Hen question

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Question for all you poultry guru's. I have some rhode island reds that have been wonderful layers over the past year. they have stopped laying this last month. I assume they have gone into the molt stage. My question is will they come out before spring and start laying again? How long do they stay in this stage? Or do we have chicken noodle soup over the next few weeks.

PS thanks JD for a wonderful magazine and good luck in your retirement. We are looking forward to reading your thoughts on the subject.


-- Scott Hansen (dshans@hotmail.com), November 13, 1999


Goodness Scott, no need for chicken noodle soup yet!!!!!! The molt doesn't last too long and those hens have lots of good laying to do. We have 3 year old chickens who are still good layers and I have a friend with 10 year old hens that still lay ( I wouldn't have believed this but he is a very good friend and has no reason to lie). While it may not make sense to commercial growers to keep hens past a year, homesteaders don't force production and benefit for longer. I'm not suggesting that 10 year old hens are sensible but yours certainly have lots of utility left.

Our policy is just to cut down on our egg use during molting. Good luck.


-- Kim (fleece@eritter.net), November 13, 1999.

Scott; Kim is right on! We cut down on the commercial feed during molt and let the birds run free range more. Try using a nest egg such as a golf ball, wooden egg,or a small goard in the nest box to get them thinking. I works! good luck.

-- Lawson Moore (marmerduke@aol.com), November 15, 1999.

Scott, We have a small flock of 50 or so with some new pullets. We have had very good luck with an added light source, especially in the winter. All of our birds are free range. We live in a heavily infested area of 'coons and 'possums, but we have a chicken house rigged with a light. The chickens come in at dusk and we lock them up in the coop. The chickens have laid up to 22 dz in 1 week. They are slowing some now, but I can still get 2 dz a day. A timer works well with a fluorescent or incandescent light fixture. Ours is on 24hrs, but 14-16hrs works well. Good luck.

-- c. terry (dragginbottomfarm@hotmail.com), November 15, 1999.

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