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How long is average molt? NO eggs from my 2 yr old hens for 6 weeks.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hyzenthlay, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. hyzenthlay

    hyzenthlay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 26, 2009
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    The title almost says it all. My three hens are 2.5 years old (hatched spring '09), and the SLW and Faverolle slowed a lot around August, but the EE kept laying decently well until mid-September, when all three hens started visibly losing feathers. Since mid-September, I have gotten exactly 0 eggs. Their feathers have filled in again and they mostly look back to normal now, so I think they are about done with their molt--but still, no eggs. I've read a lot of threads on here, but haven't seen anyone say what a normal/average amount of time is to go without laying any eggs. I'm in withdrawal, and I just want to know when I can expect eggs again!

    They had their first molt last fall, and I can't remember when they started, but I think it was well after Thanksgiving before I saw any eggs again. I was hoping that maybe their second molt wouldn't last so long. Any ideas? I have never added light for them, except I do have a red heat lamp in their coop that I turn on whenever daytime temps get around freezing, and then I leave it on 24 hours--I read here that red lamps don't have the same effect on laying rate as white, which is fine with me--I don't want them to be machines, I just want them to be comfortable, but I'd love it if they could toss me an egg once in awhile over the fall/winter. I also didn't change their diet last year (although I do give BOSS for treats), but maybe adding more protein now would help? Could I just add some chick starter to their regular food?

    Thanks!
     
  2. 2overeasy000

    2overeasy000 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow. This sounds very familiar. My EEs kept laying for about a month longer too. Luckily I have one Leghorn, so I have been getting one or zero eggs a day. But, I finally just got an egg from a RSL this morning. So, I am hoping they are ready to restart laying.
     
  3. hyzenthlay

    hyzenthlay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hope that means your luck is turning around, then! I (quickly) read through all 36 pages of that "why no eggs" sticky, and I didn't see anyone say how long a normal egg strike due to molt lasts. On some other threads I saw maybe 4-6 weeks listed as the time for the molting to be completed, but I guess that doesn't necessarily mean that egg production will restart at that point? I just want to know if I should settle in for a wait, or keep going out to the coop hopeful everyday and coming away disappointed. [​IMG]
     
  4. 2overeasy000

    2overeasy000 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like we are on roughly the same time frame. And one of mine started this morning so hopefully your luck will change any day now. I did notice that some have started to "squat" again over the last couple of days instead of looking miserable. So, are the squatting for you again?
     
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Well...I think your issue (or your hens' issues) is multifaceted. Your birds are of the age where egg laying begins falling off anyhow. Plus as birds age, they take longer to recover from molts and such.
    Also, in the 6 weeks or so it took your birds to molt, the days have shortened to less than 12 hours, and it typically takes 14 hours or so for eggs to develop.
    You can try a light on a timer, set to come on around 4 a.m. and go off around 8 a.m. And you can try bumping up protein levels. Most layer feed has 16% protein, so try game bird feed, or possibly flock raiser. Meat scraps, spinach, fish are all good scraps to boost protein.
    My 4 big girls are just over 2 years of age, and one of them is molting. Due to their ages and the shortened days, I'm getting one egg a day from them. Thankfully I have a few spring bantams, so my little eggs are still coming right now.
     
  6. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    My Coop
    Quote:I agree. My older girls were 3 and 4 yrs old and barely laying so they were processed. Now I have some 2 yr olds who as of late have slowed down a bit but some are molting. The first 1 to 2 years depending on the breeds are their best years for laying. After they reach 2 yrs their egg laying can start slowing down and also the daylight does affect their laying too. I keep night lights in my coops. My Isa Browns are off a little bit but some are molting. My Rhode Island Whites are still laying good. My Rhode Island Reds have slowed down. I started giving my birds a 22% protein feed plus they get scraps and free range time.
     
  7. roxysly

    roxysly Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 20, 2011
    Silverton, Oregon
    Hello,

    This my first rodeo (time) raising chickens. I was with them often and fed and cared for them the first month in warm laundry room. I purchased my chicks, around March 7th and in the second week of July, I started getting approximately nine eggs a day, sometimes up to 11. I think this would categorize them as excellent layers, considering I could have 1 or 2 roosters.

    First questions are:

    How early do they generally start laying?

    When can you officially call them hens, or how long are they considered pullets?

