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Can molt effect egg size?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Jeffross1968, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    I have 9 laying hens. Most are in their first year, and are going through some stage of molt. I've had one who completely stopped laying, and finally started back up after a couple months. I've had others who slow down, laying only a couple per week.

    But over the last couple of days, I've found some pretty small eggs. Maybe half or 2/3 regular size. Unfortunately, I didn't see who laid them. I also have a couple hens at point of lay, but I don't think any of the eggs are theirs. Can molt make their eggs smaller instead of stopping laying? What other things can turn a layer's eggs smaller?
     
  2. DanielHoover

    DanielHoover Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 3, 2012
    If you switch from feeding laying mash to hen scratch,
    the eggs will become smaller and fewer. This also puts
    them into a moult. Moulting puts lots of strees on a
    chickens body, same as changing feed. Many will quit
    laying entirely.
     
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
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    It's the new layers starting up. Molting does affect egg size, but they get larger, not smaller.
     
  4. m_shuman

    m_shuman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 22, 2011
    Springfield, GA
    I am glad you pointed this out. I have 2 girls who went through a lite moult and I thought their eggs had gotten bigger. DH said I was crazy but seems I was right afterall!


     
  5. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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  6. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    I'm almost positive it isn't the new layers, but I guess you could be right.

    Now, I know that egg size can increase after a molt, but during? Why wouldn't the extra protein going towards feather growth take away from the size of the egg?
     
  7. SportChick

    SportChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 7, 2010
    Louisiana
    Mine molted this year (about 18 months after hatching) and they layed smaller eggs (easily 1/2 to 2/3 size) for several weeks after. Now they are back to normal size.
     
  8. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Hens usually do not lay eggs while molting. So the eggs would get bigger after they are done molting.


    I suppose it could be a fluke - just a smaller egg for a short time. Are they pullet sized eggs?
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  9. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    No, I'd say they were slightly larger than pullet eggs. And I always seem to get a "pullet bullet" all skinny and stuff. These were well formed eggs, just smaller than normal.

    I have a couple of hens that were positively laying during molt, but instead of stopping, they slowed down. Instead of laying 5 days in a row, they'd lay 2, so more break days every week. But this is the first time I've seen any smaller, and didn't see who laid them.
     
  10. KarenLynn

    KarenLynn New Egg

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    Oct 10, 2012
    I definitely think moulting affects egg size and makes them smaller temporarily. I have raised four flocks of chickens and now have girls in their third season and they can be very unpredictable. We got an egg today that was extremely small. I will try to post a pic so you can see! It's crazy! But I feel confident they will get back to normal!
     

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