4 hens no eggs for 4 or 5 weeks!

New Kid In the Coop

In the Brooder
11 Years
Aug 15, 2008
SW Washington
Hello All,
I am sure this has probably been covered somewhere in these forums but I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for! I have 4 hens, 2 RIR and 2 wyndottes, all 2.5 years old. They all look pretty healthy no signs of bugs or parasites. The wyndottes are moulting (they look somewhat like turkeys!) The RIRs seemed to have gone through their moult already but I still see red feathers everywhere! So my question is...is this a normal time frame for them to stop laying eggs because of moulting? How long does this last? Also, I have one big perch up high for them to perch on and a small lower perch to get up to the nest boxes. I've been noticing big piles of poo under the lower roost. so I snuck out there last night to see who it was. the RIRs were on the big perch and the Wyndottes were in the nest boxes! well actually one was in the nest box and the other was on the divider between the boxes. Why would they suddenly be sleeping there? did the RIRs kick them off? They have always all slept on the big perch. Anyway, sorry if I'm rambling, but if anyone has any ideas or suggestions I sure would appreciate it!
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Never be afraid to ask a question on here, even if it has been asked many times before. This forum would die without questions. Your molting question is being asked a lot about now because of the season, but your hens changing their roosting is a lot rarer. I don't recall seeing anything exactly like it so my answer is a guess.

I think these links will help you with the molting issue. Now is a normal time for molting because the days are getting shorter. One of the articles in the links tells you how to sort of estimate whether it will be a couple of months or maybe 5 or 6 months for them to finish the molt. Sounds like your Wyandottes may be fast molters but maybe your RIR's are not?

Mississippi State describes molting

Kansas State feather loss

Normally chickens like to roost on the highest thing available. From your post, I think your roost is higher than your nest boxes and things were fine until lately. I don't know why your RIR's would kick the others off after all this time, maybe some change in the pecking order, but my guess is that one of the RIR's developed an attitude and has kicked the Wyandottes off the high roost. They'll now take the second highest thing available. I'm guessing that you have a fairly small coop and not a lot of room on the roost for them to separate much while roosting. Not knowing what your coop looks like, is there some way to provide another option for them, higher than the nest box but a bit away from the RIR's? Or maybe cover the nest boxes with a roost a little above the nest boxes? You'd probably have to clean the poop off there, like a droppings board.

Hope this helps some. Good luck!
Agreed! Also another thought on the sleeping in nesting boxes issue....though it's late in the season, I'm still seeing posts about hens brooding. This Wyndotte that is sleeping in the nesting box, is she acting normally during the day? Getting off the nest to hang out with the other hens, etc?
Thanks everyone for your input! I think the RIRs are near the end of their molt. But the Wyndottes are just beginning! Hopefully I'll start getting some eggs soon! they all seem to get along fine during the day in their run. They don't get out of their run as much as they used to because I got tired of the chicken poop everywhere! Could the moulting have something to do with it? The Perch is about 4 feet long. I noticed that when the RIRs were up there they were at opposite ends of the perch. I'll keep a closer eye on them and see what I can figure out. Thanks again! Oh and Ridgerunner those links were a big help! Thank you!
My hens are not laying well and are molting as well. I have noticed that the hens with the most feather loss (due to molting) are sleeping in the nesting boxes at night. Normally they are on the perch. Maybe they are just too tired to hang on to the perch all night long.
Or, perhaps they are in the nesting boxes because it is warmer.

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