Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Alwayswantchics, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. Alwayswantchics

    Alwayswantchics Songster

    Apr 6, 2012
    Phelan, CA
    How long do hens take a "vacation" during the winter. I haven't got eggs from my girls in over two weeks.

  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    It depends on many factors so there is no single answer.
    The factors are age, daylength, breed, molting, stressors.
    Stressors can be nutrition, predators, availability of water, parasites, disease, coop/flock changes.
    First year layers usually don't take a vacation.
    Birds usually (but not always) molt their second autumn and every autumn thereafter. That vacation can be 1-4 months.
    I once had a dog attack just as many of my hens were starting to molt. I went from 18 eggs from 23 birds to 4 as the molt started and after the dog attack I went over 6 weeks without an egg.
  3. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Crowing

    Apr 8, 2008
    A lot of it depends on the breed. Some breeds naturally lay during the winter and some don't. And if you don't supplement with light, you might get very few eggs over the winter.
  4. Chipper

    Chipper Songster

    Jan 12, 2009
    Washington County, NY
    As the other poster said.It depends on many different things.One thing you can try,if you want eggs,is give them extra light hours because of the short day length in the winter season.Some of mine will take a break for a few months during the cold northern winters and short days.
    Good Luck !

  5. lorain's fids

    lorain's fids Songster

    Jul 9, 2011
    New Jersey
    I haven't had any eggs over 1 month. The 5 girls are 18 months, 4 have just gone through a major molt which started in November and one is still molting. I don't add any extra light. 4 are Dominiques and 1 is a Black Australorp. They are all healthy and happy. Right now I am so looking foward to getting some fresh eggs from them. I had to go and buy some and that seemed so wrong when I have five chickens in my yard doing nothing--LOL!!!
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Hens normally lay through their first winter. At the 18ish month mark, they molt and as a rule don't start laying again until the days get longer. It's the natural way to give their bodies a break from the stress of high production.

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