I have four chickens, all of which are about 7 months old. About two months ago we got our first eggs. One chicken laid three eggs, one each day for three days. Another chicken laid one egg, but died that very same day. I have no idea why. The egg was fine, but for some reason the chicken was dead when we went to check on it a few hours later. Ever since then we have had no eggs. I understand that the situation is tramatic to the chickens, but it's been two months. Why aren't we getting eggs yet? Is it the weather? The daylight? Or are they still upset?
Wow, that is horrible. I know that trauma can have affect on them. So can the amount of daylight. Mine aren't old enough to lay yet, but I did read that if you put a light in their coop and give them 14 hours of "daylight" that you can keep their production up in the winter. Look at the newspaper weather page and check to see how many hours of dayight we are getting, then add a couple hours of artificial light with a timer. Right now we are getting about 10.5 hours of daylight per day.
the lack of light and the tempeture will slow them down. i remember when my grandfather had chickens he used a kerosene lantren in the hen hous to keep the temp up some and we lived back east . i put one in my hen house and they are laying much better now. my hens have free run of the back yard all day and head back to their roost at night.
You will definitely get a slow down/cessation of egg laying in the winter, even in AZ. Only my Rhode Island Red continued to lay through the winter, and only about 3 eggs a week. It's more of a daylight issue than temperatures, and if you wanted to boost production you could put a light on a timer in the coop to add another 3 hours per day (this won't work immediately, usually it takes a couple weeks for their bodies to adjust to the new 'season'). This does affect the chickens though, by not giving them a rest period you are potentially affecting how productive they will be over their life spans, people in the egg production business do it because they get rid of their chickens every 18-24 months anyway, but I am hesitant to advise too much interfering for backyard chicken keepers.
Chickens are traumatized by being chased/attacked etc, but unless the death of your first chicken was caused by something traumatic, I don't think that's affecting your other chickens. i.e. one chicken dying of some sort of natural causes isn't likely to traumatize your other birds in the same manner as being chased by a predator.
Keep us posted on what's going on with your birds. Depending on breed, I think they should be laying again in the next few weeks.
I am sorry I have not responded earlier.
Treat the chickens for worms. Now. Worms, coccidia, and several other hidden troubles diminish egg laying.
Many parasites are permanent residents inside our birds. The only thing to do is control them.
So, please mix a 2% addition of food grade diatomaceous earth (DE) into their feed as soon as possible. DE eliminates parasitic activity of over 10 different types of worm and nematode, increasing productivity in hens at a rate of helping 8 out of 10 hens that are fed DE produce more eggs.
Add some colloidal silver and a garlic cloves to the water to eliminate bacterial complaints. Organic Apple cider vinegar added to the water once per week helps feather condition, kills worms and bacteria, and helps increase laying.
Please feed the hens some cat food. They need the extra protein to help them through this hard time of winter.
Thank you for this information! How much vinegar, a glup per gallon or more? How much silver and where do you get it? Also, what do you use to clean perches? I have been using water and a scrub brush and angling the uncovered tractor so the perches get several hours of direct sunshine.
Good on you for cleaning the perches!
I mix a cup of vinegar into the water I clean with.
When I vinegar the animals I just use a 1/4 cup per gallon ACV and a dropper full of colloidal silver. Those measurements don't have to be exact because there are no side effects, nothing wrong with drinking too much water with vinegar in it, unless you dump in the whole bottle. The exact directions for the use of natural remedies/and the dosages for several types of poultry, are in my e-book. I posted a blog about the e-books, read it and if you want a copy, email me. :)
I'm not positive how common a death is. Looking back I believe ours may have died due to the stress of laying and it being soooo hot outside at the time. I'm happy to say that in December all four of our chickens did indeed begin laying again. They are all healthy and laying a perfect group of yummy eggs. We are consistently getting 3-4 eggs everyday. I would recommend chickens to anyone if they are interested in eggs.
I'll respond to a few things here:
1. I agree with Philodice- the Organic ACV is always a good thing to add to your chickens water. However NEVER add it to a galvanized steel water container. The vinegar can leach zinc into the water and poison your chickens. (glass, plastic and stainless waterers are okay)
2. The protein in cat food is good to give your molting chickens, it is not necessary but will help with feather regrowth. I am very hesitant to use it just because most cat food has chicken in it, and feeding chicken back to chickens makes me nervous. Extra grubs from the compost pile could be another alternative if you think your birds need extra protein. Advice on what to do with chickens in the winter in books or on other websites are generally suited to climates that have actual cold winters. Chickens are generally extremely cold hardy, it's our summers that require more vigilant care.
3. Monica- An Americauna/Easter Egger is no less likely to die than another breed. Anecdotally, I have known 2 people that have lost leghorns to heat. It is pretty rare to lose a bird assuming you have no predators. Backyard chicken keepers give these birds a far better life then they would have in most situations. They have a lifespan of several years and usually live that out without incident. When they do eventually die, I just bury them in the backyard.