    They will be nearly 8 months old, when will I be certain I have a rooster?
    (they are not setting themselves apart by making noises that are any different from the others)

    Although, I have noticed a red dot in some of the yolks eggs from time to time. Would that be a solid clue? Wouldn't that indicate they have been fertilized?

    For the first time one of my Plym rcks... appears to have lost all of her neck feathers as well as patches elsewhere. Is this the molting I'm hearing about?

    I have noticed I'm only collecting around 6 eggs now. Should I expect around 6 weeks of molting and a drop in egg production?

    They also seem to be getting rough on each other. In the mornings I am greeted Hens, with messed up combs, sometimes with crusted blood.

    I've used bag balm my chickens combs, it seems to help them heal quickly, Is that product ok to use on my chickens?


    Thanks for any help on these questions

    Roxysly
     
  8. chickchicks

    chickchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    my two bo went broody
    i let them raise somebabies and then they go and moult onme

    so far 0 eggs in about 15 + weeks ![​IMG]
    I WANT EGGS [​IMG]
     
  9. lynn1961

    lynn1961 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 14, 2011
    south central Oklahoma
    Quote:How early do they generally start laying?
    Some lay as early as 5 months, some as late as 8 months or longer, depends on the breed.

    When can you officially call them hens, or how long are they considered pullets?
    Up to a year old they are pullets, after a year they are hens.

    They will be nearly 8 months old, when will I be certain I have a rooster?
    (they are not setting themselves apart by making noises that are any different from the others)
    You should be able to tell the girls from the boys by now, lucky you if you got all girls !

    Although, I have noticed a red dot in some of the yolks eggs from time to time. Would that be a solid clue? Wouldn't that indicate they have been fertilized?
    If they have been fertalized you should see a bulls eye dot. Whitish area with a lighter whie area around it, like a bulls eye.

    For the first time one of my Plym rcks... appears to have lost all of her neck feathers as well as patches elsewhere. Is this the molting I'm hearing about?
    Chickens do not usualy molt their first year of life.

    I have noticed I'm only collecting around 6 eggs now. Should I expect around 6 weeks of molting and a drop in egg production?
    Egg production does drop off durning molt by a considerable amount. Mine have been in the molting process for almost two months, thak goodness for the staggered ages, or I would not be getting hardley any eggs at all

    They also seem to be getting rough on each other. In the mornings I am greeted Hens, with messed up combs, sometimes with crusted blood.
    Sounds as if they are still working out their pecking order, or if you have roosters they are fighting for dominance of the flock. The male version of pecking order.

    I've used bag balm my chickens combs, it seems to help them heal quickly, Is that product ok to use on my chickens?

    Or you could use an antibiotic ointment, but the bag balm should be ok.
     
  10. hyzenthlay

    hyzenthlay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    2overeasy000, I haven't gotten any eggs or noticed any squatting yet, but I'm glad to hear yours are maybe starting back up, and I'll keep my fingers crossed!

    teach1rusl and cmom, thanks so much for the information. I was thinking that the shorter days also played a role, but I really was hoping the ladies' age didn't have too much to do with 0 egg issue. They're pets and will have a retirement home regardless, but I read on here one time that hens' production goes down about 20% per year after their peak year, and at their peak I usually got 2 or 3 eggs a day from 3 hens, and then for most of 2011 I was still getting about a dozen a week, so I was hoping next year might still be ok, maybe 9 eggs a week? That's a little skimpy for our family, but we can get by on that, and then I was thinking to get 2 new chicks in the spring of 2013 to supplement the older girls. Maybe I'll have to do that this spring, instead....

    But in the meantime, I will switch their feed--they've been on pellets since they started molting (accidental purchase at the feed store, since I always got them crumbles before), and they don't seem to eat nearly as much of the pellets. I got some feedback here that it was the same basic stuff and their pellets were probably just lasting longer because they were more efficient, but I don't know--maybe they're not eating enough. So I'll go out this weekend and get their favorite crumbles, and some game bird feed or flock raiser (that's the same as chick starter, yes?) to mix with it. Maybe I'll try to pick up a light, too, although I have mixed feelings about that--I've seen some on here say that it can be bad for their health, and others say it's fine, so I'm not sure what to think, but from a practical standpoint I already have the power cord running out to the coop for their heat lamp, so it would be easy enough to try.
     

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