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So is it menopause or what?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by nuchickontheblock, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. We have three 3 year old hens who have just completed a hard molt and are feathering in pretty well now. Even when they were younger they never were very good layers and we only had maybe a most 5 or 6 eggs/week from the 3 of them -- and 2 of them would frequently go broody.

    We have not had any eggs now for 3 months -- their combs and faces are pale pink. I've checked them over for parasites, but have not seen any and they are acting like their usual selves, but no eggs. I know they slow down a bit over time, and the molt can stop their laying, but this is pretty sad.

    Are we done with eggs from them? Is it chicken menopause? We will keep them as pets no matter what, so it doesn't matter. I'm just curious.

  2. math ace

    math ace Crowing

    Dec 17, 2009
    Jacksonville, FL
    There are a lot of possibilities.

    The first thing I question is that they were NEVER good layers. What breed are these hens?
    Typically the 1st year of laying - from around 6 months of age to 18 months of age is the BEST egg production. Now, if you have a broody breed, they won't lay eggs while being broody. They won't lay eggs for a couple of months after being broody. So, if you have 3 hens and 2 are frequently broody, then that leaves one hen doing all the egg laying. IF she is laying 5 or 6 eggs a week, then that was great.

    The second thing that I question is their general health. Pale combs and faces can go hand in hand with a molt. If your girls are molting, they may not lay eggs for a couple of months.

    The last thing I would suggest is having a stool specimen looked at. There is a possibility that they have worms. If they have never been wormed and they are 3 years old....THERE Is a possibility that they have worms. A bad enough case of worms would stop them from laying.

    Production does go down as they age. It does go down dramatically after age 18 months. I have two hatchery leghorns. One totally STOPPED laying after the first year of production. The second one is 3 years old and normally does a decent job of providing me with 3 eggs a week. For an older girl like her, that is GREAT... However, she looks like a walking pin cushion right now because of molting. I haven't gotten an egg from her in at least a month.

    LAST thing I am going to suggest is PREDATORS.. ie a snake consuming some of your eggs. I don't think this is your issue because the girls have the pale pink combs... BUT it is worth mentioning..
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    After they feather back in they have to get their weight back to a sustainable level before they can lay eggs again. Give them some time and they'll get back to laying eggs.
  4. math ace

    math ace Crowing

    Dec 17, 2009
    Jacksonville, FL
    Even with glasses, I still can't see things... So they did molt and it was a hard molt too.. These girls will just need some more time to return to lay. Between the energy it took to complete the hard molt and the shortend day light hours, these girls are in no hurry to lay eggs right now.
  5. ScotianChick

    ScotianChick Songster

    Dec 27, 2010
    I had one bird who laid every single day for two years. She hit two and a half, went broody, I broke her, she stopped laying. So I guess it can happen at different ages. Two of my other two and a halfs are only laying two times a week now. I think if they lay really hard the first few years they are spent quicker.
  6. Thanks for all the thoughtful replies. The girls are bantam americaunas that were culls from a breeder in our state when they were about 6 months old. They only have laid pink eggs (never green or blue ones) and I guess they weren't quite up to standards for him to continue breeding; but they are very sweet and entertaining.

    I have never wormed them, but have looked at plenty of poop as I clean it up daily and have never seen any evidence of any worms. I would think that if there were a lot of worms, some would be visible. We don't have snakes around where we live -- in 35 years, I've only seen 2 in our yard, so that probably isn't a culprit.

    One of the girls used to have a hidden nest occasionally when she would free range, but she is pretty blind now and barely goes out of the coop/run. I guess I'll give them a bit more time. They are feathering out nice and fluffy, so I know that takes a lot of energy. We also decided not to supplement them with extra hours of light this winter. We did that the past 2 years and we thought we'd give them a break. It didn't seem to make that much difference to their egg production anyway.

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