Significant Drop in egg Production??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Kuntry Klucker, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. Kuntry Klucker

    Kuntry Klucker Premium Member

    Jun 9, 2010
    Tennesee Smoky Mts.
    Hi All,

    I am a first time chicken keeper and have noticed for the first time a significant drop in egg
    production from my girls.

    - I have 13 BO hens about 9 months old.
    - Feed 22% layer ration and some scratch
    - recieve vitamins and organic apple cider vinegar in their water.
    - free range in a fenced in backyard, so they have plenty of space to run and play.
    - no sign of illness or mites or lice.

    I was getting anywhere form 8-11 eggs a day, now I am lucky to get 6.

    Does anyone know what could be causing such a significant drop in their egg production?

    I have heard that a drop in egg production is one of the first signs of illness, but my girls are
    happy and healthy.

  2. Kuntry Klucker

    Kuntry Klucker Premium Member

    Jun 9, 2010
    Tennesee Smoky Mts.
    Is anyone out there??? [​IMG]
  3. featherz

    featherz Veggie Chick

    Mar 22, 2010
    Saratoga County, NY
    My nine month to 12 month hens aren't laying either, but they are going through a mini molt as well. How is the weather where you are? Have you noticed any feather loss? Sometimes birds will molt at about 9 months and that will put off laying.
  4. Barbill1

    Barbill1 Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 24, 2011
    Hey there. Am new to chicken raising too. Have 5 buff orpingtons and they are 6 months old. Lay only 5-6 in two days. Am told it is because of the cold weather and will lay more when the weather warms up.
  5. Kuntry Klucker

    Kuntry Klucker Premium Member

    Jun 9, 2010
    Tennesee Smoky Mts.
    We have had a joke of a winter this year. I live in East Tennessee so our winters are rather mild. This
    winter seems to be more milder than previous winters. Our winter precip has come in the form
    of rain mostly. Temps are mild usually around 50-60's during the day and 20-30's at night.
    Nothing that a chicken can not handle for sure.

    I have noticed a few hens with thinning feathers, but I thought that molting was more of
    a warmer weather thing. Do chickens molt in winter, seems to be the worst possible timing
    for a molt.

    How many feathers are your hens loosing?

    Thanks for your post, was very helpful.
  6. ChicKat

    ChicKat Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Hi Roy Rooster,

    You know that the shortened daylight hours mean that the chickens spend more time in darkness (unless you light artificially) and they spend less time eating. This is one of the reasons for a drop in egg production in winter. They just don't have as many awake hours to eat to have the nutrients to produce eggs like when daylight hours are longer. I kept expecting a drop off in egg production when the days started getting shorter, but instead it is hitting my little flock now too. I went from 4 eggs a day from 3 hens and a pullet, to now one-or two eggs a day.

    I also have one in pretty serious molt and I expect no eggs from her, and noticed my two barred rocks that share her coop are now doing a 'sympathy molt'. But our temperatures are quite mild right now---so I am looking directly at daylight hours as the cause for the drop off. (days are getting longer though)

    Your flock sounds healthy and happy, so it probably just a short while before they will be fully back to normal.
  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    All chickens take breaks. They do not, they can not lay year 'round, year after year. They "re charge" and oddly enough, they often do so in the winter. The days are dark and daylight limited. This signals them to stop laying or at least slow down greatly. They need to moult, and during moulting, they've not enough energy and protein to both regrow feathers and lay eggs. Moulting often takes up to six weeks to pass.

    By the time the end of February rolls around, the hours of daylight will have increased an hour or two, per day, off the low of Dec 22, the winter solstice.

    In other words, your flock is more than likely doing exactly what their bodies need to do. Stop, moult and re-charge. When the resume laying, it will be at a lesser rate than when they were youngsters. Most hatchery stock hens only lay super well for a few years. The out years sees much less production.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2012
  8. Kuntry Klucker

    Kuntry Klucker Premium Member

    Jun 9, 2010
    Tennesee Smoky Mts.
    Ok, I guess I just did not expect a molt till the warmer months. I figured that winter would be the worst
    time for a molt. I do have a few hens that are showing a little thinning in their feathers. I thought
    it was over mating by my roo but then I have 13 hens and 1 roo so I figured that he had enough
    hens to keep him busy.

    Ok, so it is nice to know that there is not anything wrong with them they are normal.

    Thanks Again.[​IMG]
  9. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    My twelve molted (slowed down egg laying) and then promptly quit laying after that. I went over 3 weeks without an egg. They just started laying again and are up to 4/day. This is only the 2nd flock in 19 years that have quit laying completely for an extended period of time & I have no clue why! I also always have 14 hours of light. The other flock that completely stopped for a month, did so in September, right as they came into molt. Never went down to 0 eggs for longer than a day or two with any other flock.
  10. Kuntry Klucker

    Kuntry Klucker Premium Member

    Jun 9, 2010
    Tennesee Smoky Mts.
    Wow! that is a long time with out eggs. Thanks for sharing that, I will know not to panic if they stop laying completly
    for a period of time.

    I am just stumped as to why they would go into molt during the winter months. I would think that summer
    would be a better time for molting, it is a lot warmer then. I just hope that they do not loose too many feathers
    and get sick due to being too cold.

    Thanks again. [​IMG]

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