I have 3 gold stars and 4 americanas and expected production to go down due to cold weather. However my gold stars are producing and americanas are not for the past 4 days. should I be concerned?
It probably is due to the reduced light. You could use of a ceramic lamp with a 100w bulb. Put it on a timer so it comes on at dusk and off 4-5 hours later (inside the hen house).
If you let your hens free range it could be due to lower protein levels in their diet (fewer insects). Mix some 20% chick starter ration with the layer ration (1 part CSR to 2 parts LR). This will boost your protein levels to about 18%.
Do they sleep with head tucked under their wing at times they should be active? If so, they might be sick-but this time of the year it's probably one or both of the first two mentioned causes.
Where do you live? If they are free ranging even in areas where there are few insects remaining active this time of year I would expect that they would be pulling in enough protein to lay, if they were getting enough total food that is. Is it common for free range birds to have protein levels that are too low?
I have 7 Americaunas and rarely get more than 4 eggs a day on a good day, even when it was warm and the daylight was longer. I find them to be fairly dependable but not "great" producers. Their charm is greater than their production, LOL. I just mention this as a side note to what has already been stated, because my chickens have slowed down a bit as well for those reasons. The Gold Stars and other sex links (they are sex links, aren't they?) are bred for production at any rate so they may keep the eggs coming despite cold weather or shorter days. Lori
my chicken coop has a southern facing window and receives plenty of light. If protein levels are low wouldn't it also effect the gold stars? they seem healthy, no one seems to be a loner and none look like they are being picked on. I would be inclined to agree with gardengalrn's assesment. After this winter I will probably butcher the ones not producing with the exception of my favorite and get more gold stars. So far I have not been disappointed in the gold stars, they have been great for a beginner like me. I sure appreciate all the wonderful advice everyone has given me. Thank you so much!!
Is anyone molting? They don't lay while in molt, and a bunch of my girls are just finishing up molting.
Its hours of light rather than intensity to my knowledge. I have no experience with those birds but in Alaska we had a RIR and some leghorn hybrid layer who would lay eggs all winter long, typically one a day each, because we boosted their photoperiod. The eggs would freeze solid in less than an hour if the birds didn't stay on top of them.