Hen Needs a Break - Any Suggestions

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by skyblu, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. skyblu

    skyblu In the Brooder

    Feb 10, 2013
    Devon, UK
    I have one hybrid hen who is about 18 months old I guess - she should have gone into moult last autumn - but due to our screwed up weather she didn't. No big deal but now her eggs are suffering as a result of not having a break. She is a little egg laying machine! and continues to pump out a large or extra large every day nearly. The shells however are getting very thin indeed and 2 days this week, they have been broken easily by another hen.

    Basically she needs a rest...any ideas how or if I can induce moult? she is also starting to show signs of going broody and whilst that may solve the need for a break from laying, it won't do anything to help her overall health and vigour!

  2. furbabymum

    furbabymum Songster

    May 6, 2012
    Burns, Wyoming
    Up her calcium!!! That'll help the egg shells. As for giving her a break, if you have artificial light get rid of it.
  3. skyblu

    skyblu In the Brooder

    Feb 10, 2013
    Devon, UK
    she already has plenty of calcium - layers pellets, oyster shell (which she does eat) plus a powdered supplement which includes calcium - I think the trouble is that she is partially trying to moult as well as continuing to lay. She has may a dozen new feathers appeared - but is clearly trying to do both calcium demanding activities at once...

    I don't have artificial light on them
  4. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Songster

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    Stress can induce molt. There have been stories of chickens going in to molt after a predator scare. I wouldn't recommend that. Chickens have also been thrown into molt by food and water stress, when they have not had them for a time.

    In your hens case she may not be absorbing the calcium she is taking in to support the slow molt she is going through and laying. Try giving her a boost of vitamin D to see if that helps her calcium absorption.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
  5. skyblu

    skyblu In the Brooder

    Feb 10, 2013
    Devon, UK
    thanks, will give extra vit D a try..as perhaps setting a dog on her to induce moult may be a little harsh :) vit D deficiency would hardly be surprising given our lack of sunshine!!
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I've wondered if confining them in darkness for a few days would re-set their laying. It makes sense, from the standpoint of more light=more eggs. My grandma used to confine a hen in darkness to break broodiness and swore by it, but I've not tried it myself for anything.
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I think I would leave her be, and quit worrying. Every so often, you get a thin shell or a no shell egg. It just happens. I think it does help if you feed layer and oyster shell, but really the equipment just misfires once in a while. You might get a couple that way, and doing nothing different, get better egg shells after a bit. People tend to think that they added a magic ingredient and that is what made the difference.

    I would not force a molt, she will molt when she is ready. If she is laying, that is a sign of good health and genetics., not poor health You really cannot increase laying by increasing feed past the needs point of the flock. Decreasing laying is also beyond your control.

    I think she probably will burn herself out, that is what those hybrids are bred for, to lay like crazy, it is in their genes, and you can't change that at this point in time.


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