When does egg production slow down??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Autumnswirl, Dec 22, 2016.

  1. Autumnswirl

    Autumnswirl Just Hatched

    Jul 10, 2016
    We currently have 11 hens. We are still getting 9 to 10 eggs per day. We are NOT lighting/heating the coop, they are free range.. well, maybe pastured now, we have been working on closing in the pasture so they cant get to the neighbors or the road. Anyway, we were sort of looking forward in an odd way to less eggs everyday.. and we are still at full production, the only hen that stopped laying is the little bantam seabright. Do they slow down more in Jan/Feb? I thought it was tied to daylight, but I could have been wrong. The other hens are 3 white leghorns, 3 Rhode island reds, and 4 Isa browns. We are feeding them corn, sunflower seeds, whole oats, and a little organic layer pellets. Out original rooster was killed by a dog in late summer, and we just replaced him a few days ago with a barred rock.
    Thank you for any info.
  2. GC-Raptor

    GC-Raptor Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 26, 2016
    Connecticut, U.S.A.
    10 of them are very good to excellent layers. You don't say where you are located, but don't complain if they don't slow down, many would love to have your predicament. Give the excess to the food pantry or friends or sell them. GC
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2016
  3. perchie.girl

    perchie.girl Desert Dweller Premium Member

    I think it also depends on the weather and temperatures along with light. Here chickens lay most of the year. Breed and age factor in...

    Like @GC-Raptor says... it all depends.... [​IMG]

  4. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    This crew must be in their first year of egg laying. It's pretty typical for them to keep belting out the eggs through their first winter. The second winter following molt, they will probably cease laying during the short days of winter, resuming again once the days start getting longer approaching spring.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Ditto Dat^^^

    ....plus you have mostly high production breeds.
  6. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Yep. Next year, you will be complaining about no eggs.

    Mine start slowing down a bit in September as the early ones begin molting. By mid to late October, I usually only have a couple of hens still giving me eggs. December is usually no eggs, unless I have a pullet starting up.

    If you are in the Southern Hemisphere then your times will be opposite mine.
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I’m going to agree with the others, it sure sounds like you have pullets, not older hens. Some pullets, especially production breeds, often lay through their first winter and continue until the next fall, when they molt and shut down laying. Nine to ten eggs out of ten production breed pullets is pretty good. Not all production breed pullets continue to lay through their first winter and not all “decorative” breeds stop, but there is a strong trend for this.

    The days getting shorter in their second fall triggers a molt in practically any hen after their first winter unless you manipulate lights. Other things can cause a molt at other times of the year, but the main cause of a full molt and shutdown of egg production is the days getting shorter.

    What you can probably expect with most of your production breed hens is that they will all molt next fall and most of them start back laying when the molt is finished, regardless of the length of the day. Most does not mean all, some likely will wait a bit on the longer days and maybe warmer weather to start laying after the molt. Each chicken is an individual regardless of breed. They don’t all do the exact same thing though there are breed trends.

    I don’t know how severe your weather is going to be but it’s not that unusual for pullets or hens to reduce egg production in severe cold or hot weather. As an example, my current normal 9 to 10 a day might drop back to 6 or 7 when we hit single digits, but that’s a short change. It picks right back up when the weather breaks. I can have slowdowns in really hot weather too.

    Some other things you can expect. Their laying rate follows a certain curve. They get to peak production fairly quickly after they start laying, but over time the rate of lay drops off a bit with steady production. That exact curve will vary per flock but don’t be surprised if your 9 to 10 a day drops next summer after they have been laying a year or so.

    Egg quality can drop a bit too. The shells might get a little thinner, maybe more blood spots and meat spots, the whites might be more runny instead of firm, things like that. Their bodies just wear out after all that continuous production. The eggs are still safe to eat and all that, just don’t panic if you see a drop in quality.

    With your brown egg layers, the egg shells typically get lighter the longer they lay. You may have already noticed that, the eggs are darkest when the pullet first starts to lay. I’ve had some hens gradually change from laying a fairly dark egg to an almost white egg just before the molt.

    During the molt the hen recharges her body and stores up materials so when she starts back to laying the egg shells will again be dark and the egg quality should be great. The hens really need to recharge their system by molting at certain points. Some people that extend the lights find that they molt anyway.

    This natural cycle is why some of us try to always have pullets every year, so we will get some eggs during the winter. It doesn’t always work, a couple of years back I went with no eggs for quite a spell because those pullets would just would not start laying like they normally do. This type of stuff doesn’t come with guarantees but there are some really strong trends.

    Good luck and enjoy your eggs.

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