Is it possible to discourage egg laying?

robinwiththechickens

Songster
8 Years
Apr 28, 2011
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Riverton, Wyoming
Sounds stupid I know, but I recently adopted an 18-month old RIR that is going through a hard molt. She's nearly bald, but has laid 3 or 4 eggs in the week that I've had her. I'd much rather she worked on growing feathers right now! She looks so pathetic, the eggs can wait! She is being allowed to free-range in the house because a.) all my chickies are spoiled, and b.) it is so cold outside most of the day. She lays her eggs in a plastic tub at the foot of my bed. As much fun as it is to have an indoor chicken, she needs to go out to the coop ASAP.

Does the fact that she is laying mean the feather loss isn't a molt? If it's not that, then what is it?

 

ChickenCanoe

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Nov 23, 2010
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If you don't see lice or mites I'm sure it's a molt and I'd let nature take it's course. Don't worry, give extra protein and I can't imagine it's that cold in Arizona that you need to worry about temps unless you're up in the mountains.
 

tec27

Songster
8 Years
May 6, 2011
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Pittsburgh
If she's laying eggs, the feather lose is no mind to her. Typically chickens will only lay eggs in "ideal" situations. When there is enough food, nutrients, water, bearable weather... So having no feathers must not get to her too much.
 

robinwiththechickens

Songster
8 Years
Apr 28, 2011
126
42
123
Riverton, Wyoming
We did notice a few lice, and dusted for them right away. I have not noticed mites, but I really don't know what I'm looking for. I haven't seen anything that looks like mite infestation in some of the pictures in other threads.

I do live in Northern Arizona at an elevation over 5,000 feet, overnight temps have been in the teens and twenties. The first night I brought them home, last Monday, I had her in a cage on the uninsulated porch and she was shivering. I know I certainly wouldn't want to sleep outside right now if I were naked!

The guy we got her from had told us that she had stopped laying, that's why he was getting rid of her.
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I just wish she would hurry up and grow her feathers back...it makes me a little sad to look at the poor naked girl.
 

stone_family3

Songster
8 Years
Apr 11, 2011
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Ohio
You could keep her in a dark place without much light, that might slow her down. She does look a little sad without all those feathers.

But hey at least you get breakfast near bed :)
 

ChickenCanoe

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10 Years
Nov 23, 2010
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Well then, I'd up the protein till she looks better. Try switching to a grower or flock raiser at about 20% or so and limit anything like scratch grains that's not high protein.
 

azygous

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11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
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It might be possible to slow down her laying by withholding layer feed and feeding just a high protein flock raiser. I've been told the ingredients in layer feed stimulate egg production.

Also, by keeping her inside exclusively, she's being deprived of the stimulant of the cold weather to encourage faster feather replacement. I would let her outside during the daytime and let her sleep inside at night. Make sure she has total darkness between sunset and sunrise.

You could also stimulate faster feather growth by feeding her tuna occasionally, and mix BOSS in her feed. I had a hen once who was stuck in molt. I got her "unstuck" by feeding her lots of high grade protein.
 

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