One chicken stopped laying, others still laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by danakakes08, Dec 17, 2014.

  1. danakakes08

    danakakes08 New Egg

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    I have a flock of 8 chickens, and 2 are older than the rest. The 2 that are older are a leghorn and red, and have been laying an egg a day since mid August, so for about 4 months. The other 6 I raised as chicks and are about ~5.5 months old and 1 barred rock started laying 2 days ago.Hooray! However, the red that was laying daily has now stopped. I can tell because I've seen the barred rock on the box, and her starter eggs smaller and a lighter brown than the egg I was getting form the red. No second brown egg to be seen.

    Why would the red stop laying? There are enough laying boxes, and they are all getting the same amount of light and same kinds of foods, all have access to water, layer feed, etc. Would the amount of light affect one breed differently than the rest? The red hasn't shown any different behavior, still the same happy active bird.

    Would appreciate any thoughts!
     
  2. silkymom

    silkymom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    not sure how old myhens are but at least 2 yrs old, in the last month i get 6 eggs , 5 eggs and now today i only got 4, mabey the older girls know its winter,??? i get varied amounts everyday, we had a warm streak her in michigan after a ton of snow, and today the temp dropped bigtime, the first time i only got 4 eggs, good luck, could be the light and weather, the young would still lay im told,
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Are you supplementing light...if so how many hours and when?

    The not laying because of the short days/long nights. Sometimes first year layers will lay all winter without supplemental lighting, sometimes they won't. Older layers need 14-16 hours of light to lay regularly thru winter. Last winter I used a 40 watt incandescent light(this year I am using a CFL) that comes on early in the morning to provide 14-15 hours of light and they go to roost with the natural sundown. Last year I started the lighting increase a bit late(mid October), the light should be increased slowly, and the pullets didn't start laying until late December. Here's a pretty good article on supplemental lighting. Some folks think that using lighting shortens the years a hen will lay, I don't agree with that theory but I also plan to cull my older hens for soup at about 3 years old.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2014
  4. anjovi6

    anjovi6 Chillin' With My Peeps

    During this time of year it is hard to tell what is going on with the hens. I have 5 hens about 2 yrs old in one pen. One started her molt and the others didn't. But they all stopped laying. The one that did molt looked horrible. Now she is beautiful and has started laying again, 4 eggs in 5 days. The others still not laying or molting. Usually when they get the urge they will start laying again. For more years than I would like to count the molting is something I finally stopped thinking about and just let nature take over.

    Just keep an eye on the one you are worried about and if you see something that makes you think it is a health issue then do all you can to solve the problem. Good Luck.
     
  5. silkymom

    silkymom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    sw michigan is a cold dark place now, im still gettind eggs but the numbers change every day, i do have a red heat lamp to keep the water thawed we did have some sun today, the birds are doing good, i dont do the supp light thing, i let em do there thing
     
  6. danakakes08

    danakakes08 New Egg

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    Thanks for the replies. I imagine that it is just due to the shorten days, which is a bummer because this winter is probably setting back my spring chicks from starting to lay. Thanks for the article about supplemental light, I'll do some more reading about lengthening the days, but I feel okay about just letting them do their thing and going through winter cycle. :)
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    It will be interesting to see if your spring chicks start laying soon after the solstice.

    If I had 2 coops, I would love to experiment with lights and no lights.
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    First, don’t overthink “breeds”. Different chickens of the same breed can be as similar or as different as your cousins. Sometimes they share traits and sometimes they seem to have very little in common either in appearance or in behaviors. Think of your chickens as individuals, even if they are the same breed.

    The days getting shorter or the weather getting more severe is the most likely reason for her to stop laying or greatly cut back regardless of age. Even is summer you can get a drop in production if the weather turns really hot. How long has she “stopped” laying? If it has only been a couple of days, she may not have stopped, just reduced laying.

    Are you seeing a lot of feathers flying around? She may be molting.

    I’ve had pullets start to lay early December, when the days are really short and the weather was fairly cold. I’ve had pullets wait until spring to start to lay when the days are getting longer and warmer. Some of your younger pullets might start to lay real soon like that other one seemed to have just started and some might wait until later. They are each individuals and will do their own thing.

    While the most likely explanation is that the length of days or cold weather has stopped her from laying, I’d also look for a hidden nest. Other than the weather or time of season, a hidden nest is the most common reason for a hen to “stop” laying.

    Since it is the same egg every day that is missing I really doubt it is anything getting the egg. If something were stealing the egg it would be a lot more random, not consistently the egg from the same hen. If you have a problem and it is consistently with the same chicken, you have an individual chicken problem. If it is across all the chickens or most of the chickens, then you have a flock problem. This sure sounds like an individual problem, not a flock problem.

    Good luck! This type of thing can sometimes be real challenging to figure out, even if the explanation is really simple. Look for another nest if that is even a possibility but otherwise patience may be your best friend, maybe a lot of patience in this case. But spring isn’t that far away.
     

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