Brown Leghorn stopped laying in California

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by micstrachan, Nov 2, 2016.

  1. micstrachan

    micstrachan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Greetings!
    As a first time chicken keeper, I am not sure of a typical egg cycle. However, I am aware daylight, stress, breed, and age are factors. Here is my issue: I have four first-year layers, all different breeds (Australorp, Barred Rock, New Hampshire Red, and Brown Leghorn.) We live in California, where fall and winter are pretty mild. We only hit freezing temps a few days a year, and haven't come close yet this fall. With the shortening days, egg production has slowed a little, but is still going strong gor three of my girls. My Brown Leghorn, Margo, however, hasn't laid in five days. Does that seem odd? I think she is the least cold hearty, but it's not winter yet, and it's still
    nice out, for the most part. Yes, days are gettinng shorter, but it's only November 2nd. I was half expecting a double yolker today, since that's what usually happens if she skips a couple days of laying. Is there any reason for concern she could be stressed? Her behavior is perfectly normal. She is the best at digging for worms, still likes to cuddle with me, yet is still the most flighty (true to her breed''s personality.) She is the "skinniest" girl, but, then, she is the leanest breed of my four. Her feathers are beautiful, eyes are bright, comb has good color. The only other clue is there didn't seem to be as much poop in the coop and pen today... possibly. Does anyone want to weigh in on whether I should be concerned? Could she just be more sensitive than the other girls to the reduced daylight hours? Also, we have had unseasonal early rain, which kept them cooped up more than normal, but that had passed. Thanks for sharing any advice, statistics, anexdotes, etc. you may have. Margo and I thank you for it!
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    35,742
    9,242
    656
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Takes time to find what their 'schedule' is.....then they will change it...haha!

    What are you feeding?
    Do you free range?
     
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    39,801
    1,288
    516
    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    She may be getting ready to do a minor molt. I've had several 9 month old pullets molt. It's generally not as bad as a full molt. Look for her tail feathers to be missing.

    Cold has nothing to do with it, chickens are very well adapted to the cold. (they have a harder time in the heat) Daytime length will affect production. I have 23 birds right now, and only 1 hen is laying.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. micstrachan

    micstrachan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Right. Which is why I'' wondering if she could be more sensitive to light than the other girls. By the sounds of your flock, I guess I should consider myself lucky the other three are still laying. Thanks for the reply![​IMG]
     
  5. micstrachan

    micstrachan Chillin' With My Peeps

    My girls are getting organic layer feed from Costco. I had a little grower feed to use up recently and supplemented with free choice ouster shell and chicken egg shell, which they loved! They get a small amount of one or two of the following treats daily: sprouts, fruit, scrambled egg, raw sunflower seeds, sprouted grains, sprouted greens, or plain greek yogurt.

    They don't free range all day, but get about an hour each afternoon when I return from work and several hours on the weekends when I can "supervise" them. We're out in the country, so there are losds of worms, insects, and greens available for foraging when they do get to free range. They even ate a couple baby snakes recently![​IMG]
     
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

    17,690
    6,043
    496
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    One thing to remember is you said it's only November 1, but the winter solstice is December 21, so we are very close to the shortest days already. Laying is somewhat controlled by amount of daylight with early spring being the time for higher production under increasing daylight.

    This time of year many hens take breaks. Your weather certainly can't be considered cold, but shifts in any weather can cause halts which takes about 1-2 weeks to resume from.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016
  7. marierod

    marierod Out Of The Brooder

    31
    2
    39
    Apr 13, 2016
    Ny
    So in the winter when it's dark in ny by 430 pm should I keep them in the run with the light on till 645 or do they go to sleep earlier they normally go to sleep now between 645 and seven or at least that's when I locked them in their coop for the night
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016
  8. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

    17,690
    6,043
    496
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    I let mine go through winter without extra lights. If they need extra energy to get through the cold I'd rather they do that than lay eggs.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. carlf

    carlf Chillin' With My Peeps

    586
    86
    83
    Jul 2, 2016
    Mobile, AL
    Just taking a break, I would guess either shortening days or a soft molt or both.
    I would not be overly worried.
     
  10. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    39,801
    1,288
    516
    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Some people add lights and some don't. I don't light my coops to a) give my hens a break if they need one, and b) no electricity in coop. [​IMG]

    If you do add lights, do not keep them on all day and night. They need some darkness in their night time. Add light to give them a 15 hour day of daylight. Most that add light add it in the morning, so as to not disrupt roosting time. This will not help anyone that decides to molt. You only need enough light to read a newspaper by.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by