I have 7 hens in a mixed breed flock, all ranging between 3-4 years old. They are older ladies, but have always been great layers (I've had them all most of their lives, most came as day old chicks). This year, the whole flock had a HEAVY molt, picture 7 naked ladies looking pathetic from late October until a couple of weeks ago. Their feathers have all come back in nicely, though combs and legs are still a little pale. During that time, egg laying stopped completely. It's the first time they've ever molted that hard as a group.
This week, I've gotten a couple of eggs again. I'm not completely sure who's laying again, but they are very...enthusiastic...in the nest boxes. They are basically kicking all the straw out of the boxes every day. I replace it, they kick it back out. The first day, this meant the egg was cracked, either as a result of the straw tossing or maybe just from landing on the wooden nest box. It's also making a huge mess of the coop floor (I have pine shavings as bedding, which is now thoroughly full of straw as well).
Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining that they're laying again, and apparently enjoying themselves. They're just usually such a neat and tidy bunch, they always want their nests to be "just so" and this is a new behavior for them.
Do you think it's just because they're getting back into their routine? Or something else that I'm not thinking of?