4 Hens Went in Molt and Never Came Back

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by yeswehave8, Mar 9, 2016.

  1. yeswehave8

    yeswehave8 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 13, 2014
    I have a total of 10 hens. 6 are just coming up on 1 year of age next month and the other 4 are another season older. We keep them separate, as the 4 were mean to the "babies" and integration attempts did not go well. The 4 are supposed to be all from the same "lines" of Black Copper Marans, though only 2 have the appropriate coloring. One is almost completely black and the other is a beautiful red. It took them FOREVER to finally lay at all, and they did so suddenly last winter. I don't remember exactly, but they were 30-something weeks by then and I found my first, frozen egg last Feb.

    Both sets of hens went through a molt in the fall. The "babies" had a brief egg hiatus then, though only my EEs were even laying by then anyway. As of now, all babies (3 EEs and 3 Cuckoo Maran) are laying regularly. The "big girls" (who are, ironically, smaller) have never gone back to laying. They get the same layer pellets, the same table scraps, the same sun, etc... they went through a pretty intense molt, and just never came back. All of their combs are paler, still, even though they are re-feathered. Lucy, my red hed, is missing tail feathers, still, but she's low girl on the pecking order, too. Last I checked, I saw no mites on them.

    What else can we do? Supplements? Something else to look for? They used to have beautiful eggs and they seem much too young to have just quit like this.I even gave them the benefit of the doubt and gave them through winter, but it's been consistently warm here and still, nothing.
  2. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 18, 2012
    Northern Virginia
    My Coop
    I'd suspect worms as their combs are pale and a heavy load of worms will impact their laying. I normally take a "representative" sample of their poo - mix it up from a few birds - to my vet to do a fecal test to be sure. That way I know what type of worm I'm dealing with and can get the right meds. Any vet can do a fecal on chickens, doesn't have to be an avian vet.
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Coming back into lay in the spring isn't dependent on temperature, it's caused by the length of daylight. So, if you're only getting 12 or so hours, they're still building up to what they need to reach peak production.

    I have a flock of older (4 years this spring) black copper Marans who are also not laying consistently. I think part of it is their age, but part of it is also the trade off of breeder/heritage type birds vs the hatchery production birds. We're spoiled by the hatchery stock that are such dependable layers, regardless of breed, that we expect that of all hens. I'm thinking that if you just wait for longer days you'll have good production again this season. Or, you can try supplemental lighting and see if that will kick start them.
  4. yeswehave8

    yeswehave8 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 13, 2014
    Would moving them to another part of the yard help at all? Maybe more sunlight? I guess I am puzzled why one group is laying fine and the other not at all. Then again, those 4 were super slow to even start laying. Once they did, though, they were fairly consistent until molting.

    I took a good look at them again today. One is still a little ashy in the comb, but the others are quite pink now, almost red. Definitely better. Maybe they are just taking a while to gear back up?

    Is there a general wormer I can try out, or is it really necessary to check the type?
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    IMO it's best to test...otherwise you may waste time(and egg usage) worming with the wrong, or completely unnecessary, chemical.
    Random use of wormers can cause resistance so that when you really do need them, they won't work.

    Where are you located? Climate can play a big part in worming regimes.
    Putting your location in your profile can help folks give better answers/suggestions.

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