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moulting and winter egg laying (or not laying) sorry, repost!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bmerb, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. bmerb

    bmerb In the Brooder

    Apr 21, 2009
    Fall Creek
    We have 18 hens and a very satisfied roo. All our chickens were hatched in the last week of Feb and the first week of March this year, and by the end of the summer we were getting between 15 and 18 eggs every day. We noticed a pretty sharp decline by the middle of October, and our two SS hens began moulting pretty heavily. Now those two are fluffy and gorgeous, but not laying, and most of our other hens are moulting too. [​IMG] We are getting about 3-5 eggs per day, and we don't use supplemental light sources. Is this about normal for young hens? I've noticed that our white leghorn doesn't appear to be moulting at all, and she is still laying daily. Our two BR hens and one of the EEs plus one other, possibly a RIR/production red are all still laying regularly but moulting slowly. Our GLWs, Light Brahmas, RIRs and all but the one EE have completely stopped laying. Of those, all but the LBs look pretty ragged. Will they pick up laying again after moulting, or should we not expect lots of eggs until spring?[​IMG] BTW, our hens are all getting free feed organic layer mix plus our food scraps plus free-ranging over about 10 acres, so they aren't cooped into a small dark space, and they definitely aren't laying anywhere but in the nest boxes... Thanks!

    Busy with our 3 horses, 1 donkey, 2 goats, 2 dogs, 3 cats, and 19 chickens: 3 GLW, 2 LB, 2 BR, 2 SS, 3 RIR (production red), 6 EEs and 1 white leghorn!
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2009

  2. chookchick

    chookchick Songster

    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    Well Misery loves company I guess....
    My six hens have completely forgotten what eggs are. The nestbox is full of nice fluffy hay that has not once been "arranged". There is no bokbokbegok around here at all. The oyster shell is untouched....I can understand the older ones taking a break, but the others only laid for about a couple of months! I think the molting is about over--so here is my plan. After the winter solstice, I am going to start adding light, a little extra every night, until I see some egg action. Kind of like jump-starting spring. I figure a slow ramp-up might be easier on their systems. BTW my Speckled Sussex is just huge! and kind of a pig, but not at all a good layer...Your hens sound like they have a pretty good life. I can't think of what else you could do short of adding light to spur egg production.
  3. gsim

    gsim Songster

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    Some on this forum have added Calf-Manna to the diet of their flock to jump-start egg production after moult. I have a flock of 24 heavy layers, 4 breeds. They are BA, RIR, BR, and Buff Comet. Those are noted for egg production even in wintertime and are not show chickens.

    Mine are 6 mo old and molted in Sept. They started laying in Oct at 4 months age and have not stopped. They lay around 12-16 a day and seem to be a happy well-adjusted lot. With all of the care you are giving them I cannot see what is wrong. I am a rookie at poultry and am surprised at how many posts I see where people report molting in cold weather. It just doesn't seem like it should be that way. Seems they would molt in hot weather and re-feather in Fall before resuming egg-laying. Seems it would be a natural protection built in for them to hold eggs back while feathers re-grow for the cooler days ahead. Especially so since both eggs and feathers require more protein. [​IMG]

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