How long after molting should egg laying resume?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mountainbunny, Dec 17, 2017.

  1. mountainbunny

    mountainbunny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My hens are about 1.5 years old and just went through their first molt. They seem to be almost done. A couple are still growing in some new feathers. I'm just curious as to about how long I should expect to see eggs again.
     
  2. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    There are no rules. It's an individual thing. Keep in mind, though, besides molting, another reason for hens not laying is the short winter days. As the days begin to grow longer after winter solstice, especially when they approach 12 hours of daylight once again, that will encourage those egg hormones to kick in.

    Watch for the combs to redden and plump up. Eggs won't be far behind.
     
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  3. mountainbunny

    mountainbunny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. I figured as much. Their rate if molting has been different for each heh even though they are all the same age and some the same breed. It's been interesting. I'm just glad the molting is almost done.
     
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  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    It definitely varies. But first about the molt. Some hens are fast molters, some slow. You can have a lot of variation in exactly how fast that is, it is controlled by genetics more than anything else. It’s about how fast the feathers fall out, not how fast they grow back. That can vary by individual hen, even if they are the same breed. That explains what you are seeing.

    As Azygous said day length has an effect. The big difference is whether the days are getting longer or shorter. If they are getting shorter that can trigger the molt and get them to stop laying and use the nutrients that were making eggs to grow feathers. As the days get longer that can trigger them to start laying. That affects different hens individually though. Some, especially the production breeds, may not wait for the days to get longer to start laying. But some will. They just have different triggers to start them laying again.

    Another trigger is how they are eating. Before they start laying again they need to build up some reserves of nutrients. If the days are fairly short they may be sleeping more than they are eating so they are not getting enough nutrients for egg production. If you increase the protein levels you can help overcome that, or extend lights to give them more time to eat after they digest what they eat. Extending the lights can also make them think the days are getting longer.

    A lot of people recommend you increase protein levels during the molt to help them get over the molt faster. Since the speed of the molt is mostly about how fast the feathers fall out feeding them extra protein isn’t going to speed that process up much. It will help a bit and the feathers will look really pretty when they grow back, so there is a little benefit there. But what is will do is enable them to build up that reserve of nutrients faster. Some individuals still have those day length or other triggers to start them laying again, but for a lot increasing the protein during the molt and just after can help get those nutrient reserves up and get them started laying again.
     
  5. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Yep, I agree with the other posters... completely individual.

    I had 4 girls molt this year, each at different times. I do not provide extra light and some are in their 2nd-3rd molt. I can't figure out if it's 2 or 3 but they are back to laying already and they are 2 Marans and a hatchery Barred Rock, It's my EE who isn't done yet but she also started later than everyone else. I'm at the CA/OR border and I do NOT provide extra light. I do provide 20-22% protein feed and oyster shell on the side. And I don't diminish nutrients with low quality treats like scratch.

    I have decided that supporting ladies through molt is more cost effective and easier than always adding chicks. Though I'm sure by a certain age for the ladies that may become null and void.

    The part that stinks the most to me is the very obvious change in demeanor as the molt. They kinda stay away for a while, probably so we won't touch the sometimes painful pin feathers. Good girls! :love

    I have had some molt early and not lay again until March in the past in southern CA, they won't stay long as that's just too long for me. :hmm
     
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  6. mountainbunny

    mountainbunny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not adding light, but I have increased their protein to help them through the molt. I'm fine with them not laying til they are naturally ready. Just curious when to expect production to start back. I just want to help them through the molt because I know it's painful for them. When I run out of the little bit of eggs I have on hand I guess we just won't be eating eggs for awhile. I can't imagine eating grocery store eggs now. Yuck. I'm still getting one egg from someone every day or two.
     
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  7. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    I have both gotten and sold local eggs on craigslist for $3-4/dozen and worth every penny even though I could by them at the market for under $2.

    They also sell local eggs from their customers at both of my local feed stores for $4/doz.

    Some people prepare by stock piling eggs ahead of molt season. We have used unwashed refrigerated eggs up to 6 months after lay date that were STILL as good as or better than store bought (which can be up to 60 days old)! :eek:

    They could even be cracked into ice cube trays and frozen. So you just remove from the ziplock and use as needed for recipes.

    Other people, including myself will try to make room for 1 or 2 new layers each year.

    I know you didn't ask any of that, I'm just sharing ways to combat the lull in eggs and avoid the hassle of going without or having to consume inferior products for future reference. ;)

    Daylight will be increasing after the 21st of December. So hopefully somebody will start picking up some slack for you soon. :fl
     
  8. CacklingRanch

    CacklingRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great advice from everyone here.

    As they have all said, it depends on many factors. From the individual bird, to the genetics, to how fast they drop their feathers, the protein levels. There are many different factors when it comes to laying hands and the reasons why they stop playing. Keep in mind it takes a full 16 hours for her to make an egg from start to finish, and if they aren’t getting that 16 hours and they are molting they’re gonna be putting their nutrients towards other reserves like creating feathers, putting on fat for the short winter days, or anything in between.
     
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  9. mountainbunny

    mountainbunny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I really don't eat that many of the eggs myself. Just like having them on hand when needed or wanted. I don't sell the extras but give them away ad thank you for favors or trade for other things. I actually got two eggs today do I think we will make it through winter and molt with enough eggs for ourselves at least.
     
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  10. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi, hope you are enjoying BYC! :frow

    What do you mean by takes 16 hours?

    My understanding is it takes the eggs longer than that to travel through the system. But if you mean hours of daylight... that isn't quite true. :confused:

    My understanding regarding that is that it's supposed to take at least 14 hours of daylight to be at good to maximum production. However, with less than 10 hours of light several of my girls are still producing well... including a couple ladies who have molted and wrapped it up.

    Like you say though, there are MANY factors. :thumbsup
     
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