Chicks not laying.

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Chicks not laying.

Post by Stef23 » Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:57 pm

We have a block of 10 mixed breed chickens ranging in age between 18 and 30 months. Three or four months ago we were getting probably 5 or more eggs daily. We are probably down to between 1 and 3 max daily.
I wondered if anyone could suggest what could be wrong or how we can increase the yield. Any advice would be welcomed.
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Re: Chicks not laying.

Post by LadyA » Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:42 pm

To be honest, I don't think there's anything wrong. It's the time of year when chickens start to moult and can go off lay because of that, and also, there's a lot less light with longer nights and shorter days coming in, and it's daylight hours which govern laying to a large extent. They may not lay again until Spring, and the longer days. The other thing is that your chickens, some of them, are getting on a bit, for chickens. Some of them are heading for 3 years old. So, those ones wouldn't be laying very regularly any more anyway.

I don't know if you can increase the yield. Chickens, like all female animals/birds including ourselves, are born with a certain number of egg cells. Once they've used up their supply, they just don't have any more. Some strains use them up faster than others. The hybrid layers and other "good layer" types that lay a lot of eggs in their first couple of years use their supply a lot sooner than some of the pure breeds which only lay for the Summer months, and then take a nice long rest over the Autumn and Winter.
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Re: Chicks not laying.

Post by Icemaiden » Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:27 pm

You could use artificial light to extend the apparent day length- that's what commercial egg producers do. Nature's way though is to let the hens have a bit of a rest over the winter before coming back into lay in the spring, as Lady A says.
As she also says though, they do lay the most eggs in their first year or two, production steadily decreasing after that. Some pure breeds will lay for many years but stop for a break each winter; hybrids will often lay through their first winter or two but won't live as long.

Enjoy them and steel yourself to buying some eggs over the winter. The alternative is to cull the older ones and get some youngsters in or rehome some ex-batts; they're likely to lay through this winter (though not necessarily next winter).
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