No Eggs from an americanas for 2 months - Normal???

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by JoshFig, Dec 11, 2015.

  1. JoshFig

    JoshFig Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know there are a lot of threads on molting - but I wanted to throw this out as it specifically addresses post-molt impact on egg laying.

    I have an americanas (easter egger) that is from the spring of 2014 (1.5 yrs old). She had a very long molt, starting in August and looks to be wrapping up now (tail feathers are back) - so a 4 month molt. Additional info: I have a mixed flock of 9 birds (including a Roo) - and all the others are laying.

    Issue: She hasn't laid a single egg in the last 2 months. She laid fairly well (4-5 eggs a week) for the first two months of her molt and then stopped around mid-October. I've read on other posts that EE's tend to be more flakey than other breeds and impacted quite a bit from the shorter days.

    Question: Is there something seriously wrong with a chicken if it doesn't lay for 2 months? or - is that not unexpected from a flakey breed like an EE when you have molting combined with the shorter days of winter? I'm starting to wonder if she is just done - but for a 1.5 year old bird - that should not be the case.

    I'd love any opinions from more experienced folks on this one.

    Thanks.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    I don't think it is the breed. My 6+ year old EE is one of my best layers from January thru September.

    This is totally normal. It is the time of year. By the end of the month, days will start getting longer.

    They're not egg machines, they're birds that feed you breakfast. During this rest period, the oviduct goes through some much needed refurbishing.

    Aside from nutrition and stress, day length in relation to dark period is the primary factor affecting this.

    It seems like I posted the following at least 10 times this autumn.

    To take the mystery out of it, here's a brief rundown of the science behind day/night length and the impetus for ovulation.

    Light exposure to the retina is first relayed to the nucleus of the hypothalamus, an area of the brain that coordinates biological clock signals. Fibers from there descend to the spinal cord and then project to the superior cervical ganglia, from which neurons ascend back to the pineal gland. The pineal gland translates signals from the nervous system into a hormonal signal.

    The gland produces serotonin and subsequently, melatonin. That's the hormone that affects the gonads for sperm production and ovulation in females. An increase in melatonin causes the gonads to become inactive. As photoperiod in relation to day vs. night is the most important clue for animals to determine season. As light lengthens, the gonads are rejuvenated. The duration of melatonin secretion each day is directly proportional to the length of the night because of the pineal gland's ability to measure daylength. Besides reproduction, it also affects sleep timing and blood pressure regulation.
     
  3. JoshFig

    JoshFig Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Very thorough answer. Thank you for the detail. It sounds like its normal for some chickens to just stop laying for a couple of months in the winter (and potentially healthy for the bird). It was a bit puzzling to me as it only happened to one of mine - but it does make sense. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2015
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    By the second autumn, they'll all take a break every year around Oct-Jan.
     
  5. Peeps61

    Peeps61 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, and it can get quite messy with all the molted feathers too! [​IMG]
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    Looks just like someone had a pillow fight in there.
     
  7. Peeps61

    Peeps61 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So true! I can rake the feathers out of the coop and run, but the ones on the ground outside of those areas get blown into the pasture by the wind. It looks like chicken feather snow out there sometimes.
     

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