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chickens stopped laying overnight

 
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First of all....great site here!

We have 63 chickens of mixed variety. 3 non combative roosters. Age is 14 months and the second flock is 10 months. These ages are three months ago BTW.
We were given 9 bales of junk hay (still bundled) that came out of a goat pen....smelled stale. No smell of mold. That night I replaced all the nesting material with this stuff.....the next day there was a zero egg count. We were getting 18 to 24 per day. Very few eggs here and there each week "less than 18". Am desperate to resolve the issue. Thanks
 
pollinator
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Location: northern California
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Well, it would seem obvious that the hay is to blame, but it would seem they should start back up. Unless they are eating something in it, or something else that was changed about their feed at the same time. Hens will stop laying if they get anything moldy. The other thing is that it's the time of year for many breeds to molt and take a break from laying pretty soon, so maybe the change of bedding, the disturbance associated with it, or something else happening at the same time triggered them all to call it quits early?
 
steward
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Chickens are simple minded ('bird brained' so to speak) creatures that live pretty low on the food chain.
Almost any change in their daily lives causes stress. Stressed birds often quit laying.

Try to avoid 'mind boggling' changes. Sudden changes of diet, housing, weather can push them 'over the edge'.
Even good changes can put their minds into a state of confusion - time to shift into "defense" mode.
Defense mode is not conducive to egg laying.
It also alters the chemical balance in their guts - opens the door for health problems.

 
pollinator
Posts: 928
Location: Melbourne FL, USA - Pine and Palmetto Flatland, Sandy and Acidic
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By any chance, has it begun to get cold where you live?
 
Deno McFez
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Thanks to all the feedback.


To add more info about this twilight zone story .......

This all happened in August. The weather was normal patterns. Feed was the same. Chickens are healthy. Yes......this past week the "ladies" have been in molt, that that has nothing to do with the sudden overnight stoppage of laying.
Having answer those questions......I will try a few more of the suggestions given. That hay could had been moldy.....so when I removed it....perhaps the mold spores contaminated the coop over night. Will bleach it out after a soapy clean out. Will come back to give you (the great advisers) the results.
 
Posts: 49
Location: pleasant garden, nc (zone 7A)
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mine took a huge drop a few days ago too. it seems like the general conclusion was that it was the time of year and their age. It seems to me that it really has to do with me adding two new customers. Its like they know and think its funny.
 
Posts: 121
Location: zone 6a, NY
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duck forest garden chicken
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It's either due to the oncoming cold, or they're starting to moult.
The hay has nothing do do with it, unless it's full of cedar oil, which would make no sense whatsoever.
Plus, chickens are hardy. A few stacks of hay won't bother them... If it did, I'd never get any eggs.
 
Posts: 64
Location: Greater New Orleans, LA, USA
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Deno McFez wrote:.this past week the "ladies" have been in molt



Moulting takes some serious energy. I'd not be surprised if that moulting is what's causing the drop in egg laying.
 
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