possibly just inside with a small needleless syringe, and place her on a heating pad covered with some clean dry rags.

If you put her in a box she will probably just relax and enjoy the warmth. I would wait about an hour. This would be a good time to try to get her to eat and drink a bit.

Some warmed Gatorade might perk her up, but if you don’t have that you could mix up some sugar water or fruit juice with a pinch of salt.

1 tbsp of sugar in a ¼ cup warm water. You can offer in a little dish, spoon or eye dropper.

Hopefully this will help her pass any eggs that might be stuck. If she perks up and lays any eggs, I would offer her some live culture yogurt 1 or 2 tbsp.

This will help her digestion get going again. If she is off her feed and weak she will need lots of TLC for a few days.

I hope this helps as I can’t say exactly what is wrong, but only give you my best ideas based on the clues you have given us here and past experiences.

She may not be egg bound in which case the extra heat and Gatorade or similar may help her feel better and revive her energy.

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