my chickies are on strike!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Crickett, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. Crickett

    Crickett Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My hens have been laying regularly all year. Suddenly in September, they stopped. I thought perhaps it was molting season, and didn't think much of it, but now it's the middle of October, and still nothing! How long does this last? And when can I expect eggs again?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    I would look at day length as the primary reason. I posted the following on another chicken site but rather than retype I'm copying and pasting: [​IMG]

    Once pullets commence laying, they go like gangbusters through fall, winter, spring and summer. Then, normally the second autumn and every one thereafter they will molt, which ranges from 1 to 4 months depending on weather they do a hard or soft molt. A hard molt will be obvious, a soft molt not so much.
    During molt they lay very few eggs, if any at all. It takes a lot of protein and energy to grow a new winter down coat. So, aside from the super laying one sees the first year or two of laying, production drops year after year.

    A broody hen won't lay any eggs. Because if she did, that would cause a staggered hatch and dead embryos when she abandons the eggs to take care of the chicks.
    The broody hen won't affect the others' production. They don't choose to lay eggs. If they are in production, they'll lay eggs. If a hen is in their favorite nest, they'll either choose another nest, climb in with her and lay, wait till she comes out to eat or lay somewhere other than a nest. But if in production, the egg will come. It's an ovulation cycle that can't be willed.

    Day length is a major factor in egg production. With shorter days and having older birds, production usually slacks off. Adding light will help with this.
    Recently, I had 21 pullets and hens and was down to one or two eggs a day. 7 were POL so I didn't expect much from them. 4 were broody. 2 had been attacked by predators so were stressed. Most of the rest were molting. I actually had to buy eggs for the first time in almost 5 years. Bummer.

    Molt is a normal process and providing more protein during molt can help them build feathers faster.
    Another way to help your chickens through molt is to reduce stress as much as possible. Try to avoid handling your chickens, and bringing new birds into the flock, if possible.

    I think when people begin a new flock with new birds and they lay so well for a year or so, it creates expectations the birds can't meet as they age.
    It's tough for areas where we're limited by law to 3 to 5 birds. We spend a lot of money and time to keep the flock and still have to buy eggs. It creates a situation where we either keep pets that feed us fewer and fewer breakfasts over their life or choose to cull and start with a new flock every couple years.
    A lot of breeds will produce 150 to 300 eggs or more a year for the first couple and then fewer and fewer every year thereafter.
    IMO breeds that take a break and only put out 150 to 200 a year, and we don't add light and they don't get taken by disease or predators will continue to feed us for many years but don't be disappointed when they shut down for a quarter of the year.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
  3. Crickett

    Crickett Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't think it's sunlight that's the problem, I'm in Alabama, and we still get about 11-10 hours of sunlight.
     
  4. momtocritters

    momtocritters Out Of The Brooder

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    Weird, my 4 pullets have been laying for just a few months, finally all laying an egg daily starting just last week. Today, none of them layed an egg. It was "chilly" this morning at about 49 degrees, but it got up to high 70's today and has been sunny all day. They all look and sound fine, but no eggs. What is up? I am a novice at this so any help would be welcome. Oh, I have 2 RIR's, 1 leghorn and 1Australorp. They are all approx. 27 weeks old. Any wisdom out there for me?
     
  5. Janelyn

    Janelyn Out Of The Brooder

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    One of my 7 month old Leghorns stopped laying 10 days ago. She seems to be fine, eating and interacting with the flock. I live in California and the weather has been high 80's low 50's.
    I'm new to this hobby so maybe it is normal.



    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2013
  6. momtocritters

    momtocritters Out Of The Brooder

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  7. momtocritters

    momtocritters Out Of The Brooder

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    Species, that is.
     
  8. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

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    Chickens need 14-16 hours of light to lay at their best. 10-11 hours is not enough if you want a lot of eggs.
     
  9. Crickett

    Crickett Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Heart of Dixie
    Well now we're into November, still no eggs. Not even one. My hens are two Dominic, three americauna, four red star, three black star, four rir, and a silkie. The silkie has half grown chicks, so perhaps she can be excused. But what of the rest? Should I just give up and buy eggs?
     
  10. momtocritters

    momtocritters Out Of The Brooder

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    Crickett,
    This is very strange - ALL of them stopped at the same time and still aren't laying? Are you absolutely sure you don't have a thief out there? I assume you are feeding them layer feed and oyster shell, right? It seems like there must be something environmental or else having to do with nourishment at this point. After I posted about my hens, they all started laying again - although the leghorn took a few days to get back into the swing of things, but they are all laying an egg a day again now, even though it's been rainy and cloudy several days. I wish I knew what to tell you, but I don't. Hopefully someone with more experience will chime in. I can't imagine having to go back to store bought eggs after having farm fresh. I dread next year when my hens molt or stop laying for awhile..... I hope you find an answer soon.
     

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