Okay, I'm worried. Very worried.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by azygous, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I realize twelve hours of natural light is barely enough to trigger laying. But by this time last year, I had half a dozen of my seasoned layers already laying.

    This year, three of them began to lay near the beginning of February, and then quit after a couple of eggs. My Cochin laid very regularly for several weeks, and has since stopped.

    Now, the only ones laying out of eighteen layers are my five pullets.

    Yes, I have been giving them red pepper flakes.

    The only change from last year is that they're getting fermented feed. Would that cause this? They all seem very happy and healthy otherwise. No, they've never had parasites. There haven't been any stressors.

    Any ideas?
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    How old are your "seasoned" layers? If they are coming into their 3rd season, that may be part of the issue. You'll get the most eggs during the first 2 years. I don't know what the average laying history for heritage breeds is, but am guessing that may be what is going on. I don't think your FF is part of the issue unless you are restricting their feed. Is your FF made from layer rations or is it made up of scratch, or something else?
  3. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

    May 11, 2011
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    As long as they are healthy and behaving normally otherwise, be patient.

    Last year, 4 of our 5 seasoned (2 yro) layers quit laying after they molted in Oct/Nov/Dec. By April, we had 3 of the 5 laying regularly and it stayed that way right through autumn and molting this year; the two that quit were a BA and a BR.

    Now, we added 3 chicks to the flock in June and they began laying in late December and have been laying strong (5+ eggs/week) since. Of our original flock, the same that laid through last winter picked up laying and has kept going since her November molt. She was sporadically joined by our EE in January, and now our BR (who hasn't laid a thing in over a year) is putting in 4-5 eggs per week. Our BA still isn't laying, and if last year is any indicator, our wellie won't start again until late March.

    We don't use any supplemental lighting through the winter season, and we're surprised they're laying so well with the harsh winter we've been having. Hopefully your girls will get back into their groove soon, though the older they get, the less they tend to lay.
  4. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Of course. That's probably it. They are three and four years old. I suppose it'll be miraculous if they ever lay any more.

    This is just terrific. A coop full of retirees.
  5. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    My 5 year old BR hen just started laying again the other day. Last year, she was still giving me 5-6 eggs a week. It's been a strange winter. Not all of mine are back to laying either. Thank goodness for the pullets!
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Oh they'll still lay, just not as much. I've had birds still giving 3 eggs a week at 7 years old, and those were hatchery birds.

    That's why commercial industries cycle birds out at 18ish months. Backyard folks need to decide how they're going to manage their own flocks--keep older, less productive birds or cull them. It's a personal decision for each flock keeper and no right or wrong answer.
  7. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    This is one of the reasons why I try to get new pullets every two years. Last year, though, my four-year old Wyandottes were still laying around three or four eggs a week, and guess what! I think my now five-year old SLW Alice laid an egg this morning! At least she was in the coop, heading for the nest box, making "I-need-to-lay" noises.

    The layers at my place get to retire with dignity when they are done laying. I get way too attached to them to cull.

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