Why I'm getting almost no eggs

rascal66

Songster
Sep 10, 2015
755
953
237
Washington
Hello!

It's just about Fall now, and as expected, several of my older hens have begun their molt. However, with maybe 30 other hens that aren't really molting (or just minimally molting maybe), suddenly I'm getting only 5 eggs a day.

To make the scenario clear, I have about 65 hens with 2 active roosters (however they seemed to recently stop mating as much, if at all?)
Of these hens, I have less than 20 that are young and are almost at laying age. There are at least 7 that are mature and currently molting heavily, so I know I have at least 30 that won't give me eggs as of this moment. But what about the others that seem fine?

I am feeding layer crumble and they free range daily. Nothing has changed other than the sudden rain and drop in temp.

I went from getting about 30+/- eggs about two months ago to now getting maybe 5 a day... My only honest guess as to why this has happened is just the season change. But how can I encourage them to lay again?

Last week I was at least getting 11 eggs. Now I'm at 5.

I will also note, I just turned on a light in the coop since it's getting darker earlier just to last until later in the evening. Their droppings all appear normal and regular. No sign of illnesses. I'm stumped. :(

Any theories? I want to try and start another round for incubating and I have a bunch of people asking for eggs! Haha.
 
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rascal66

Songster
Sep 10, 2015
755
953
237
Washington
Days are getting shorter (and thus less daylight) so it's not unusual to see a decline in production. My younger hens that were steadily laying are now laying maybe once every other day.

Also the heat lamp is totally unnecessary and is a fire risk, I would really suggest rethinking that.
Aside from the heat lamp I do have a small led lamp in there for lighting. Can definitely remove the heat lamp, it was usually on a timer, I can't disagree on the fire hazard there.

I suppose patience is my best bet. Last year with some timed lighting, I still had many winter eggs!
 
Nov 28, 2017
2,842
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UK
Days are getting shorter (and thus less daylight) so it's not unusual to see a decline in production. My younger hens that were steadily laying are now laying maybe once every other day.

Also the heat lamp is totally unnecessary and is a fire risk, I would really suggest rethinking that.
x2. Your eggs will probably have very low fertility too, as this isn’t naturally the time of year to raise chicks.

Can’t agree more on rethinking the heat lamp though. It’s useless to fully feathered chickens and is very dangerous. I’ve read many heart breaking posts on BYC of coops catching on fire because of them, luckily the chickens manage to escape from most of them.
 

slordaz

hatchaholic
5 Years
Apr 15, 2015
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Idaho
They don't have to be in full molt not to lay, mine usually stop laying a bit before they start full or partial molt, so it will be a bit before production comes back up to normal, I know my Rhode Island reds and my crosses have all done pretty good at laying during the winter, they are still molting though even the roosters go through molts, so fertility will most likely be way off too.
 

DiYMama540

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Jun 25, 2019
3,942
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My Coop
Agree with others about the supplemental heat, there's no need for that. Your girls will adjust, and have each other to snuggle up to if they need.

You said they free range, any possibility they've found a new place to lay? I've got a nest box protester at my house, finally found one of her nests...had 5 eggs in it, and another had 3!
 

rascal66

Songster
Sep 10, 2015
755
953
237
Washington
Agree with others about the supplemental heat, there's no need for that. Your girls will adjust, and have each other to snuggle up to if they need.

You said they free range, any possibility they've found a new place to lay? I've got a nest box protester at my house, finally found one of her nests...had 5 eggs in it, and another had 3!
My husband suggested I look around to make sure they didn't find a new little nesting spot somewhere. I've yet to find one but I'll try to peek again everynow and then. They can be sneaky for sure, though!
 

rascal66

Songster
Sep 10, 2015
755
953
237
Washington
They don't have to be in full molt not to lay, mine usually stop laying a bit before they start full or partial molt, so it will be a bit before production comes back up to normal, I know my Rhode Island reds and my crosses have all done pretty good at laying during the winter, they are still molting though even the roosters go through molts, so fertility will most likely be way off too.
I've only had chickens now for 3 years, and this is the first time I'm really trying to observe molting and laying behavior. I know some hens are going through a partial or small molt too.. But maybe it will be similar to what you've experienced? I'll just have to keep watching them. But I enjoy that lol
 

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