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If young hens stop laying...

Posted by paulns NS zone 6a (My Page) on
Sat, Jan 24, 09 at 19:42

...and each hen starts off with all the eggs she will ever lay already inside her, then does not-laying really mean postponed laying? (he asked hopefully).

We have two two-year-old hens and two one-year-old hens, and none of them have laid an egg for at least the past month. Their coop is pretty small and dark (but cozy), they don't want to go out in the snow, and we've been lucky to get a few hours of sunlight a week for the last two months.

I've read that hens will not lay when they're moulting. The two young ones both started moulting in December. Given the bitter cold temperatures, moulting did not seem a bright idea, timing-wise, but they pulled it off in a magnificent hurry.

The older hens moulted late in the fall. They had all been laying pretty regularly until now, even last winter they didn't slow down much.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: If young hens stop laying...

These type questions can be difficult to answer, there are so many variables. Light is a factor on laying, the more light the more ggs. Heat and cold can effect how hens will lay as well as feeds and age and of course genetics. each year they will generally make fewer but larger eggs.

Amazing isnt it that some decide to toss away their clothing in the coldest weather? I have seen hens nearly featherless in december yet they survive.

RE: If young hens stop laying...

  • Posted by paulns NS zone 6a (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 25, 09 at 14:05

They are certainly tougher than I expected - and sometimes meaner. Last night the boss hen drove the two young ones away from the light bulb I'd put in, forcing them to sleep in the other section of the coop, in -20C temp. They're fine this morning. I'm putting in another light bulb today.

So it's possible for hens to not lay all their eggs if conditions are poor?

If cold does it then that could be the reason as it's been a very cold winter so far. And dark. But if we spend more money on lights we might as well just buy eggs.

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