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2 months without eggs - what's up??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by marthalazar, Nov 6, 2009.

  1. marthalazar

    marthalazar Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 4, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY
    Hi,

    I was wondering if someone could give me their opinion on my situation. I have 3 hens who are about 1 1/2 years old. They started molting about 2 months ago and during that time they stopped laying eggs entirely. It's been 2 months and I'm pretty sure they are done molting, but I haven't gotten an egg yet. I've been buying supermarket eggs. Sob.

    What I was wondering is this: Have we gotten to the point where the days are short enough that they will slow down with the egg laying? I'm in NYC, so we get sunrise before 7am and it's dark (and they have gone in to roost) by 5pm. I can't figure out if they might still be molting (not seeing many shed feathers lately) or it's the time of year.

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Last winter they were too young to lay, so I don't have experience with the winter egg drop-off rate.

    Thanks,
    Martha
     
  2. oldaladirtfarmer

    oldaladirtfarmer New Egg

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    Feb 10, 2009
    i'm in alabama and having the same problem, but i do have some new hens that will be 27 weeks old next week and am hoping for eggs again soon,
    i changed from sratch to laying mash with hopes of getting eggs sooner// roland
     
  3. miche

    miche Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 4, 2009
    Madison, WI
    Ditto in Wisconsin.

    My 4 hens are 1yr 4mths, they began laying last December and cranked out beautiful eggs until June/July. Over the summer and early fall, their production was about half, in part affected by a broody chicken hogging the boxes, change in pecking order, change in feed (they totally rejected organic powdery feed, in favor of Layena). They have had a slow, one hen at a time, molting, and still are dropping tiny, downy feathers. I am buying eggs for the first time in 11 months (sob). Three weeks without an egg.

    Like last year, I have a light over their food to extend morning and evening hours, but they go right in to bed 4:30 or 5pm. Once it really gets cold, we'll have an incandescent bulb under a flower pot in the coop.

    Will they lay again this winter?
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2009
  4. psrumors

    psrumors Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 11, 2008
    We are having the same problem here in N GA. We have 12 hens, up until August we were getting 10 to 12 eggs every day then it started dropping. We are now getting 2 to 4 a day. Two are molting but other than that they are all in good shape. We have searched the field but can't find any hiding places.

    We have wormed, verified no mites, etc.

    Driving us nuts. We usually give 4 dozen eggs to the Children's Shelter every other week but had to cut back to what ever we have.

    Surely this isn't normal is it? The eggs have even gotten smaller.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2009
  5. miche

    miche Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 4, 2009
    Madison, WI
    Update - just be patient!!

    After buying 1 doz eggs for the first time in a year, one of the girls came back on line! She was the first to start molting, now almost 3 months ago. Her eggs are a little smaller and she is laying every other day, but I think she'll ramp back up. (She's a Buff Orp.)

    Two of the others are growing in their feathers and looking more filled in. Only one looks a mess right now. All in all, egg production went steadily down (from 2 doz eggs a week to ZERO) over a period of 3 months. We had absolutely no eggs for about 3 weeks. Now we're at 4 eggs a week, and I'm hopeful this will keep increasing.

    This is our first molt for our mixed breed flock who began laying Dec. 2008 at 6 months of age. Each lost feathers around their necks, lots of their long feathers, and tons of the downy, fluffy feathers. The coop looked like we were running a chicken fighting ring, with feather covering the coop and run. They look so bad, I feel I have to preemptively warn my non-chicken neighbors, lest they call the humane society on me.

    I worried they were never going to lay again, or that they would take the whole winter off. I fretted about them being so sparse during chilling October/November. I was concerned that I set them up for confusion by the timing (6months old in December, here in very cold WI) Neighbor chicken owners predicted they were trying to reset their clock and would come around again in the spring.

    Good to relax and trust that they will be ok. Even with few feathers, my cold hearty breeds (EE, BO, GW, Aust) are happy to be out scratching or dirt bathing. It's in the 20's at night, they have no heat at the moment, and they are doing what chickens do!
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2009
  6. rainbowgardens

    rainbowgardens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 19, 2008
    Central Virginia
    My first molting hen started at the end of summer. It's been about two or three months since I've seen her in a nest box. She has completely grown new feathers and her comb has plumped back up and is bright red. She looks great!

    This morning I found her in the nest box. I don't know if she laid an egg for sure. I found one in another box, so she may have switched boxes after I saw her. I'm pretty sure it's hers, because I saw nobody else hanging around during that time.

    I'm not using any lighting.
     
  7. marthalazar

    marthalazar Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 4, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY
    I'm so glad to hear that everyone's molting hens are starting to lay again. I forgot to mention that my hen's combs are pretty pale. I noticed that one's comb is starting to look darker, which I'm taking as a sign that I'll have eggs again soon!

    Now if I can just get rid of the raccoon...

    Martha
    www.thenewgreenblog.com
     
  8. fishermans wife

    fishermans wife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 2, 2009
    Ventura County
    I have had the exact same problem - FINALLY after 5 months with no eggs from one of the ladies - she laid today! I had given up on her. Now I need to get 2 more molters back in line. The three molters stopped laying completely during the molt. I have been giving them tuna fish and meat scraps recently to increase their protein - so maybe that's what did it. Who knows..... I figure when you subtract the time for them to become layers, the toss time for worming, 2-3 months for molting, and the slow down period for winter... you get a good 2-4 weeks in during summer! [​IMG]
     
  9. marthalazar

    marthalazar Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 4, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY
    Quote:5 months with no eggs! Holy scrambled eggs Batman!! I was actually thinking about how many things make them stop laying: molting, fewer daylight hours, loud noises, hot weather, cold weather, being relocated, and the list goes on. I think you are right about getting 2-4 weeks of peak egg production. Zoinks. How do the egg farmers do it?
     
  10. fishermans wife

    fishermans wife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 2, 2009
    Ventura County
    The almost 5 monther quit when a coyote jumped our fence - didn't kill her - but scared the living daylights out of her! I guess that is why God made them so darned cute - we put up with it cause we love 'em so much!

    Off to feed them tuna fish - seems to be working!! I wonder if their eggs will taste like fish???? Oh well, married to a commericial fisherman...probably won't even be able to tell.
     

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