Stop laying completely during the winter?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by LemonberryMoon, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. LemonberryMoon

    LemonberryMoon Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 6, 2013
    We have 14 hens. Three of them are nearing two years old and are Americaunas. We have not received a single egg from them since our first freeze, they did also start to molt around this time. We have seven 9 month old hens that started laying about a month or two before the first freeze. There are 3 Ameracaunas, 2 Welsummers, 2 golden sex linked; Everyone stopped laying at the first freeze and the sex linked started back about a week later and have continued to lay an egg a day each. Many (not all) of them also molted around this time, which I didn't think they did their first year? Our other four hens (2 silver laced wyndottes and two Russian Orloffs have yet to lay their first egg and are about 6+ months old.

    Is it normal to be getting only two eggs a day from all these hens (and the same two hens at that) this time of year? I knew we would have less, but figured a bit more than two per day. We do not provide a light as I prefer to let nature do it's thing. They free range during the day, but even on days they've been locked up there have been no other eggs so I don't think they are laying elsewhere.
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Not out of the ordinary and especially with birds that have molted. They can stop from one to four months with a molt. Days are getting longer and I've had several start laying in the last couple weeks, even much older hens.
    A chicken will only reliably lay through winter her first year. After that, the rest period is longer each year.
    I have a breed that all molt their first autumn if they hatched the previous autumn, winter or very early spring.

    Daylength is the biggest determinant but nutrition is critical as well. Higher protein helps during and after molting.
    If all the birds aren't laying, it's important not to feed layer feed. It's too much calcium for birds not actively laying.
    A potential problem for your Wyandottes and Orloffs.
    1 person likes this.
  3. davemonkey

    davemonkey Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 25, 2012
    Liberty, TX
    Completely normal, especially since you are going the natural route. Ours did the same, only it was in the Fall. We went 3 months thinking w had made a mistake with chickens. Now they are laying like champs. Give it time, and they will reward you when they are ready.
  4. LemonberryMoon

    LemonberryMoon Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 6, 2013
    Thank you! So good to know! I don't mind as long as it doesn't mean something is wrong.
  5. Mommy 2 Wee Ones

    Mommy 2 Wee Ones Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2011
    North Texas
    We noticed since we started having all the earthquakes here in North Texas beginning in Nov. that our hens have stopped laying. I did find a small egg in the coop this week, and there has been no quakes in about a week and a half. At first we were putting it down to the ice storm we had in Dec., but then we realized that we found no eggs anywhere for the month of Nov. I had to buy eggs at the store, and they are so gross. I hope that once the weather changes, and if these stupid quakes ever stop, my hens will start laying again. Then to top it off, we lost our silkie rooster two days ago. So I am on the hunt for a new rooster, we are use to hatching out baby chicks in the spring, and our Buff Orph are such good broody mama's.

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