Late February, the hens aint laying....

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by sarahroberts, Feb 23, 2017.

  1. sarahroberts

    sarahroberts Just Hatched

    Feb 23, 2017
    Strangely I've noticed my hens have stopped laying their eggs. I live in upstate ny and always have a warming light on them to keep them comfortable when the weather becomes brutal. This is my first year keeping chickens and all has been well until this past week. I feed them layer crumble the same brand. For water they get a huge thing in the morning full but I go out later in the evening and pull it out of their coop because it will freeze over night I've done this since the nights became below freezing (octoberish) and they seem okay with it. If the weather is cold i will keep them in the coop with the door shut, other wise I'll open it for a few hours or for the day so they can get some fresh air or go out. Up until now I haven't had a problem they were laying as much as in the summer time. I clean the coop as best as I can however its hard because their poop tends to freeze to the floor being as it's not properly insulated. I did think they were eating their eggs at one point just because I will leave a few in there for them knowing they will get extra nutrients out of it. Slowly I realized they just weren't laying. Their temperament have been the same although I do have two roosters in there (thanks to me picking unsexed chicks at the store) but my hens never are bothered by them. I read how winter can change a chicken's laying habit but it's now late February and the sun is staying up longer so I'm confused as to why they are behaving like this...Thoughts? Comments??
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs I Wanna Be A Cowboy Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    What breed and how old are they? It's quite normal for hens to stop and start throughout the season. The biggest production months are usually March through June so perhaps they have taken a small break to build up their reserves.
  3. sarahroberts

    sarahroberts Just Hatched

    Feb 23, 2017
    They are about a year now, I got them last spring. I've never had chickens before and wanted to try it. I have the rhode island red kind i believe and then I bought bantams 3, which two ended up to be roosters and my tiny white hen Miss bennit lays eggs abnormally. I bought them all at tractor supply spur of the moment, since I have a hunting dog I didn't think I would still have my whole flock at this time (sad but true). I hope they are taking a break because I can't think of anything that would be wrong.
  4. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer Premium Member

    May 11, 2010
    It's normal for chickens to decrease egg production in the winter. As always make sure their diet is complete and add some greens to their diet. Kale, spinach and so forth are greatly appreciated during the winter months. I've fed my chickens sprouted wild bird seed in the winter months but they don't have the weather you have to contend with. I suspect when the days get longer and the weather is warmer your chickens will start to lay again.
  5. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2014
    Firstly, birds will usually lay through their first winter pretty steadily. Don't expect the same results next year though.

    Secondly, I'm wondering if it has warmed up and your "warming light" is now making it too hot. That can cause stress and stress can put off laying.

    Thirdly, do you have snow now? Are the birds spending more time inside. In Massachusetts we finally got some substantial snow. You say in bad weather that you keep them in the coop. Tight quarters causes stress and can put off egg laying too.
    1 person likes this.
  6. sarahroberts

    sarahroberts Just Hatched

    Feb 23, 2017
    We still have snow. When I kept the coop closed it was when it was below 20 outside with brittle winds. I live in the Adirondacks in zone 6 surrounded by lakes, so our weather can become spiratic snowing everyday. The coop is a good size so I wasn't worried about them not having enough room in there but I did make sure they would have the door open from time to time because I didn't want them to go stir crazy. I'm almost thinking that they are too hot just because the weather has hit a record high of being in the 60's this week, but I've been leaving their door open until later at night because it's so nice out. I'm wondering if the weather has shocked them into not laying...
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    You kept the coop closed if it got down into the 20's? Here, that's a winter heat wave. My pop door has been opened all winter (during the day time) unless we're having a blizzard. The girls come out into their "sun room" on all but the absolute worst days (below 0*F, and very windy.) It's amazing what a bit of plastic can do to provide a sheltered outdoor run space. Windows also opened a bit all winter, not even closed during heavy snow. Had to scoop a bit of snow out of a nest box after the last blizzard.
  8. Paganrose

    Paganrose Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2010
    Albany,, Wisconsin
    It might just be that they are going through a molt, or taking a break before ramping up the egg production. We don't supplement heat or light, so even our under one hens lay less in the winter. I do have 2 -year old hens that decided to molt at the moment.
  9. Glenda Heywoodo

    Glenda Heywoodo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 19, 2016
    Cassville Missouri
    WELL WE LIVE here in Cassville Missori
    next to the Ozark mountains, and our weather is in 70's and 80s most days
    My daughter has 10 hens.They were hatched in april last year.
    The severe cold weathe came in December.
    The hens were late into fall molting.
    My daughter ran heat and a light and
    then the hen completed their molt.
    And now are laying full blast.

    Consider that they may just need summer.
    Are you feeding 16 laying mash?
    Have you added a lot of just corn for feed?
    This only gives 9% protein and adds fat to their body and will stop laying.
    Why when it is cold do you open the door?
    Also if you provide a light, that is enough light for them to see to eat more.
    So try and gather the eggs in the coop as the ones left will freeze.
    You do not need hens eating their eggs.
    that is a bad habit to break them of.
    Now that March is here maybe they will begin to lay again.

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