Too Many Chickens?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Jamesploe, Oct 23, 2014.

  1. Jamesploe

    Jamesploe New Egg

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    Oct 23, 2014
    My question is about why my chickens are not laying not even a single egg. The story is this... We live in northern michigan, and have just moved to a larger, much larger, farm. We had our own chickens that were about 2 months old 15 or so, and they had some about the same age about 12, and 2 older hens. The only layers they had, were the hens, and when we integrated all the chickens together, the older hens were still laying for several weeks. 1-2 a day. But now all laying has stopped, and the younger chickens are yet to start. They are all about 5-6 months old now, and no eggs. We go through feed, and they are now on a feeder that delivers food all the time, they are never out. The water stays full, and the coup is clean. they have more roosts then they need, and a heat lamp for when it gets cold. The coup is enclosed and dry, and the sub turret is clean. Any ideas on why I am getting no output from them? All together there is about 30 chickens. Many Many different breeds.

    Thank you in advance for any advice.
     
  2. davemonkey

    davemonkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You said you "just moved", so that may have something to do with it. Anytime I have relocated a chicken, it takes time before it feels "at home". Also, it's molting season. So, your hens may be taking a break to molt, or even if they don't molt, they may just take a fall break. I have some 6-7 month-old pullets than have yet to lay. As soon as they got "of age", the other hens went into hard molt and quit laying, so I just assume the pullets are takign cues from them. (Or, in my case, it may be the horrible mosquito habitat they have to tolerate here.)
     
  3. dmbnj

    dmbnj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The older girls are probably getting ready to molt. My pullets are 5.5 months old and three started laying this week.
     
  4. Jamesploe

    Jamesploe New Egg

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    Oct 23, 2014
    Ok, so does the molting only happen to the older chickens? They are all what I would consider full grown. 5-6 months ish. I guess I should pay more attention to the actual age, but that is a rounded number I am comfortable with. It has been 2 months since we have been here, so I am sure they feel at home, and it is a much less stressful environment for them I am sure of that. I guess, the molting, or fall break would make some sense, I just wish I knew that it was a matter of time, seeing that they eat sooo much. maybe there is something I can do to slow down there intake?
     
  5. dmbnj

    dmbnj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I read that they molt in the fall starting between 16 and 18 months of age, so the two older hens are probably molting. Your 5 month old chickens will have their first molt next fall, and every year after. The rest of your pullets are probably gearing up to start laying.
     
  6. Jamesploe

    Jamesploe New Egg

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    Oct 23, 2014
    ok... and if you do not mind, since this thread is started... I did not buy pullets, just chickens. Egg layers for sure, but not sexed. So... I have not identified any roosters yet... however, yesterday I heard that classic morning chime... do all chickens do that? or just roosters?
     
  7. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    If you heard crowing you have a cockerel - possibly more than one. If you take pictures of your birds you can post them and we can easily help you pick out who is who in the girl/boy break down.
     
  8. Jamesploe

    Jamesploe New Egg

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    that would be 30 pics of birds... Post them here? What am I taking pics of on the bird?
     
  9. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    You can take shots of small groupings rather than individual birds - you can post a thread here https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/15/what-breed-or-gender-is-this . As long as the photo shows most of a bird the gender cues we would be looking for should be visible - the specifics would depend on breed (some are obvious due to color patterns differing between male/female), but the general cues will be the hackle and saddle feathers (neck and where tail meets back), overall body shape/stature, etc. Post some pictures - include approximate age and breeds (if known) and we'll take a stab at it - worst case scenario we might ask for a different shot of a bird or two.
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    The not laying could be because of lack of daylight. Sometimes first year layers will lay all winter without supplemental lighting, sometimes they won't.
    Second year layers need 14-16 hours of light to lay regularly thru winter. Last winter I used a 40 watt incandescent light(this year I am using a CFL) that comes on early in the morning to provide 14-15 hours of light and they go to roost with the natural sundown. Last year I started the lighting increase a bit late(mid October), the light should be increased slowly, and the pullets didn't start laying until late December.

    Here's pretty good article on supplemental lighting. Some folks think that using lighting shortens the years a hen will lay, I don't agree with that theory but I also plan to cull my older hens for soup at about 3 years old.


    ETA: How big is your coop(feet by feet), how many nests and linear roost space?
    I know you free range, but coop space can be important too....especially in Northern Michigan where they might spend days cooped in because of the weather.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2014

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