1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Chickens not laying (in mourning?)

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by KHoward, Dec 24, 2011.

  1. KHoward

    KHoward Chillin' With My Peeps

    207
    15
    114
    Apr 28, 2011
    Boston
    Hi,

    I had 11 chickens and 7 of them were laying, the other four are recovering from a moult from four months ago. #11 died unexpectedly over a month ago and now none are laying. They free range in a fenced in area (50x50) and are not laying out there, I always check the yard when I bring them in for the night. They get plenty of fresh water, calcium, layer feed, and get vegetables every day as well.

    My questions are: 1) The four that had a moult back in August - when can I expect them to lay? (I know they are not because of their egg color blue or white, and all I have were brown), and 2) now that no one is laying, is it possible that they are in mourning?

    I live in Northeast Massachusetts and we've had a mild winter so far (30's - 50's with a couple of 20 degree nights). I am at a loss as to why the girls are on strike?!

    Any thoughts? Should I call in a Chicken Therapist?

    ~Kristen
     
  2. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

    9,279
    723
    321
    Apr 11, 2011
    Tn
    Its not so much the cold temps that put them off laying, but the shorter daylight hours. I've only been getting 2-3 eggs a day, and the girls that lay them lay every other day. I've still got ladies moulting as well. The days will start getting longer now, so hopefully we'll both start getting more eggs. Good luck!
     
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Quote:I agree with the previous post. We've just past the darkest day of the year. If you didn't provide supplemental, pre-dawn lighting, few hens, other than some first year pullets, receive enough sunlight this time of year to trigger ovulation. Added light is a management decision. Kinda chuckled over the "free ranging" in a 50x50 yard. Sorry. [​IMG] I sometimes have to retrieve my far rangers from a 1/4 mile away. Again, sorry. [​IMG]


    It sounds as if you treat your birds very very well. They'll resume laying naturally when the days get long enough in late February or early March. Best regards.
     
  4. KHoward

    KHoward Chillin' With My Peeps

    207
    15
    114
    Apr 28, 2011
    Boston
    Thanks, so you think that the shorter days are resulting in zero production? . I have RIR, Comets, EE, Leghorn, BR and an Australorp. So - should I just hang tight for a few months? I don't want to add light because I'd rather let nature take its course. I guess I expected slow, but not none (I'm thinking of calling the Chicken Labor Union)

    And yes, I know the "free range" is relative - ha ha. I was just trying to say that I don't keep 'em in a shoebox, and I've been looking for those darn eggs everywhere, but they just aren't coming :)

    Happy Holidays!
     
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    You, like me, live far north. Our "days" just hit bottom with a tick under 8 hours of natural light. At that amount, just about everything photo-reactive, like a chicken's retina, shuts down sending signals for ovulation.

    Now, a first year pullet is so vigorous that many will lay very well their first winter, with even the suggestion of additional light. A second or their year hen? Not so much.

    I also want my birds to rest in the winter. I actually WANT them to have 11-12 hours of sleep and rest. So, I use supplemental lighting in the pre-dawn hours. Just a couple hours. The first year pullets lay up a storm. The older hens are very irregular, if they lay at all.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by