Winter Layers? REALLY?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Barnmaradotte, Dec 6, 2011.

  1. Barnmaradotte

    Barnmaradotte Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2011
    Ok. I want the truth. I got my first flock of chickens this spring that i was super excited about, thinking I had done all my homework and got the BEST winter layers. Well. They were all laying well into october, but then peetered out. Today was my second no egg day.[​IMG] Whats the deal? Here is my equation for the super chicken savy.
    2 Barnevelders
    2 Welsummers
    4 wyandottes
    2 speckled sussex
    and 1 mystery chicken.
    The first 8 on the list are 9.5 months old. Sussexs are 1.5 yrs. The sussex's went into moult in september and I think are almost 100% back to normal or very close.
    One of the Barnies is clearly going into moult, and maybe the other one. Also 1 of the welsummers i think is going into it also. So. Are all my younger of flock going into moult and I will be eggless for a couple months? Is this time frame in age normal for the first BIG moult?
    Oh yea! And i'm talking WITHOUT puting them on the light. Or is this just the rude reality? No eggs in winter without a light! Now if it is just because they are all the same age and going into moult how long untill I can hope for eggs? Now for the sussex's how long until they come back into it? I do think I got an egg from one of them last week, so maybe soon.
    Anyway. Blah blah blah. I'm just bummed.
  2. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    Cheer up, you will be Overrun with Eggs again [​IMG]

    Lights would help a lot, many hens shut down when the days get very short, november to february. It will not help with your molting birds though, that is just a matter of time. Good luck!
  3. partsRheavy

    partsRheavy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 28, 2011
    Eugene has mild temperatures but very low light in the winter. I'm in Texas and if it seems dark to me down here I KNOW it's dark in Eugene!! Egg-laying is light-dependent. In nature a hen wouldn't have any reason to lay eggs in the cold and dark of winter because it would be too cold for baby chicks, right?

    Either let them take a break from laying or........include the coop in Santa's Wonderland light show!! [​IMG] White LED's hooked up to an indoor-outdoor timer set for, um, 3:30 well. You will get winter eggs that way. You can even play Christmas carols to scare the predators away!! [​IMG]

  4. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    Can't speculate on your breeds, my Black Java's are still giving me 2 eggs a day from 5 hens. Different hens are laying based on the eggs produced, although I think one is a complete free-loader and hasn't laid since mid-November.

    Our Java's hatched more or less April fools day 2011. So they've not yet gone into moult. It'll be funny to see my Java roo nearly naked! I'll need a new SD card for my camera for all those pics!
  5. ChickieBooBoo

    ChickieBooBoo Cold Canadian Chick

    Dec 2, 2009
    The decreased lighting and lower temps will both cause them to slow down their laying.
  6. kesali

    kesali Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 27, 2011
    far northern Wisconsin
    Here in northern Wisconsin, it is fricking cold! The temp hangs around 20F for the high and + or - zero at night. My rooster, usually in the habit of making a racket about 5am, hasn't made a sound in the morning for over week! None of them have ventured out of their coop for more than a few minutes, then go right back in again. I have 12 girls and, along with being cold and molting, are doing 5-6 eggs every day. I used to get more, but this cold weather has put them down. I am happy for what I am getting. But, I have winter-hardy chickens Barred Rocks, SL Wyandottes, and Partridge Rocks. My Barred Rocks seem to be laying the most, followed by the Partridge Rocks, and the Wyandottes slacking quite a bit now, but still laying a little.
  7. stormylady

    stormylady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 27, 2008
    I think chicks go through their first real molt at about 20 weeks mine did and I was told on another thread that I should wait to post pictures til after that to have them critiqued, so if they are younger than 20 weeks I would suspect your youngsters will also go through a molt. Believe it or not my best layers this yr for cold weather is My ever faithful Blossom (white leghorn) 2009 Hen, and My Black Sexlink Mini also a 2009 Hen. All the silkies are about a yr and 1/2 old and laying like crazy! Except for the Broodys of course! [​IMG]

    I don't provide extra light or heat to my coops at all. So the large fowl Birds have really laid off because of that and their fall molt. I have no Idea why the silkies are laying as well as they are They dont get extra light or heat either, I haven't seen an egg from my2 sebright hens in over 2 weeks now.
  8. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    Yep 3:30 am is when my lights come on too. Of course thats when the rooster starts crowing too...
  9. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    Aug 20, 2010
    What you describe is the normal time for their first big molt. Yep, fact is they'll molt and you'll get no eggs from then then and they won't all molt at the same time. If you're getting any eggs at all then at least you're ahead of a lot of people. I don't use lights because I expect my birds to lay for years and not be egg laying machines for just one or two years. I don't depend on the egg money for income so I'm happy with letting them lay like nature intended them to.

    The best way to get winter eggs is to get birds that were hatched around March or April. They will then come into laying in the fall and pretty much lay all through their first winter.
  10. buckabucka

    buckabucka Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 13, 2010
    Fairfield, Maine
    My Coop
    Most of my birds laid all winter their first winter (they were born in May). Some production breeds, like leghorns, sex-links, almost never stop laying. I had good luck with barred rocks, buff chanteclers, welsummers, etc. the first winter, but now I am getting 2 eggs a day from 27 hens.

    I don't light, and I think this is to be expected. The best information I read about chickens and egg production is on the BYC page of " Fred's Hens".

    Eggs are seasonal unless you plan ahead. Just think how much more you will appreciate eggs this spring! [​IMG]

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