No more eggs?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by eggsforthewin, Dec 31, 2014.

  1. eggsforthewin

    eggsforthewin Out Of The Brooder

    21
    4
    26
    Dec 27, 2012
    Our hens are less than two years old, yet all four have stopped laying. The easter egger stopped about 6 months ago, the New Hampshire Red stopped 3 months ago (when she molted), and the barred rock stopped one month ago. Finally, the last hen, a pearl leghorn, stopped last week. It appears she is molting (in the winter!!??!). They are consistently fed layer feed and some cracked corn weekly, but they are not overweight. They range all day about 3 times a week. Could it be that they do not range enough? We have the original garden coop design, and we've managed to get 3-4 eggs a day with no ranging.

    All advice is greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!
     
  2. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

    28,340
    4,224
    516
    Apr 23, 2014
    At our lodge
    My Coop
    [​IMG]
    How old are they? This time of year, it is normal for hens to slow down or stop laying eggs, especially if they are molting! Make sure they have lots of protein in their diet. They also require 12-16 hours of light a day so the decreasing daylight hours also can contribute to the halt in eggs.
     
  3. Jobot

    Jobot Out Of The Brooder

    49
    2
    26
    Feb 8, 2014
    Utah
    First off, i know you said they weren't overweight, but could they possibly be underweight? Is something bothering them, like lice or external parasites, or even internal parasites? If they are sick or uncomfortable, they won't lay.

    If it isn't a health issue, then it could be the season. I don't know where you're located, but if it's winter there, that may have something to do with it. Shorter days, being cold and uncomfortable generally cut into their laying.

    If it isn't the season, it could just be that they just decided they don't want to lay in the nest box anymore. It could also be that since they have the opportunity to free range, they could be laying in weird places around your yard. That would be my other bet. I might go on an easter egg hunt and see where they're all laying.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. eggsforthewin

    eggsforthewin Out Of The Brooder

    21
    4
    26
    Dec 27, 2012
    They are 1 1/2 years old. We live in NJ, and our winter has been strangely mild. I only found one egg outside the nesting box, which was right next to the coop. They have been acting normally besides the lack of laying, so I doubt it is a parasite. I just picked them all up and they seem to have remained the same weight as usual. What layer foods are high in protein?
     
  5. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

    28,340
    4,224
    516
    Apr 23, 2014
    At our lodge
    My Coop
    Instead of switching their whole diet, just feed them treats with lots of protein. Here is a link on that. https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/information-on-molting-chickens
    Also, is it possible they could be hiding their eggs?
     
  6. eggsforthewin

    eggsforthewin Out Of The Brooder

    21
    4
    26
    Dec 27, 2012
    Thanks, I'll try that. Seems that all four are in different stages of the molt. It also appears that one is broody, so I guess we'll just have to wait it out.
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,452
    3,522
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    18 months is when hens typically molt and take a break for the winter. They're not designed to lay continuously, year round, year after year. Winter is for resting and recharging after regrowing new feathers, getting the body ready for the demands of spring. Laying is typically controlled by the amount of daylight, so if you want to fool them into laying through the winter you'll need to gradually start adding light in the am until you reach the 16ish hours a day. Or, just wait and they'll start back up as the days get longer.
     
  8. eggsforthewin

    eggsforthewin Out Of The Brooder

    21
    4
    26
    Dec 27, 2012
    Will they stop every winter from now on?
     
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,452
    3,522
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Yep. And each year they'll lay a bit fewer eggs each season. My hatchery birds do pretty well laying until 5 years or so--by then I've usually aged them out, but have had hatchery birds laying at 7 years, usually 3-4 eggs a week.
     
  10. TillysMom79

    TillysMom79 Out Of The Brooder

    17
    0
    22
    Jan 1, 2015
    I like Scratch and Peck Feeds, and also add mealworms during the winter, and through molting.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by