No eggs for months! Why oh why?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hensandchickscolorado, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. hensandchickscolorado

    hensandchickscolorado Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 14, 2011
    Englewood Colorado
    I just purchased my second carton of store bought eggs and I am very sad! Have my chicks stopped laying forever?

    Here are the details; maybe someone can tell me if there is hope!

    • All three hens are 22 months old.

    • All laid beautifully throughout the entire winter last year (2-3 eggs per day in total) and through this summer

    • The welsummer stopped laying in late September. She did have her first molt then, but never laid again afterwards
    • The easter egger stopped laying in October. Same with the molt.
    • The plymouth barred rock went down to 1 egg every three or four days around daylight savings, and has stopped entirely as of Christmas.

    • We use artificial light from about 4 am to 8 am; same as I did last winter.

    I don't know what to think--is it possible they have stopped laying? Do I really need to retire three chickens already, or is there something I can do to encourage them??

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    It's totally normal and they'll start back up as the days get longer.

    Hens usually lay through their first winter. At around 18 months, they slow production and molt. Most just take the winter off from there. Supplementing light can help them lay again, but it doesn't force them to lay. It's a natural thing to give their bodies a break from the stress of high production. Every year here on they'll molt in the fall and probably stop for the winter. It's why a lot of folks age out their 18 month old birds. You need to decide if you want to carry nonproducing birds over the winter or buy chicks each spring to replace the birds that will cease laying in the fall.

    I've noticed my old hens starting to pick up production--I have over 20 hens and was getting 2-3 eggs a day! I'm now up to 6-8. slowly but surely.
     
  3. hensandchickscolorado

    hensandchickscolorado Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 14, 2011
    Englewood Colorado
    Thank you, that is great information and makes me feel better! I'm happy to keep them--they are like pets to us. We may add a few to the mix this spring to maintain getting eggs. Should I turn the light out and let them rest for the next month?! I sort of feel badly now that I've been waking them at 4 am every morning!
     
  4. christybmom9802

    christybmom9802 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 23, 2012
    Chesterton, Indiana
    I've read that you have to taper down with the artificial light...you can't just turn it off. If that helps?!
     

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