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Normal for new layers to quit in winter?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Chickenkeepr, Dec 30, 2015.

  1. Chickenkeepr

    Chickenkeepr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I currently have 11 hens. 3 of them will be 2 years old in the spring and all just went through their first molt (one has started to lay again already!) The remaining 8 are 5 Red Stars (I believe) 2 Buff Orpingtons and one EE. A couple of my Red Stars, one of my BO's and my EE were all laying well until the 3 older ones stopped for their molt. They now have the pale combs/wattles like my others did through their molt and are not laying. They are healthy, and active. They live in an 8x8 coop with attached covered 8x8 run and an attached uncovered 8x24 run. Is it normal for them to stop laying their first winter? My older girls laid all winter last year and this is only my second winter with chickens. They are getting free choice layer crumbles and a few handfuls of scratch/mealies/alfalfa every morning to keep them occupied.

    Also, will my BO's eggs ever get any larger? My Red girls are laying nice big brown eggs, and my BO lays this tiny pale brown pullet sized egg.
     
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    You don't state how old the younger birds are, but yes, new layers can stop laying and molt. I've had several 9 month old pullets molt and have an 8 month old pullet molting now. All of my 8 month old pullets (I have 9) are not laying right now. I've only seen the one that is molting at the moment.

    With the days getting longer again, I've already had 4 birds start back up laying. 3 hens and 1 pullet.
     
  3. Chickenkeepr

    Chickenkeepr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I got them in I believe March or April of this year as day old chicks. I live in Northern NY and we just started with the cold the day after Christmas (yesterday was the first full day we've had snow on the ground. Very unusual) Could they be going through a "light molt"? They don't show any signs of feather loss like the others did (or the Pekin duck that I had that molted...it looked like a duck exploded in my yard lol!)
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I'd say it is just short days. Yours are very short now but by late January or so they should all start back up.
     
  5. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    They could be, yes. In young birds, you have to look harder to see the molting. Look at neck and tail feathers.

    My pullet that is molting was hatched Easter.
     
  6. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the info. My late spring birds who recently started laying are still laying, but I was surprised and disappointed when my ones who were nine months old and everyone else went into a group molt. [​IMG] I explained to them all the nice recipes I have (just kidding, but don't tell them that) and thankfully, right on December 22, the late winter birds and my Easter eggers (Bless their little hearts!) and marans all started laying again. I was told they would as soon as the days got longer but they had it down to the exact day.
    Now about my brown and pink and cream egg layers..........
     

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