strangeness happening

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Shalva, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. Shalva

    Shalva In the Brooder

    Mar 19, 2012
    New Hampshire
    So I have a 5 buff orpingtons who are now 2.5 to 3 years old, I realize that the laying will slow down at this age...

    I have a broody cochin frizzle and a gold laced polish who are both 1.5 to 2 the cochin has never been a good layer but she is cute and the same is true for the polish... cute... not a good layer

    Then I have a new crew of white orpingtons, black cochin, buff polish and white and black polish. These guys are all 6 mos old and laying consistently...

    There are also 2 pekin ducks (one female whose sole purpose is to hide her eggs from me.
    so that is the crew.... I added all of that because I am not sure if it matters or not.

    It seems that from the moment the younger chickens started laying (honestly within two weeks) the older buff orpingtons stopped laying. My husband and I have laughed about it and we have decided that now that they have passed the proverbial torch to the younger girls that they are all retired.

    Have you guys had this. I mean honestly I used to get these nice xl eggs from the older girls but right now my fridge is filled with small to medium eggs that I am sure are from the younger girls. Even my older polish seems to have stopped laying. I know that they are not hiding the eggs out in the field as the gate has been closed as the younger girls are not that good about coming when called yet.

    It is honestly not a big deal to me as my chickens are pets as much as anything... but I am curious as to why this has happened and if it has happened to you all as well.
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    The older hens may very well be starting to molt and are also probably more impacted by the shortening day length. They will take a break (perhaps until spring) and resume laying at a somewhat diminished rate.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    There are a lot of reasons chickens might stop laying but this time of year it is almost certainly the molt. They are replacing their feathers so they stop laying and use the nutrients from what they eat to grow feathers instead of making eggs. The change in length of daylight triggers the molt.

    Some chickens molt fairly fast and look really rough. Some take a long time to molt. You can’t always tell by looking at them that they are actually molting but you should see feathers laying around. Some might start laying again once they finish the molt but some will likely wait until spring to start back up.

    It’s pretty normal for some pullets to continue laying throughout their first fall and winter and skip the molt, especially if they start laying as late as yours. But the following fall/winter they should stop laying, molt, and recharge their system. It’s just luck that your pullets started laying about the same time the others started their molt.
  4. Shalva

    Shalva In the Brooder

    Mar 19, 2012
    New Hampshire
    thanks guys, it just seemed so coincidental. I know that fall is molt time and I have seen the trail of feathers to verify that. I guess that is what it is... coincidental.

    thanks for the reassurance... I usually put a light on for a few hours in the coop in the mornings once the days get shorter but I have kind of decided not to do that this year and let them just lay naturally.

    thank you for taking the time to answer my question
    appreciate it
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Actually I think this is in fact natures well planned scenario and not coincidental at hatch some chicks in spring then chicks start laying in fall so mommas can take a break!

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