Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Hannah'sPlaidChickens, Nov 4, 2007.

  1. Hannah'sPlaidChickens

    Hannah'sPlaidChickens In the Brooder

    Oct 30, 2007
    This is my first winter as like a full-time chicken owner, but I was expecting my chickens to stop laying eggs during the colder months. Just a few months ago I became a vegetarian because I don't like how battery hens are treated, and the only eggs I allowed myself to eat were from my own hens. Just last week, all of my eleven birds stopped laying! I need a source of protien because, as most of you know, meat contains the most and without eating meat you get hardly any at all. I would really like to somehow get my birds laying again, even if just one hen would lay just one egg a day that would be great! I don't know if there is any sort of feed you can give them, or if you keep the house warm if they will lay, but I'm hoping there's something out there. When I don't get any eggs I have to drink this soy protien drink (Can anybody say GROSS!!!) so I'm praying somebody knows something!
  2. hinkjc

    hinkjc Crowing

    Jan 11, 2007
    They have stopped laying because this time of year (with shortened days) is the time for their body to rest and regenerate. They stop laying to put more of their nutrients into growing new feathers (moulting process). If you really have to have the eggs, you can add light to their day (up to 16 hours) to get them jump started again. Of course, if anyone has already begun their moult, you'll have to wait it out several months likely. Others who have just slowed down or recently stopped can be restarted, but not without consequences. Forcing them to lay throughout the year is exhausting and hard on the hens. It will also reduce their overall egg laying years.

  3. Chellester

    Chellester Songster

    Jun 22, 2007
    Nor Cal
    I too want fresh eggs through the winter, but I agree with hinkjc that getting that through artificial means is not good for the hens.

    There are some breeds that are supposed to be good layers through the winter. Here is a partial list:

    Jersey Giants
    New Hampshires
    Plymouth Rocks
    Rhode Island Reds

    I'm sure a lot of this depends on the personal characteristics of the hens and the area of the country one lives in. I live in the California valley where temperatures rarely dip much below freezing in the wintertime, so I am planning to get some of these breeds next spring to see how they do the following winter.
  4. Rosalind

    Rosalind Songster

    Mar 25, 2007
    There's lots of veggie sources of protein other than those nasty soy drinks you mention. I don't eat meat, except for venison, because I know for a fact that most feedlots and slaughterhouses are filthy, disease-infested places not fit to process food. Deer carcasses are inspected individually by the state game commission, and butchered in my friend's fairly clean backyard, so I'll eat venison.

    Other sources of protein

    Beans: This time of year, chili, black bean soup, stirfry with beans, bean burritos, lentils & rice with stir-fried veggies, baked beans, hoppin john, etc. You sort of have to commit to eating some every day, which isn't too bad if you've got a good cookbook. Chickpeas and tahini blended into hummus with olive oil, lemonjuice and a ridiculous amount of garlic, very high in protein.

    Soy not in gritty, watery drink form: Tofu is like flour, it's an ingredient, not a food item by itself. Marinate sliced firm tofu in equal parts cider vinegar, water, maple syrup, several cloves chopped garlic and a chunk of chopped fresh ginger overnight. Then roll pieces in cornstarch and fry in peanut oil till crispy. Add to stirfrys. Tofutti ice "cream" is also suprisingly good.

    Peanut butter, almond butter, hazelnut butter spread on wholegrain toast for breakfast or snacks has a reasonable amount of protein. Almost any kind of seed or nut, including pumpkin seeds, has a decent amount of protein and minerals.

    Dairy, if you eat it: Yogurt, cheese, milk, ice cream...

    Unusual grains such as quinoa, spelt, amaranth, teff etc. have a much higher protein content than wheat. Plain white quinoa can be cooked like rice; I pour chili over it, then melt cheese over the whole thing and top with a dollop of sour cream. Plenty of protein there.

