argh! need help asap making a decision

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Jamandack, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. Jamandack

    Jamandack Out Of The Brooder

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    May 20, 2012
    Okay- we've had WONDROUS success with our chickens/eggs this first go round however- we have a decision to make and I need more info before I make it!
    They just stopped laying (I'm assuming because of the shorter daylight hours) within the last 2 days. I had read that our chickens should molt around 11 months or so which would be in one month so they'd stop laying in a month or so anyway??? How long do they stop laying while molting?
    I am debating if I should run electricity/lighting to the coop to keep getting eggs for a bit or just sit this winter out on the egg race. I don't think any of them are molting yet- then again I don't know what I'm looking for symptom wise ;).
    I have a small family so it wouldn't be toooo horrible to go back to store eggs for a few months but if we have a long winter (Utah) I'm sure we'd start missing them terribly. Also- I want to keep cost WAAAAYYYY down so the initial set up would have to be cheap cheap cheap.
    So my questions are:
    How long do they stop laying while molting?
    When should they start molting?
    What should I look for when they're molting?
    Ways I can inexpensively electrify/light my coop so they can continue to lay?
    Will they start laying again if I put a light in there asap- or did I wait too long??

    Oh and ways to keep the water bucket from freezing- it's a bucket with the nipples that they peck to get water.
     
  2. Joe Jordan

    Joe Jordan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know about molting but their memories are short, put in the lighting (100 watt in a brooder lamp securely fastened to the top side of the coop so it can't fall and hurt someone or start a fire) and they will resume. It worked for me a few days ago. Hope this helps!
     
  3. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

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    They should molt a year + or - a month or two from when they started laying, not at 11 months unless they are poor layers. Lack of light is your problem, but may have put them into molt early. It will take a week or two for the light to make a difference.
     
  4. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    They first molt usually in their second Fall. So if they were hatched in April of 2011, then their first molt should be late summer/fall of this year. Many times you don't even notice the molt much. Of my 12, only two had really hard molts this year. The rest just slowed down on laying. Sometimes they can lay during a light molt, just not as often. Plus or minus a month is right as is everything Cindy said above.

    You can provide lighting now and it will make them lay, takes around 2 weeks like she said.

    So far as keeping the water from freezing, many just get a heated dog bowl and dont' use the nipples during the winter. There are heating cables you can buy to put in there but it's much simpler to just get the heated dog bowl. You can put a larger bucket or something in there if it doesn't hold enough and it'll keep it from freezing.
     
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  5. Jamandack

    Jamandack Out Of The Brooder

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    May 20, 2012
    So they did start molting like crazy a week after I posted this. I mean our whole backyard had gusts of feathers floating freely ha ha. They were hatched jan. of this year! They've been great layers so I don't understand why they'd molt "early" unless it was because of the weather change- is that possible? kind of like a dog getting a winter coat?? anywho, thanks for the dog dish idea!! That may just do the trick!
     

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