snow = no eggs

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Mark & Nique, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. Mark & Nique

    Mark & Nique Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 20, 2010
    South Carolina
    Hello all -

    Our EE surprised us in mid December by laying hey first egg almost exactly 6 months after she was hatched. Plus, it was during a cold snap, with high temps in the mid teens. She continued laying through December, every other day, a real champion, and wasn't bothered at all by the cold.

    Then, last week we got snow, which stayed on the ground for 5 days (we live in South Carolina) and suddenly no eggs. And eggs even after all the snow has melted and the temps are back to normal.

    Has anyone else experienced this? Any idea how long until she returns to laying?

  2. BrewedInNh

    BrewedInNh Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 11, 2010
    Southern NH
    This is the first winter for our girls. Like yours, they don't seem to mind the cold, but most of them quit laying for a few days when the first snow hit. Snow-cover means almost no foraging which was a significant interruption to their routine.

    We increase protein in their treats, and spent a little more time with them outside in the "evil snow". Within a week we were back to an average 5 eggs per day from our 6 girls.
  3. Mark & Nique

    Mark & Nique Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 20, 2010
    South Carolina
    Thanks for the feedback! (I bet being in New England your BYCs will soon enough be laying in the snow.) Extra protein--I know they will like that advice!
  4. ikatiemay

    ikatiemay Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2010
    Eden Utah
    Hi We are in Utah and have over 3 feet of snow on the ground now. Our girls are laying everyday. They spend alot of time in the coop because we are getting temps in the teens and the other morning -9!!!! We do have a heat lamp that comes on when the temps get down to 32 to take the chill off. Our girls got used to the cold gradually as fall turned to winter, maybe when it happens quickly they go into shock! I do feed 21% protein in the cold months.
  5. stilldeb

    stilldeb Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2010
    NW Kentucky
    I have quit guessing and just let nature take its course! ha My older hens have totally quit laying for nearly two weeks now (about how long we have had some kind of snow cover - more coming, which by the way I am sick of, too) and then yesterday one of my "peepers" - 20 wk old chickens - laid their first egg - then back to nothing again today.

    deb g
  6. Minniechickmama

    Minniechickmama Senora Pollo Loco

    Sep 4, 2009
    As you can see, I am in the tropics of Minnesota. My girls quit laying about 2-months ago. I did have a couple of pullets start laying about 2-weeks before we stopped getting any eggs. I expected it with the short days and molts going on and all, so I was not surprised at all. But, yesterday we got one egg, though frozen and split with our temps hovering around zero during the days and subzeros at night. Today I got two eggs, though one was frozen and split. I think they are going to be giving me plenty more in the days ahead. I was just about as happy in seeing yesterday's egg as I was with the first pullet egg this summer.

    I almost forgot to mention, I added no heat, no light, nothing. I do have heated water bowls and they are let out for at least 5-6 hours a day. I just started tossing cabbages out to them this week to break up the boredom and as a treat though.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2011
  7. Ohhhdear

    Ohhhdear Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 15, 2010
    West Michigan
    I believe (from what I've read here on BYCF) that there's a lot of factors involved in hens laying in the winter.
    First, their breed. Some production chickens (like mine) will lay every day until they moult, then keep right on going. But then, they're bred to do just that. Other behaviours like broodiness are bred out of them. Other breeds of chickens naturally take a winter break and resume laying when the weather's more conducive to hatching babies.

    Next, how healthy were they going into the winter? Do they get enough protein? 14+ hours of light every day? What about greens and added calories from leftovers? It takes a lot of energy to keep healthy and producing eggs when the temps get down to single digits and stay there.

    Is their coop draft-free? Doesn't have to be heated, but if the hens are miserable when they're trying to escape wintery weather, they're using energy staying warm rather than producing eggs. Miserable hens get sick, too.

    Some people add cayenne pepper to their chicken feed to stimulate egg production. Some add apple cider vineger to their water for health benefits. I don't know if these work or not, but they sure haven't hurt my girls any.

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