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DaisyDay

Chicken owners--help!

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We have 5 hens and they seem to have stopped laying. We're getting maybe 1 egg a day in their roosting area. We're using the feed that's especially for layers. This started before the weather turned cooler so I don't think it's related to that. A few months ago, we were getting so many eggs we couldn't give them away fast enough. The hens are all about 1 year old.

 

Any suggestions on what might be the problem or what we might do differently?

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Is it possible they're going to molt?

 

 

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I guess that's possible. We are seeing a lot of feathers around here. I heard they slowed down their laying when they moult but I didn't think it would be THIS slow!  :crying:

 

We're new chicken owners so I guess pretty clueless. 

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Is something else eating the eggs? We had a similar problem and it turned out a snake was eating the eggs.

 

It may be a decrease in light as well. You could try adding a light for a few extra hours.

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Ours do this every fall. Between the cooler weather, lack of daylight hours, and molting they take a break. Frustrating, but normal (at least in our experience).

I hope this is the case. Lots of change going on in their little routine all at once. Then we have the occasional dog chasing them to add to their stress. 

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Is something else eating the eggs? We had a similar problem and it turned out a snake was eating the eggs.

 

It may be a decrease in light as well. You could try adding a light for a few extra hours.

The snake thing occurred to me but OMG, I hope not! I'd pass out cold on the ground if I saw a snake in there.  :svengo:

 

Let's hope it's a light issue. I could run a light out there for a couple of hours a night and see if that helps.

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Ours never started up again. Then they got sick (at various times) and died. We did not have success with chickens...

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Ours do this in Autumn. My sister swears by getting a couple of extra point of lay chooks each winter as they are the only ones that lay well through the winter.

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Ours went through a molt right at about one year and then started laying heavy again.  We like to alternate when we get hens (get chicks at the "normal" time in the spring, but also consider getting more in September) -this keeps you in a steady supply.

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Sounds like molting.  I have some chickens that look pretty bad during a molt and others you can tell besides the feathers on the ground.  Mine have picked up a little but I expect them to slow down during the winter.  I don't put a light in my coop because I prefer them to have their yearly rest naturally.  I've read it extends their life as well.  Not to mention I've heard about coop fires from heating lamps. 

 

If you live in an area that gets cold in the winter, don't fret about them being too cold.  It's actually harder on them in the summer.  As long as they can get out of the wind they are fine.  I make an area with dry straw and wind protection for mine in run.  Also make sure they have good ventilation up high in the coop because they can get frost bitten if they don't. 

 

Sorry if you know all of that already.  :)

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At about a year is normal for molting so if they're the same age then that would probably play into it. Mine completely quit laying if they molt in the winter/fall for a month or so.

 

 

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It's the short days. Hens lay best with 12-14 hours daylight. Rig up a bulb on a timer and it will help. However, they're also probably molting. It's an annual thing for chickens!

 

 

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All good information. Thank you.

 

It appears to be a combination of molting and the shorter days of fall. We'll wait it out and see how it goes. 

 

We're gonna have to tell our friends and family members to buy their eggs at the store for a while. (gasp)

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Updating!

 

Now that it's early February, the days are getting a little longer and we're seeing at least 3, sometimes 4, eggs a day. So that's an improvement. 

 

I will also add that we're down to 4 hens now, instead of 5. Something killed one of our girls and we still have no idea what it was. It was broad daylight in late afternoon, when it happened. We all felt so bad. Since then, we've been very vigilant about getting them up close to the house as the sun starts setting each day.

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