From 5 a day to 1 a day overnight. What can cause this?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Freia, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. Freia

    Freia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 9 mature hens. They range in age from 1-6 years old.

    While I was on vacation for 3 weeks, my husband said we were getting 5 eggs a day. He ke[t them in their 1/4-acre enclosure.

    When I came home from vacation, I started letting them out to free-range again, and we dropped to 1 egg a day - overnight. I figured that they probably were hiding eggs out there somewhere, so after a few days of this I started keeping them in the enclosure all day to see what would happen. We've been getting 0 or 1 egg a day now for 3 weeks, whit them in the enclosure. No hidden nests. No egg-eating. The weather doesn't seem to have changed much. We've been in the low 80's and sunny pretty much all summer. No changes in diet. No mites, lice or worms.

    My ancient, giant blue Cochin is molting, so that explains her, but she only lays a dozen eggs a year anyway, so I don't really count her.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2013
  2. AZBootsie

    AZBootsie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Low 80's !!!!! I am sooo envious!!! Hotter than heck here.

    My chooks seem to all molt around the same time. Maybe the others are getting ready to molt??
     
  3. Freia

    Freia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That was the only thing I've been able to suspect, but it just seems early for that. They have plenty of sun and the nights aren't getting cold yet. Their little bodies should be thinking this is premium egg-laying time.

    They did molt in august last year. I thought it was because my friend gave them chick-feed while I was on vacation. I can't blame it on that this year.

    If they're molting now, they won't start laying again until next Spring, will they?
     
  4. Freia

    Freia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, too funny...

    I just asked my daughters to go and check with hens' neck-feathers and under their wings and see if there's any sign of molting. They stared at me: "But Mamma, how can we possibly tell if the Turkens are molting"?

    Good question.
     
  5. ronott1

    ronott1 Daily Digest Guru Premium Member Project Manager

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    Chickens are creatures and not vending machines; put in feed and out pops and egg, so things like this can happen.

    They may not have had full time access to water or a similar change to their routine during your vacation.
    They may have been scared by a predator or maybe the dog got too close to them.
    Rats may be pestering them at night.
    Changes in weather like a wind storm can slow down egg laying.
    The first molt is often a light one an they do not look bad but will stop laying eggs. You may not even notice them looking bad.
    Check them for parasites.

    They will likely start up again soon.
     
  6. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There is a big clue. Chickens will usually molt in late summer or early fall.

    Your hens are molting, which means you won't be getting many eggs for the next couple of months, probably.

    You have an older flock, it seems. You might want to bring in some hens that have just started to lay so you can continue to get eggs.
     
  7. ronott1

    ronott1 Daily Digest Guru Premium Member Project Manager

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    Give them a grower or flock raiser feed and a cup of Black Oil Sunflower Seeds. You should start getting eggs again after 6 to 8 weeks.

    Some breeds are winter layers, like Orpingtons and Rocks. Go here: http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html and look up your breeds. A blue snowflake indicates a winter laying breed.
     
  8. AZBootsie

    AZBootsie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]
     
  9. Freia

    Freia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is it normal for some flocks to molt this early, or is this an indicator that they may me lacking something in their diet or something? I always thought they were supposed to molt when the daylight hours came below 14 hours or so.
     
  10. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Late summer to early fall is the typical time for molting. If you look around this board, many people are asking why their hens have slowed way down. That is because the hens have started molting.

    If it were me, I would replace a couple of the older hens with some young hens that have just started laying eggs.
     

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