Down from 18+ eggs to only 6 a day. Why?


In the Brooder
10 Years
Jun 11, 2009
South-West Ohio
We were free-ranging our chickens since spring. We were getting around 18 eggs a day. Of course we had about 24 hens and 2 roosters, but have lost some to heat and hawks.
Now we have 15 1 year old hens and 1 rooster. The 13 little ladies should be laying anyday (born in May). I had thought the older hens were starting to "forget" to lay in the nice nesting boxes, so this past week we've kept everyone in the coop and run. Plenty of food, water and treats. Still only 6 eggs a day. I guess I should say that most of the hens are BO, while 2 are comets and 2 are barred rocks. We live in Ohio where the weather has been nice for fall, and I don't see signs of molting. Not sure when to expect that, but I was thinking cold weather.
One other concern we had was that a neighbor dog (or mine) was sneaking in and eating the eggs. They don't have access to them now. We did have some garter snakes under the coop, but my dh says they are too little to eat the eggs.

I would appreciate any possible idea you might have. Thanks in advance.

BTW- we've been feeding 18% layer for about a month to all the chickens. Before we combined them, the "babies" were getting the 23% starter and sometimes the older girls would go into the younger coop and eat the food. I don't know how this would influence egg production.
Your older girls are probably starting to go into their first big molt. They mostly stop laying during the molt so what you're seeing is completely normal. If you don't use an extra light source during the winter they'll slow down with the shorter days too, but I'd bet what you're seeing now is mostly due to molting.

ETA: They'll often slow/stop before the hen house starts to look like a group of teenage girls had a pillow fight in it.
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Our 29 hens were giving me about 22 eggs a day and they will be 2 years in March. They have gone down to about 10 eggs a day. I had just read about molting and am sure that is what is going on with them. What I read was that it usually happens in the fall months and they slow down cause of the shorter days. So I have to agree this is suppose to be normal. I am just trying to explain that to my egg customers.

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