No eggs for three weeks

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ChickenLizard, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. ChickenLizard

    ChickenLizard New Egg

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    Nov 21, 2012
    Hello forum,

    I'm pretty new to the chicken hobby - this is my first post. I have a flock of seven hens - a mix of Wyandottes, Partridge Rocks, a New Hampshire Red and a Jersey Giant. They all hatched in April 2011 and began laying last fall. They slowed down laying last winter (but still gave a few eggs/day) and gave 4-5 eggs most days over the spring and summer 2012. This fall, production started dropping to 1-2 eggs/day, then one every other day, then stopped completely about three weeks ago. I had to buy my first supermarket eggs today - what a letdown.

    Is this pretty typical for a second winter? I'm providing about 4 hours of supplemental light with an incandescent bulb and I'm in New Jersey, so it hasn't been very cold yet. Some of the girls are molting now but most are in full feather. I had 1-2 hens in various stages of molt throughout the summer, so it isn't like they all switched from eggs to feathers at the same time.

    They seem pretty healthy and happy (though I don't have much of a frame of reference) - just no eggs.

    If this is a typical slow down, any idea when they might start up again? Or ways to stimulate production? Finally, do some of you have experience with these breeds that could give me an idea how many years they may produce? I'm thinking of adding some chicks to the flock in the spring so I don't end up with a flock of non-laying, geriatric pets!

    Thanks for any advice you can provide,

    Matt
     
  2. Smoochie

    Smoochie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Moulting hens may not lay again until spring and yeah hens can be "spent" after the age of two depending on breed and genetics. Most of your hens are good laying breeds (approx 150-200 eggs per year) but not as good as say a white leghorn (300+ yearly). The hens need around 15 hours of light per day to make them think the season is good for reproductivity.
     
  3. ChickenLizard

    ChickenLizard New Egg

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    Nov 21, 2012
    Thanks Smoochie. So if they won't lay again until spring should I even bother with the artificial light?

    These hens are 19 months old now. Would you consider them age two already (since they've had two summers) or not until their second birthday next April?

    Do you have an idea of how long these breeds will continue to lay? I read somewhere that hens have about 1000 eggs in them. They can either lay often and end early or spread those same eggs out over a longer period (presuming, of course, they stay healthy and don't get killed). I haven't had close to 7000 eggs yet, so I'm hoping they've still got a lot left! I don't mind if they are slower - I just don't want them to be done yet.
     
  4. Smoochie

    Smoochie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No definitely use the artificial light for the molting hens as it will help them think the season is right for reproduction. It might take a few weeks but it should help. Those breeds should go strong for several years..
     
  5. Sally Sunshine

    Sally Sunshine Cattywampus Angel <straightens Halo> Premium Member

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    X2 great advice, and hello from PA!
     

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