Why did they all stop laying?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by skatcatla, Nov 20, 2008.

  1. skatcatla

    skatcatla Songster

    Jun 26, 2007
    I have four chickens, all a little over a year old. They've been laying like champs for the past year, and layed all through last winter. One of them started molting a few weeks ago, so I've not been expecting her to lay. Her feathers have grown back in, but her comb is still very small.

    But why did the other three stop laying too? They have no sign of molting. I usually let them out in the yard for a couple hours a day, so I thought maybe they were laying in the yard somewhere, but I checked everywhere (Its a small yard) and there is no sign of eggs. Finally I kept them confined to their coop and run for 24 hours and did get one egg, but that's it.

    Is it just because the days are shorter now? We are getting a little less than 12 hours of light right now. Why would it be different than last winter?

  2. mangled

    mangled Songster

    I feel your pain.

    I have 31 hens right now, ranging from just under a year to 2 years.

    I haven't gotten an egg in over a month.

    I had to BUY eggs yesterday. [​IMG]

  3. skatcatla

    skatcatla Songster

    Jun 26, 2007
    BUY eggs? Why, I never! [​IMG]

    well, glad I'm not alone. I wonder if this is typical for their second year of life?
  4. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    My older hens always began molting in October, here. It was sometimes hard to know when they started or finished but the eggs always shut off. It took a little over a month for them to kick back in gear.

    With only 8 or 9 hours of sunlight each day at this time of year in my location - I believe that it takes electric lighting for them to lay.

    I was recently reading "Principles of Poultry Science," by Rose. He reports on a study of hens laying into their third year. During their second laying period, these production hens layed on between 90% and 70% of the days (slowly decreasing). I guess that has been my experience.

    What surprised me is that in their 3rd laying period, they kept their daily production above 60%. And, egg quality actually improved for those older hens.

    I've never kept the hens for that 3rd go-around but their 2nd year was always very nearly as good as their first. It just takes awhile to get thru their molt.

    Last edited: Nov 21, 2008

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