Age, New Food, or very slow molting? (UPDATE with photos on Pg. 2)

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Backyard Buddies, Jul 24, 2008.

  1. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    I have 3 girls (RIR and EE) who were hatched in late March 2006, so they're now 2 1/4 years old. They molted this winter and began laying again in late January. Up until recently, I was getting 14 - 17 eggs a week from the three of them, typically 5 - 6 a week from the RIRs and 4 - 5 a week from the EE.

    On June 12 I purchased new bag of feed, the same brand and variety they've been using for the past year and a half. For the two 1/2 weeks afterwards, their egg production was about the same, then started dropping off.

    During the third week, egg production dropped and one RIR started laying soft shelled eggs. This isn't entirely unusual for her when she's starting to molt or coming out of one. She'll typically lay 2 soft shelled eggs, then stop laying, then begin a molt a week or two later. However, she laid 3 soft shelled eggs, then didn't lay (or ate the evidence!) for the next 8 days. Since then, she's laid 4 more soft eggs. Other than 2 lost feathers, she doesn't appear to be molting.

    The EE hasn't laid an egg for the past 5 days. Her last eggs had intact shells, but more brittle than normal.

    The other RIR has been laying eggs normally, but her shells are also thinner than usual.

    They have oyster shell available free choice at all times and it is being consumed.

    All of their combs are still red.

    What the heck is going on?
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2008
  2. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    [​IMG] No ideas? I know I have a tendency to be long winded (long typed? [​IMG] ) but I wanted all the info out there in case anyone had any thoughts on this.

    It has now been 3 weeks since the first soft shelled egg on the RIR and 7 days without eggs on the EE - - still no molting. The other RIR laid 5 eggs this week.

    As luck would have it, I'm heading out tomorrow on vacation. I hope that there isn't something more serious going on . . . [​IMG]
     
  3. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps AutumnBreezeChickens.com

    6,396
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    Apr 20, 2008
    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    That would be frustrating! Do you think they may have gotten a taste of the eggs and are now eating them? I wish I could help more but that's all I can think of. I'm fairly new to chickens yet but I hope someone else can help you out! Good luck!
     
  4. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    Quote:Thanks HWMP! Other than the soft shelled eggs, I do not think that they're eating them. I work from home, so I know when they lay. Plus, as you may have guessed, I keep a chicken calendar so I also can tell *when* they're due to lay on any given day. The ones that they were laying had softer shells than normal. I'm stumped!
     
  5. lurky

    lurky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    Mine all slowed/stopped laying in the heat. As soon as we got a cooler/more comfortable day, they all started back up again. I would imagine you have some high temps. Thats probably all thats going on.
     
  6. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    Actually, it's been fairly cool for this time of the year - low to mid 70s during the day, low 60s at night. I live near the ocean so it rarely gets any hotter than the 80s. [​IMG]
     
  7. lurky

    lurky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    Quote:Last week, our temps were in the 80's when mine stopped and it was cooler at night too. One night it even got down to 50. We had rain all this week so i got a few eggs a day this week, but thats still not much. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2008
  8. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    How old are your girls, Lurky? I wonder if they get more sensitive to changes when they're older.

    The funny thing about all of this is that my "bottom" girl is the one who's still laying. She's sometimes chased from the food dish, so she's my skinniest girl. But, she's my sweet, lean, laying machine! [​IMG]
     
  9. lurky

    lurky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    Mine all turned one between April and july of this year. I know mine were due to the heat. I also saw alot of others posting at the same time that they stopped getting eggs too. I am thinking it might be a common summer thing [​IMG]
     
  10. HenHaven

    HenHaven Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 3, 2007
    Coarsegold, CA
    I think it was just coincidental that the egg production dropped off after the feed purchase. I've noticed a trend over the last 3 years...the girls have many months of heavy laying through the spring and into summer. July usually signals a decrease in production, thinner shells, and for some, cessation of laying.

    I look at it as a natural cycle of laying. My girls also usually start looking pretty ratty by this time of year--like they have given it their all and now are a bit tired. My Ameraucanas always seem to be the first to slow down.

    I've also noticed that I have to watch for egg eating this time of year. I add in a protein supplement to offset this and to give them a boost to produce all those new feathers they will be putting out.
     

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