Girls Are Suddenly Laying - What is Going On?

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In the Brooder
10 Years
Aug 23, 2009
Kitsap County, WA
Out here in Western Washington, we have had a pretty normal winter; a little drier and warmer than usual from late fall until now, but otherwise pretty routine. Our hens (3 RIR and 1 RIR/Buff Orp cross) went from their usual laying rate to ZERO very quickly back in October or early November. My wife has been scowling at them since, being irritated that they are still munching on their layer mash and not laying. I pointed out that she, of all of us in the house, ought to understand a lady's delicate natural cycles and not be too hard on them
She thought maybe they were done laying, now that they are ~3+ years old, but I told her I thought that was a little early for henopause.

Anyway, suddenly today we check the laying box and find 4 eggs! None are from the RIR/BuffOrp cross (they have a distinctive heavy shell with a dark speckled color), but she did see one of the RIRs setting in that area earlier today.

I am baffled. In past winters, the ladies shut down in the winter and then ramped up again as the days lengthened in the spring. What is causing this sudden laying? There must be more than one of the RIRs laying, considering the sudden quantity of eggs. One item that might be a factor is that we have just had a few days of cold (for us) weather with temps in the low 30s. I would think that would impede laying, if anything.

So we are not complaining, but are puzzled. Any ideas why this has happened?

PS - Thanks again to Dawg53 and others for help with our sick RIR last summer. She recovered well and has been looking quite perky since. My wife renamed her Connie (for convalescent) when she was sick and we have been very happy to see her looking healthy since.


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