suddenly laid an egg mid-moult: what is going on?

Perris

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Jan 28, 2018
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My RIR has been in moult for about 3 weeks now and looks pretty threadbare. But when I went poo-picking this morning I found an egg that she must have laid (because no other hen I have lays that colour). She is 3 years old, if that makes any difference. I thought laying stopped while moulting was on (and it has for all my hens, including her, hitherto), but evidently this rule has exceptions. So how common is this? Have your hens done it, and if so, does it become habitual, or is this likely to be a one-off?
 

Shadrach

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Moulting and not laying eggs is another one of those common knowledge pieces of misinformation. While it's true that often full moults and hens not laying go together, neither one causes the other. It just happens that moults often occur at the same time that light levels decrease.
Chickens can and do moult at other times in the year.
 

Perris

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I get that moulting happens at other times, but I must have read a dozen times (in print as well as online) that hens stop laying when moulting because their resources can either go into egg production or feather production but not both. Clearly my Dorothy didn't read those manuals :cool: and I've read a lot of misinformation on several things, so another chicken myth wouldn't be a surprise. But it hasn't happened with my birds before; have you had hens do this too?
 

Shadrach

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I get that moulting happens at other times, but I must have read a dozen times (in print as well as online) that hens stop laying when moulting because their resources can either go into egg production or feather production but not both. Clearly my Dorothy didn't read those manuals :cool: and I've read a lot of misinformation on several things, so another chicken myth wouldn't be a surprise. But it hasn't happened with my birds before; have you had hens do this too?
Yup. I've had a couple of hens lay mid moult, both were in their first full moult. It is unusual and in general when the hens here moult in Autumn they do stop laying.
I think the misinformation base line is that hens do not have the resources to do both but this is obviously incorrect because as you can see, your hen is doing it and so have many others.
I would consider offering extra protein for your hen even if its by way of fish and/or meat if a high protein feed (20% +) is not availible.
 

Shadrach

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This may not apply to your hens but it's been a cause of frustration for me at moult times.
Many of the hens here go off the commercial feed during moult. I discussed this a bit with rebrascora who posts here who had noticed the same with her hens.
There is something the hens here find when foraging that seems to be important to them at moult. I've tried to identify what it is that they look for with little success. What I did notice was they ate different foliage to their normal stuff.:confused:
This makes getting extra protein down them a bit of a chore.
 

Perris

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I don't give mine commercial feed - except chick crumbles when I have chicks - and they gobble down fermented feed (whole grains and cracked corn) whatever time of year, as far as I can see. I haven't noticed a difference in ranging behaviour either, but I think there's quite a lot of protein about here; there are loads of bugs (I have wood piles all over the place), larger things occasionally like toads or (grass) snakes, at least one rat nest this summer (seeing them pile in there reminded me of their long-time-back ancestry!) and a fledgling from a bird's nest (presumably it fell out the nest) have been devoured in my presence. They are getting all split tomatoes, fruit waste and other harvest goodies now - this is the best time of year from that perspective of course. Apparently some preppers favour RIR as a bomb-proof breed; from my experience with this bird I can see why!
 

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