Is it normal for her NOT to lay?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by totallycity, Dec 19, 2008.

  1. totallycity

    totallycity Out Of The Brooder

    May 7, 2008
    Ok, so it's winter (in TN), some days are still 58 (with rain) and other days have gotten as low as 26.

    I have a Pearl White Leghorn that has been a really faithful layer (I know because she is my ONLY white egg girl)
    Was born Easter last year and started laying a month before any of the other girls.

    Anyway, I haven't had an egg from her in a really long time.
    I heard that chickens stop laying in winter, but with 9 girls I am still gettting 3-4 eggs a day from some of them.

    Another thought is that I have just started free ranging them during the day, but all girls are good to go back into house & still lay during day (they go back to eat & get water)

    She is walking, eating well, my daughter did think that she was sitting on the ground like she was trying to lay, but I think that she was resting & maybe cold.

    She does look a lot more skinny than usual and she hasn't been to the boxes to try to lay that I know of.

    She has signs of loosing feathers, but quills are still there, so I think that she is moulting too. (I assume this is normal, and have heard that they don't lay during moulting?)

    Any thoughts?
    i read something on here about being egg bound? but REALLY didn't want to "go fishing" unless I know for sure that's what I need to do.

    Last hint, I did find a "macro" egg in the nest yesterday about the size of a thimble.

    Thanks for any advice
  2. PeeperKeeper

    PeeperKeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

    It seems like an untimely season to moult, but not impossible. Have you checked her vent area for lice/mites? these little critters will suck the life out of a hen and cause decreased egg output. They will also cause feather loss. If none of those are the problem, then I'd guess a moult period. Moulting also takes a lot out of a bird and they should get some extra protein for regrowing feathers. Any stress that decreases a hen's protein levels will decrease egg output.
  3. wegotchickens

    wegotchickens DownSouth D'Uccles & Silkies

    Jul 5, 2007
    Sevier County, TN
    totally city, I am in TN, too. And I have 2 hens molting for sure, another maybe, and one that just finished molting and is looking really good. I am getting no eggs from ANY of them.

    One hen is molting especially hard and looks really pitiful. She is also less hefty than she used to be. This is their 2nd winter, first molt. So I am trying to be patient, but have also upped their protein with table scraps, canned cat food, and sunflower seeds.
  4. totallycity

    totallycity Out Of The Brooder

    May 7, 2008
    Quote:If I looked @ the vent area, would these little mites or lice be big enough to see?

    It started on her head (she looks bald) the quills are there, but the soft feathers are gone and when you brush her her feathers come out in small handfuls, feathers flying.

    How do I increase her protein? What foods would I give her?
  5. PeeperKeeper

    PeeperKeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well the mites most often are tiny white critters and, yes, they can be seen easily. We had a turkey once that had them and his feathers just fell out all over. As far as protein. Buy a bag of Calf Mana. It's a little pricey but you use a very small amount per day. Or sunflower seeds, peanut butter, scrambled eggs, cooked fish, meats. Just like for humans. Mine love riccotta and cottage cheese. No milk with whey as they are lactose intolerant.
  6. totallycity

    totallycity Out Of The Brooder

    May 7, 2008
    We got an egg from her this morning!! (it's 58 degrees here) maybe the warm weather is helping.
    I guess just posting helped, maybe she heard I was talking about her and felt loved. Whew! @ least this means that she isn't bound.
    The egg was funny shaped, and it's the first one in almost a month, but it's an egg.
  7. ewesfullchicks

    ewesfullchicks Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 27, 2007
    Yes - once daylight hours start to reduce over the winter - it is completely natural for hens to stop laying. It takes a lot out of a hen to lay, so winter is a time to rest, and renew.

    Many people add lights to their hens during the winter in order to increase their laying over winter. I have not.

    Out of approx. 300 hybrid layers, I'm getting approx. 42 - 45 eggs per day, but they range in age from 2 years old to a little more than 4 years old. These sex-link hens have brittle feathers, and tend to look really ratty when laying well. Yes - they're looking plump and sleek!

    My "heritage breed/dual-purpose flock" consisting of mostly Barred Rock, with some Ameracauanas, Marans, Welsummers, Buff Orpingtons, are laying about 18 per day, out of approx. 40-45 birds. HOWEVER, these range from 10 months to 18 months old. Therefore, because they're much younger birds, it's not a true comparison.

    It really sounds like your really good layer is at the end of her laying cycle, and is moulting. The "micro" egg is sometimes just a little bit of reproductive tissue being accidently released, and enclosed in a shell membrane.

    Just feed her, and the rest of your flock a good quality feed with as much protein as you can afford. This will allow them to grow new feathers, and come back into lay with slightly bigger eggs (though maybe fewer) once the day length is MUCH longer than now!

    It sounds like it's just part of nature's cycle for your girls. It makes us appreciate our girls' "efforts" that much more in the spring. Besides - they're really NOT "machines".

    Happy Holidays - for you AND your hens.

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