Would severe cold affect laying?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by candr01, Feb 20, 2015.

  1. candr01

    candr01 Out Of The Brooder

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    Here in Charlotte, NC we don't see much cold weather. This week temps have not risen above freezing and have got to 4*F (-8*F with windchill) over night. My Australorp, who was laying regularly every day, seems to have cut back on her laying this week to about one egg every second day. Is this typical when temps get cold?

    I only have two girls and so I know they are cold in their coop with each only having one other to snuggle with but I figured they are ok. Their coop is 4'x4'x3.5' (plus covered run) so not overly spacious and is really pretty draft free. I wrapped an extra tarp around their windows to provide a little more protection and buffer from the wind. They are dry with lots to eat and lots to drink. They have plenty of ventilation, no sign of any condensation at all and no frostbite. But I can imagine they are stressed.

    Has anyone else noticed a drop in laying due to the extreme weather this week?
     
  2. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine have cut back somewhat, but not as much as I would have thought and not as much as some other people are saying. We're still getting pretty many eggs. I have a feeling that egg laying can be influenced not only by the temperature but just as much by the length of daylight and the age of the hen.
     
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Day length is the primary determinant.
    An extreme cold snap or extreme heat can affect rate of lay as would any stressor. It should be temporary. Without stress, day length - whether static, lengthening or shortening is the biggest factor.
    Many think they stop when it's cold but consider that short days also coincide with cold days.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2015
  4. candr01

    candr01 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 25, 2014
    Charlotte, NC
    My Coop
    Yes, I understand about the day length. Both my girls are pullets, about 9 months old, and only started laying late December. They've been really consistent up until this week when we've had a record breaking cold snap. I imagine it is stress due to the cold that is affecting them. I just feel bad that despite my best efforts they are still getting stressed to the point that their laying is being affected.

    Any other ideas to help them in the short term? I can't insulate the coop right now. I'm thinking just wait it out. Tonight's temps (and moving forward) are supposed to be a balmy 24*F. Is it particulaly detrimental for them to go through a period of stress every now and again? It's probably not terrible, but not ideal, right?
     
  5. nj2wv

    nj2wv Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine have cut down also. A lot of my eggs are frozen so I think since they crack when they freeze then they must be eating the broken eggs. Or it could be stress too.
     
  6. WNCcluck

    WNCcluck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just hold on. The cold really doesn't impact the laying that I can tell. We've been quite a bit colder up here in the mountains than y'all have been in the queen city. Our hens have laid right through the cold. All will be well.
     
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    They're fine IMO. Spring and warmer weather is right around the corner. If they have good nutrition, clean water and excellent ventilation, they'll be fine.
    Don't feel bad. Their ancestors suffered worse weather.
     
  8. MountainOrchard

    MountainOrchard Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine have cut way back too - the past couple of days we've had wind chills of -10 and both days we've gotten one egg from 8 hens. I'm guessing they're a little thrown off their routine and also using a lot of energy to stay warm.
     
  9. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've noticed a slight decline in rate of lay among 2 of my 6 pullets over the past week, and this coincides with temps that are much colder than normal (-10 degrees at night, 0-10 during the day), so yes, I think extreme cold can influence laying.

    When it's going to be 15 or colder at night, I usually give them a handful of scratch late in the day, as this helps keep them warmer at night.
     

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