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Chickens quit laying

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I have 9 buff orpingtons who were good layers until about 3 months ago.  They went through a short molt, didn't lose hardly any feathers.  I feed layer pellets and crushed oyster shells.  They all use the same nest box and two weeks ago one of them layed a paperthin egg.  Of course they broke it.  They are 1 1/2 years old.  I am about to get rid of them.  Do I need to have a rooster for them to lay and do they need to roam to eat grass to lay.  I have them in a fenced in coop because of coyotes and possums. 

post #2 of 6

I am new to chickens but from what I have read and been told, chickens need 14 hours of light in order to lay an egg. To help this you could string some christmas lights up in their coop. Hope this helps.

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

They were getting 14 hours of light when they quit. 

post #4 of 6

They may still be molting. Molting can take several months. Birds that have very 'slight' molts actually take longer to finish molting because they loose their old feathers more gradually. It's very normal for hens over a year old to slow down or stop producing completely during the winter months. It's a combination of molting and fewer daylight hours. While they are molting, all their energy is spent on regrowing the feathers that are falling out. And they need a minimum of 14 hours of daylight to keep at peak production.  A higher protein grower feed will help them maintain at least some level of production while molting, and supplemental light in the coop may help encourage production, as well. Once spring is on the way and days start getting longer, production will pick back up. They aren't egg vending machines, their bodies do need a rest after giving birth nearly every day for the last 6+ months.

post #5 of 6

molting and the shortness of day will do this.  even if their new feathers are fully in they still could be finishing up. give it some time...they'll start back up in no time.  winter months are rough, hang in there

post #6 of 6

I've been going through something similar, mine stopped suddenly over a week ago.  They were all laying and then nothing.  One of mine has started molting, but other than that I can't figure it out.  I was thinking it was stress, predator lurking at night, that kind of thing.  I got one egg this morning! I was thinking that I would have to wait until spring.  I give mine layer pellets so they can eat however much they want and then some veggies for treats.  I was told I don't need oyster shell with the layer pellets so I don't offer it, their shells have all been nice so far.  As long as your coop is clean, the birds are healthy and have a healthy diet you just have to wait it out.  I put golf balls in the nest boxes to encourage them.  You could add some lighting but do your research, some people on here caution against too much lighting as it can upset things further.

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