4 nine month old Orpingtons and only 1 laying

junglepeeps

Hatching
Jan 7, 2016
6
0
9
400
Help Please...I don't know what's going on with my girls??? The four of them are big healthy looking birds they're getting a layer feed everyday that they help themselves from an automatic feeder & fresh water every second day plus various table scraps from left over dinners (meat, fish, veges etc) then they get let out in the afternoon to free range for 3 or 4 hours then they put themselves to bed. BUT! Only 1 is laying 1 egg a day, it's winter here in New Zealand but it's nothing compared to the freezing temps in the U.S, ours are at its coldest about 7 degrees only at night no snow and only 1 frost so far. During the day we are still getting temps of around 12 to 15 degrees sometimes warmer. Does winter have anything to do with them not laying? Out of the 3 girls that aren't laying 2 of them use to lay and they would (bow down to me) at the time but they stopped when it got cooler. The one that's laying now has a swollen red comb and the three that aren't have small combs that aren't bright red anymore & ive lost their respect... Nobodies bowing down to me anymore. Does anyone have any answers? Sorry for writing a small novel.
 

0wen

Songster
Mar 25, 2016
715
180
151
Southwest Virginia
Lack of light...

Shortened days in winter definitely has an impact on laying. You can run something as simple as Christmas lights in the coop to give them a few more hours of light (even artificial) to see if it helps boost them back to normal...
 

jpalmatier83

Chirping
Jul 15, 2016
152
16
91
Traverse City, MI
I would be inclined to agree. Amount of daylight, regardless of temperature, will suppress laying. Some chickens will even put off beginning to lay if they come to maturity around the winter months.

I would recommend doing a bit of research before adding artificial lighting though. It will undoubtably bump up laying during the nonproductive months but I've read that it can also lead to shorter productive and life spans in the hens.
 

junglepeeps

Hatching
Jan 7, 2016
6
0
9
I would be inclined to agree. Amount of daylight, regardless of temperature, will suppress laying. Some chickens will even put off beginning to lay if they come to maturity around the winter months.

I would recommend doing a bit of research before adding artificial lighting though. It will undoubtably bump up laying during the nonproductive months but I've read that it can also lead to shorter productive and life spans in the hens.
 

junglepeeps

Hatching
Jan 7, 2016
6
0
9
Thanks but in New Zealand on the other side of the world from the U.S our daylight in winter is still 10/11 hours, not necessarily sunny all the time sometimes cloudy. So I'm thinking light isn't the problemo.
 

0wen

Songster
Mar 25, 2016
715
180
151
Southwest Virginia
If you're confident that light isn't the issue (suggested amount is 13-14 hours, how accurate that is I don't know - I don't add any light and just live with lower winter production), then I'd do a general well-being check - look for mites, worms, other parasites. Monitor for illnesses, etc.

Your original posts sounds like you're doing everything you need to for nutrition and such. Is it possible your birds are trying to molt? Doesn't look like it from the photo but it doesn't hurt to ask. Noticed no broodiness or such?

How old are they?
 
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jpalmatier83

Chirping
Jul 15, 2016
152
16
91
Traverse City, MI
So, this is me totally theorizing right now, but you've outlined a pretty complete picture of nutrition, living condition, etc, so...

Isn't the reason, evolutionarily speaking, that chickens don't lay in the winter so that they don't have new offspring during an unfavorable time? So, the lack of light may not be an absolute thing, but more a relative thing. Breeds that have reproduced in New Zealand for generations have adapted to the local seasons and slow down production as the amount of daylight ebbs.

I would take Owens advice, check for parasites and molting. But if that doesn't reveal anything I would circle back to the light idea, knowing you're doing everything else right, and not worry about it too much.
 

junglepeeps

Hatching
Jan 7, 2016
6
0
9
Ok thanks for your helpful advice, I love this chicken forum, it's so addictive, I should probably find a NZ chicken forum, but this ones soo good.
 

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