Why aren't they laying?!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by telehillco, Oct 8, 2011.

  1. telehillco

    telehillco Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2009
    Front Range, CO
    We've got 4 chickens and not an egg in the last week! September yielded a measly dozen and a half eggs! From 4 chickens! We have no idea if there's something we can do or if they're just "done". Two RIR's are 2 1/2 years old now. One is just starting to molt (a little earlier than last year), but she hasn't laid an egg in probably 2 months. The other drops one every few weeks. The younger pair are a Buff Orpington and a Barred Rock. They are only a year and a half, don't appear to be molting, but aren't laying.

    We're trying to make the hard decision of what to do. We'll get some new chicks in the spring, but that means no eggs until July/August. Is it worth keeping these girls through the Colorado winter? Will they lay again? They free-range the yard during the day eating grass, weeds and bugs, have access to layer crumbles all day and have a tray of crushed oyster to pick at when they want. They're well loved with plenty of treats.

    How long did your chickens lay?
    Is there something we could do to encourage them?


    Thanks for any advice!

    Hillary
     
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    They don't lay while molting. Feathers are mostly protein and they need all their energy to regrow their feathers. They will lay again. And I've had some go through a molt at 9 months, so it's possible your 1 year old hens are molting too, just not as badly as the others.
     
  3. telehillco

    telehillco Out Of The Brooder

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    39
    Mar 15, 2009
    Front Range, CO
    Thanks for the response. We have gone through the molting cycle so know that they won't lay eggs while molting. However, only one appears to be molting. The others don't. The inconsistent laying started in July and just keeps getting worse.
     
  4. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Have they been wormed? Have you checked for mites/lice?
     
  5. mrdruids

    mrdruids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 27, 2011
    chickens lay less as the days get shorter---

    full guide


    Decreasing day length

    Days become shorter beginning
    June 22 and begin to lengthen
    again on December 22. In Oregon,
    day length decreases from nearly
    16 hours of light at the beginning
    of summer to just over 8 hours at
    the beginning of winter. This
    change in day length causes hens
    to molt and cease egg production,
    a process that may take several
    months.
    Preventing production losses
    due to changes in natural day
    length requires artificial lighting.
    To maintain production, day
    length must increase or remain
    constant at more than 12 hours per
    day; a 14- to 16-hour day is typical.
    Light needs to be just bright
    enough to read a newspaper, and
    the type of bulb does not matter. If
    a lighting program is started, it
    must be continued. Even a 1-day
    lapse can have a negative impact
    on egg production. It is best to use
    an inexpensive timer to control the
    light schedule.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2011

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