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Old 01-29-2013, 09:22 PM   #1
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My chickens aren't laying...

It's been 3 weeks since we've seen an egg we have 6 chickens, they aren't molting, they are all between 9 mo- 18 mo old. It's been very cold ( between 5-20 degrees) and very snowy so they can't free range at all ( hard to do in 2 ft of snow!) they have a snow free run though. Is it just the shorter days and the cold? Is there something I can do to encourage them to lay?
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:04 PM   #2
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Re: My chickens aren't laying...

Yep, you've got it. Mine slowed down to a pitiful couple eggs when it was well below freezing here for a week. Most notably though, chickens biological clocks tell them to slow down or stop laying when there's not enough daylight hours anymore. What you can do is put a light on a timer in the coop if it's big enough, mine is in the run over the feeders. I have a 100 maybe 150? watt bulb set on a little plug timer to come on at 4 am and off at 7am when the sun is fully up. Waking them those few hours earlier resets their internal clocks and should get them laying again. It works for mine. If they show any signs of moulting though, I would turn off the light and let them have a break as it can put too much stress on a moulting hen. If it's the cold getting to them, a heat lamp (inside the coop) might encourage laying again. I also find that my girls are very prissy and love fresh straw every couple weeks in the nests.

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Old 01-29-2013, 11:40 PM   #3
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Re: My chickens aren't laying...

Thanks! It is supposed to warm up this coming weeks so I think we will wait it out another week or two before we invest a lot in a light. We don't have electricity out there, so we are trying to figure out a (safe, inexpensive) way to get a light on in there. I was worried something was wrong with them! 3 of them molted a few months ago, how often do they molt?
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:05 AM   #4
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Re: My chickens aren't laying...

They moult just once a year when the daylight hours start to shorten and it gets cold. No nothing is wrong with them, just a natural biological break. I have four that are not laying right now and haven't been for a good 8+ weeks, one is just getting over a moult and the other three have no excuse. LOL! Not having power would stink. I ran a extension cord out our garage window to the coop. Thankfully it's not very far.
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:37 AM   #5
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Re: My chickens aren't laying...

We're had the same issue... we did put a light in our coop (& still average about 3-4 eggs tops, from 8 hens), but it is only 40 watts so as not to give off too much heat. We were told (& read) that it is better to have a lower wattage bulb in case of a power failure so their bodies don't become adapted to having extra heat & since we do have a run of outages around here we decided to play it safe. Now I am sure you will read something on the net that says a higher wattage is just fine too, but that is what we do.

Yesterday when the weather was in the 50s (for a day... SUCH a tease!!) we got 5 eggs, even though it was all rainy & gloomy... today we are supposed to have snow, so who knows how many eggs they'll lay... poor girls w/the ridiculous temp fluctuations one day to the next... poor me... I hate them too!! LOL
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:32 AM   #6
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Re: My chickens aren't laying...

I have a light in my coop. It is a red heat light that you would use to bood chicks too. It is hooked to the top of the shed ceiling and we have it on from 6am till 7pm. I run an extension cord from my garage also it is weather proof. We have nine hens and get 5 to 8 eggs a day but usually 6 or 7. One of our game birds is nesting and is not laying andour other game bird is not laying much at all so our other full size hens lay almost everyday all seven of them.
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:41 AM   #7
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Re: My chickens aren't laying...

Quote:
Originally Posted by RJ6Mommy View Post
I have a light in my coop. It is a red heat light that you would use to bood chicks too. It is hooked to the top of the shed ceiling and we have it on from 6am till 7pm. I run an extension cord from my garage also it is weather proof. We have nine hens and get 5 to 8 eggs a day but usually 6 or 7. One of our game birds is nesting and is not laying andour other game bird is not laying much at all so our other full size hens lay almost everyday all seven of them.
I am curious, is there an advantage to having the light on all day?? DH read you want the light on in the wee hours... to allow for 14 hours of light. I was totally against it until we got NO eggs & had to BUY them. I kept thinking about friends/neighbors who were losing hens to predators & how we could do everything "right" allowing it to go all natural to keep them laying as long as possible, & then along comes a predator. I gave in... but am still not keen on the timing of the light.
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:21 AM   #8
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Re: My chickens aren't laying...

We are in the same situation, 9 hens and only 1-2 eggs a day for the past few months. Some of them are moulting. We do have light in the coop. Led rope lights, So I don't feel to bad having the light on all day. So for us it's moulting and the cold. We've had negative temps for the high of the day.
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:56 AM   #9
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Re: My chickens aren't laying...

We are in the same position. 26 hens and yesterday I got a measly 6 eggs. Girls are just taking a break, but I am anxious for Spring and lots of fresh air free ranging.
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:58 AM   #10
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Re: My chickens aren't laying...

I personally don't think there's any advantage other than maybe if the weather was SO bad that the girls refused to leave the coop. You want to expose them to the 13-14hrs, but when the sun's up the light doesn't need to be on. Chickens are very hearty but extreme cold puts stress on their bodies. Stress=no eggs. In that case I would use a heat lamp during the cold snap and turn it off when the temps climb again.
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