Why do my 9 Marans stop laying at the end of June? Until next Spring?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by GillyMaran, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. GillyMaran

    GillyMaran New Egg

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    Jul 27, 2011
    Hi. I have kept Marans for 8 years. Early last June (2010) we added 6 pullets to our existing 3 Marans, who were 18 months old at that stage. The pullets were bought by my husband at a local 'Fur & Feather' auction mart, and we have no knowledge of their background or even what exact age they were.. They are strange in that they still have very small combs - almost as if they have been cropped and 2 of them look almost inverted with a 'crease' down the middle.

    Anyway, the 3 'old' hens lay as normal (and up to 3 of the pullets) for a few weeks. Then at the end of June the laying dwindled over July to no eggs at all. We were delighted when we started getting eggs again in March/April this year (2011), and thought things were back to how they should be - 5-8 eggs per day. However this year, at exactly the same time - end of June, the very same thing has happened. We now get one egg a day at most, and it seems only two hens are laying.

    They seem very happy and healthy - talkative, run at full tilt to me when I go to see them, eating layers pellets, love a small amount of corn each evening. They roost & eat in a large chalet style coop but have free range of a quite large orchard/paddock. I have kept tabs on them at half hour intervals, and also scoured hidey holes for eggs ... but am sure they are not laying elsewhere.

    We did have one broody (one of the pullets) 3 weeks ago, but put her in the 'cooler' and she returned to 'normal'. One of the pullets was losing a lot of feathers, but seems to be regaining them, and none of the others are moulting yet. I always expect a drop in eggs when they moult - but in late August/September, not now; and only temporarily.

    I am at a loss as to why this is happening! It does seem to coincide with June 21st / the days shortening, but we have never had this happen before. My husband wonders if they are eating too many of the 'June drop' little apples that fall? But I do make sure they are eating the layers pellets.

    Any help would be most welcome! Sorry you've had to read so much

    Gilly
     

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