No Eggs and overall chicken health

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Chickety Charcoal, Dec 16, 2011.

  1. Chickety Charcoal

    Chickety Charcoal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My apologies since this question is asked often, but I haven't found enough similarities in other posts to fully cover my situation.

    I have had 4 hens, my first and only chickens, since June. They quickly adjusted to their new home and started laying regularly. Two hens are 1 year 9months old and the other two were hatched this past March. All 4 began to molt at the end of September and I haven't had a single egg since. It seems molting has slowed or stopped since there are no more feathers in the coop or run. There are no signs of anything amiss with the birds: no mites or lice on feathers or in coop, crops are healthy, eating habits normal, no respiratory distress, droppings ok, etc. I don't have any artificial lights set up or insulation in the coop. They get layer pellets everyday. The run gets little direct sunlight during winter. I let them free range on weekends and whenever I am around to keep an eye out. So they get to bask in the sun more then.

    Do I have to wait till Spring till I get another egg? [​IMG]

    How do I know when the molt is complete? There are still some scales (the bits and pieces from the feather shaft) on their backs but what other signs do I look for?

    Overall I really just want to make sure my birds are healthy and I am not missing anything.
     
  2. QualityPolish

    QualityPolish Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well here in Utah it gets pretty nippy outside so we use an artificial light which also helps production. Usually when the days become shorter they reduce laying although you could expect an egg every other day or so I would imagine. We've had chicks hatch during the dead of winter, lol. Well waiting until spring seems a little strange although may have to be. Well, as for molting wait until the feathers regrow. Usually it can take a bit of time depending on the breed. Well have you checked their behinds? Any eggs lodged? Are all your hens walking about okay? No stuck broody?
     
  3. aghiowa

    aghiowa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It can be months after a molt until you'll see an egg again...I had an Ameraucana start a molt at the very beginning of August and didn't lay again until Nov 4th. It was a loong wait, but she's fine again and is laying great.

    Good luck!
    Angela
     
  4. Chickety Charcoal

    Chickety Charcoal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 11, 2011
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    Vents/behinds fine and clear, no funny walking or behavior, no broodys. Everything seems as normal as it has been except no eggs since the end of September....from any of the 4.

    I have no choice but to wait until Spring at this point as I have no plans to change anything in the flock, culling or otherwise. I just thought it was a bit strange. What could I be doing wrong?
     
  5. aghiowa

    aghiowa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Even when their molting looks like it's over, it can still be a long wait till they lay again. Try feeding them some extra protein.

    Angela
     
  6. justineflake

    justineflake New Egg

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    Nov 17, 2011
    Confusing to me
     
  7. Marcymom3

    Marcymom3 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Somewhere on here I read that pullets don't have a big molt in their first year, and normally lay through the winter. The older girls would be the ones you'd expect to molt. In any case, as an earlier post said, adding some artificial light will help. The books all say 14 hours total is what they need, but I bet 12 would do it. We have a light on a timer in our coop that comes on at 3:30 a.m. We got them in May as chicks and they all started laying as the days were getting shorter. I have to admit I was getting a little impatient and that's why we put the light on. Anyway it worked. We usually get 7-8 eggs a day from the eight of them.

    Also, I have read on here that it helps to add extra protein to their diet when they're molting. People have said they give cat food, but that doesn't seem like a good idea to me. How about some yogurt, scrambled egg, tuna, BOSS?

    Good luck and keep us posted.
     
  8. sonew123

    sonew123 Poultry Snuggie

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    The extra protein isn't a bad idea but don't over do it. When they molt their bodies use any and all protein in their systems to create new feathers-hence no egg production. Now that it's cold out they are using every ounce of added protein to keep themselves warm- protein=burning energy for warm and not touching fat reserves. Cat food isn't horrible as a small treat as its high in protein but as bad as it sounds scrambeled eggs are great for added protein and BOSS. Not as replacement feed as a small treat daily. The light situation is not helping you either. I deal with the same situation every year. They get artificial lights and they lay better in Winter than Summer!
     
  9. Chickety Charcoal

    Chickety Charcoal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 11, 2011
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    I'll try upping their protein. I do give occasional yogurt treats mixed w/ ACV, but I can do that more often. Do you use wild bird seed grade BOSS or something better?

    I am not sure I can get a light in the coop anytime soon. What kind of lights do you use? Regular incandescent bulbs, or something with more heat output for double duty? What type of wattage?
     
  10. Marcymom3

    Marcymom3 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Regular wild bird BOSS from Walmart is what I have on hand right now. It isn't very expensive. If you have a Southern States near you, they actually have the best price on a 50 lb bag.

    My coop has one of those worklights that has a hanger. We put the hanger on a hook in the ceiling and then used a bike hook to hold up the handle. Hubs used big carpentry staples to fasten the cord to the studs and drilled a hole out of the coop so I could attach it to an extension cord. I have a 40 watt incandescent bulb on a timer set to come on at 3:30 a.m. and go off at 7:00 a.m. It also turns on at about 4:30 pm and goes off at 5:00 p.m. I turned off the afternoon half hour but noticed that they like to go in a little earlier when the light is on. [​IMG] it helps that I sprinkle some scratch in there too.

    Good luck!
     

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