    How can I put this? It takes a while to be good at being vegetarian. You have to learn all new methods of cooking and you have to be willing to try all sorts of foods from other cultures, especially because other cultures such as Asian cultures tend to have better veggie recipes than Western cookery. Most of my friends and co-workers have never had any vegetable that was not iceberg lettuce or else boiled till soggy, so of course they don't like veggies. It seems obvious, too, but you really have to like veggies in general. I know a lot of people who tried to be vegetarian but didn't stick with it because they didn't change their cooking style--they just tried to use meat substitutes in their cooking, which are usually pretty awful. You have to change the whole way you cook and how you think of a meal. Oh, and you'll lose 10-20 lbs. the first year. [​IMG]
  5. BlueMoon

    BlueMoon Songster

    Oct 3, 2007
    Scenic Verbank, NY
    Wait a moment - you also had posted problems with chicks dying. There could be a correlation here, rather than just shorted days. For those who were not following that thread, might you please recap for all? Thanks
  6. Hannah'sPlaidChickens

    Hannah'sPlaidChickens In the Brooder

    Oct 30, 2007
    Ok: RECAP:

    I bought six chicks from a feedstore during the spring. I kept them in an inside enclosure, then moved them outside where they thrived. I became very attached the chickens, and began to be given unwanted chickens. I got a Rhode Island Red rooster, and then purchased five other hens (buff orp, spotted suffox, 3 cornish game hens). I quarintined all of them. Just a few days ago on of my group of chicks became sick. One actually ended up dying, and another I had to take inside because it was refusing to move. I posted a blog that night, telling everybody about what was happening and asking for advice. The next morning, however, I found the chick warmed up and healthy. After a full day of observation, I let him back out with his mom, where he and the rest are now living. I came to the conclusion that the hen, being a first time mother, and the last mother to wean her chicks for the winter, that she was rushing through the weaning process and was roosting with the rest of the flock. The next night I went outside, and found that I had been right (thanks to somebody else's suggestion!!!) and found the mother hen roosting inside the house, while the babies chirped pitifully from the floor. They were puffy and weak because they were cold. To fix this problem I turned on the heating light ni my creeper on, and now whenever the babies are cold they know they can just run under and warm up.
    About the eggs. I tottal agree with the above people. I didn't realize that they stopped laying to rest their bodies. If i want to stop battery hen abuse, the last thing I want to do is start forcing my hens to lay. Thanks to Rosalind for the great vegetarian ideas! I think I'll just lay off the eggs for the winter. Chickens have feelings, and I know that they need time to rest! I must seem so stuck up to you guys, asking about how to force chickens to lay eggs! I really am not a bad person:( I just didn't know that the hens stopped laying for a good reason. Thanks to all for your concern and advice.
  7. johnnyjack

    johnnyjack Songster

    Oct 21, 2007
    i live in upstate sc , i have white leghorns and they lay all winter but slower maybe 1 egg every 2 days.just bought 2 hens which i was told are blue leghorns they are laying now but i will have to wait and see about the realy colder months. but ya gota love them leghorns, egg machines.
  8. Hannah'sPlaidChickens

    Hannah'sPlaidChickens In the Brooder

    Oct 30, 2007
    I do have a leghorn bantam, but she is anything but a pet. I got her like eight years ago with four chicks. Her owners were going to drown the chicks but I scooped them up right away. They let me have her too. Now she's really old, but knows how to jump over my chicken fence. She has clipped wings, and I have never really seen her do it before, but she gets in and out of the coop easy as pie. [​IMG] Like I said she's really old, and doesn't lay anymore. She does disappear every eleven months though, and come back three months later with a new batch of chicks. I don't no where she hides, but she is a wonderful mother. I've gotten more then twenty chicks out her just in the last year. I certianly do love her though, even though she is half wild.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2007
  9. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    I am just like you - A vegetarian that will eat eggs, but only from chickens that I know.

    So, perhaps, aside from all the good recipes/ideas mentioned by Rosalind (and I just made some lentil soup for the week - yummmm), you could find a local farm that sells fresh eggs to supplement what your hens don't supply for the winter?
  10. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    If she's bringing back a batch of chics, she is most certainly layng.

    I do find it odd that she wouldn't lay for 11 months then lay enough eggs to hatch out a batch of little ones.

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