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where are my eggs - please help

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by estellem, Dec 15, 2016.

  1. estellem

    estellem New Egg

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    Dec 15, 2016
    I really need some help.
    i have kept chickens for about 5 years now. about 2.5 years ago Mr fox came and disposed of my 6 girls, as a family it took us a little while to get over it but we did and bought a few hens from a poultry farm, fully vaccinated and when they came into lay they laid well. i also bought a few from an auction house that were older girls but thought i would let them live out their years in peace, they didn't lay many eggs but we were fine with that. Last Easter we set up an incubator and hatched our own chicks which was so exciting for all involved.
    Hubby has never had and never will have any interest in the chickens so me and the kids are on our own with it.
    currently in total i have 12 birds in the garden,2 boys and 10 girls varying ages. 3 probably about 4 years old very few eggs, 4 who are in their second year of laying and 3 new girls who were hatched in May last year - of these i think one has actually laid an egg.
    i have not had one egg since the 30th October and am feeling thoroughly depressed. A week or so after the eggs stopped i noticed that one or 2 of them had bubbles in their eyes and the odd chicken was sneezing, then a few of them had a molt.
    i put the lack of eggs down to molting and wondered if maybe they had a cold, do chickens get colds? their combs went a dull pink but a few of these have now reddened up again. i just don't know what to do they are eating running around etc all as normal their behaviors and characters have not changed just no eggs. i am now beginning to wonder if i should get rid of them. they bring me such joy and i do love them but with no eggs......
    i also discovered in the last week that i think there are rats getting into the side of the run that butts up against a neighbors garden so that another thing to deal with[​IMG].
    any advice regarding the lack of eggs i would be so extremely grateful as i do so love keeping chickens
    many thanks
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Overrun With Chickens

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    The amount of daylight chickens are exposed to directly affects their egg laying. If you live in the top half of the world, right now we are experiencing the shortest days of the year. Laying hens require on average 14 hours of daylight to lay. Less than than, egg laying begins to drop off. At ten hours, it can stop all together.

    So, if you want eggs, rig up a small wattage light on a timer to come on around three hours before sunrise. You will have to wait several weeks for the eggs to start coming, but they should.
     
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Ditto on the light.

    Also, you mentioned they were molting. They cannot lay eggs while molting. Molting takes a lot out of them, and they can lose a drastic amount of weight. Once their feathers are grown in, they have to get their body weight back up before they can resume laying. You stated that their combs are back to a bright color, so they should be getting close. Very soon at the winter solstice, the days will start getting longer again, which will help with egg production resuming.

    And no, chickens do not get colds.
     
  4. estellem

    estellem New Egg

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    Dec 15, 2016
    thanks you for you response.maybe it is just the hours of day light, i had thought that and in years gone by i know they have stopped laying usually for a few weeks, they have never stopped as early in the year as the end of october. looking at the average hours of sunlight charts if they stopped laying in when we got down to 11 hours daylight i may have to wait till may again before they start laying again. it funny as my friend who lives a street away who owns chickens, his are still laying.

    may be it is too soon to give up hope
     
  5. estellem

    estellem New Egg

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    Dec 15, 2016
    is it quite common for people to use a light? i have heard it said before but wasnt sure if it was something that your average back garden keeper did?
     
  6. TheHenHut4U2

    TheHenHut4U2 Just Hatched

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    A 15 watt bulb is all you need for the hens to continue laying in a small backyard flock coop, I have ten Isa Browns and use a 5am on 7 pm off timer and they continue to average 9 eggs daily.

    New LED bulbs have come down in price considerably and the 60W output variations consume roughly the same electricity as an old school 15 watt filament bulb.
     
  7. estellem

    estellem New Egg

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    Dec 15, 2016
    wow thats great!!! and i assume you just sent it up in their run somewhere.
    sorry to ask such silly questions.
     
  8. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Each year is different. Some of mine started molting in September this year.

    Some do, some don't. I do not add light to my coops.
     
  9. estellem

    estellem New Egg

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    Dec 15, 2016
    Also should i worry about the bubbles in their eyes and the "sneezing" as i say other then the molt they all seem themselves.

    thank you so much for your replies, i feel so much more positive and ive only been a member of the group for 30 mins!
     
  10. TheHenHut4U2

    TheHenHut4U2 Just Hatched

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    It would help you to research the science behind why the hens need a minimum amount of light to stay on lay, Cliff Notes version:

    Light stimulates the optical nerves in a hens eye that triggers the hormone production needed to lay eggs, so your target time for light is a continuous period of 14 hours.

    In a run they should be outside and getting some light, the bulb should be in the coop on a timer to wake them up at 5am and off again around 7pm this should keep them exposed to light and laying. A good coop needs to have a quality window in it, hens will see the daylight through the window has gone for the day and be on their nighttime roost well before the timer shuts the bulb off just check on them at the shut off time for the first two weeks as they adjust to the winter lighting schedule they learn quickly to be roosted before it turns off but there's a slow learner or two in most flocks that you may need to place on the roost for a short time.
     

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