Chickens stopped laying

Asked September 9, 2013, 9:08 AM EDT

We have breeder-raised Buff Orpington chickens. They are 15 months old. They started laying in December. They were laying wonderfully, and then our rooster died. We purchased a new one, but he is a Heritage and is quite a bit larger than our breeder chickens. Since then, their laying has severely decreased. We have gone from 12 to 14 eggs a day (from 14 hens) to 3 to 6 eggs a day. Some of the chickens have bare spots on their backs from the rooster. There seems to be too many loose feathers in the chicken yard. We thought it could be the heat here in Texas, even though we have fans in the coop. Could the rooster be too big for the hens and thus scaring them into not laying? Thank you for your help.

Freestone County Texas

3 Responses

I'm curious as to why you have a rooster for egg production - are you keeping fertile eggs? The stress of bringing in a new bird may have reduced production. Because of the bare spots on the backs, I would say the rooster has been very active. It is a good idea to provide perches where the hens can get away from the rooster from time to time. What breed of chicken is he? "Heritage" is a designation for "breeds of old," of which Orpington is one.

The rooster is also a Buff Orpington. We do want fertile eggs so we can grow our flock. How detrimental would it be to separate him from the hens until the need for fertile eggs, and then put him back with them for a time?

If you separate him, you will probably have the same situation when you put him back. To get the hens into production again, assuming there have been no other management changes (feed source, plenty of clean water, amount of light per day they receive, external parasites, etc.). I think your best bet is to make sure the flock has sufficient space and enough perch space for the females to get away from the rooster.