ChickenElla12

Hatching
Nov 27, 2020
3
1
1
We raise backyard chickens in Iowa and have 4 Barred Rocks that are 4-5 years old and 3 Cinnamon Queens that are 2 years old. They molted starting in September and are done now but we are very low on egg production still. We get maybe one egg every other day from one of the Cinnamon Queens. We feed them lots of kitchen scraps + feed and seeds. We turn a light on over their coop for the early evening and it's on a timer so they do get night time. We are very confused as to why production is down. Normally we get at least 5 eggs a day. We know the Barred Rocks are getting old and one of my chicken books mentions menopause but that still doesn't explain why my younger Queens are not laying. Any ideas?
 

Hei 20

Crowing
Oct 8, 2020
1,883
10,055
343
We raise backyard chickens in Iowa and have 4 Barred Rocks that are 4-5 years old and 3 Cinnamon Queens that are 2 years old. They molted starting in September and are done now but we are very low on egg production still. We get maybe one egg every other day from one of the Cinnamon Queens. We feed them lots of kitchen scraps + feed and seeds. We turn a light on over their coop for the early evening and it's on a timer so they do get night time. We are very confused as to why production is down. Normally we get at least 5 eggs a day. We know the Barred Rocks are getting old and one of my chicken books mentions menopause but that still doesn't explain why my younger Queens are not laying. Any ideas?
 

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ChickenElla12

Hatching
Nov 27, 2020
3
1
1
We feed them pellet layer feed, oysters shells on occasion, and before we fed them crumble pellet feed. We switched just to see if it would make a difference.
 

SulkyBantam

Flock Consultant
Nov 3, 2020
2,305
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283
Ireland
My Coop
Let them have access to oyster shell.
Well, the olders are not laying because hey will slow down now, but not sure about the others. Has anything changed for them? Are they free range?
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
90,402
112,691
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SW Michigan
My Coop
We feed them pellet layer feed, oysters shells on occasion, and before we fed them crumble pellet feed. We switched just to see if it would make a difference.
Layer feed doesn't make them lay.

They molted starting in September and are done now but we are very low on egg production still.
It's all about the day length.
They won't start laying again until the days get longer....or you add supplemental lighting.
 

ChickenElla12

Hatching
Nov 27, 2020
3
1
1
Let them have access to oyster shell.
Well, the olders are not laying because hey will slow down now, but not sure about the others. Has anything changed for them? Are they free range?
We will add in more oyster shell to their feed. They are free range and we've checked all over the yard for places they may be laying but have not found any eggs in the yard.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
90,402
112,691
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
We will add in more oyster shell to their feed. They are free range and we've checked all over the yard for places they may be laying but have not found any eggs in the yard.
Do not add it to the feed, put it in a separate feeder for if they need it.

Do they look and feel like they are laying....red combs wide pelvic bones??
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/who-is-laying-and-who-is-not-butt-check.73309/
If after this exam they show the signs of active laying, then......
Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop/run for a week or so can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop and maybe run 24/7 for a few days to a week, provided you have adequate space and ventilation, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.
 

humblehillsfarm

Crowing
Mar 27, 2020
2,491
4,582
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Southwestern Pennsylvania
Have you raised these chickens from chicks? If so, I'm surprised you haven't experienced this before? Where are located? With less than 12-14 hours of daylight, mature hens usually stop laying entirely, or almost entirely, after molting. I've never had chickens lay after molting in the fall. I'm in gardening zone 6b in Pennsylvania, and get about 10 hours of daylight in the winter. The only time I've had chickens lay in the winter is if I had spring pullets start laying, or a broody hen that raised a fall bunch of chicks (broody hens usually molt after raising chicks). All the advice you've been given is accurate, so just to reiterate: provide free-choice oyster shells and don't mix it in the feed. A lot of BYC folks stop giving layer feed to their flock in the winter to prevent the non-layers from consuming too much calcium and give them a little protein boost by providing grower feed, feather fixer, or all-flock feed, but still provide free-choice calcium.
 
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