How are your chickens laying? : LUSENET : Country Families : One Thread

I have five barred rock hens, this would be their second winter laying, and one aracauna hen, same age, the only problem is they are NOT laying. I bet I haven't had a single egg in a month, at least!

I know laying slows down in the winter, but I grew up with white leghorns, and they don't seem to slow down for much of anything! Is there anything I might do to give them a little boost? They have plenty of water (spoiled chickens, they have a heated dish so it won't freeze up on them), and I keep them supplied in laying crumbles (I was told the crumbles are easier for them to digest than the pellets). When I have vegetable scraps, they get them, and I try to let them out of their pen every day there isn't so much snow you can't see the ground.

Any suggestions? I sure miss my fresh eggs -- these store bought things are pi-ti-ful!

-- Christine in OK (, January 03, 2002


It is so frustrating when they quit laying! It was hard to bring my self to buy eggs, it was harder still to use them.

A few of my hens started laying again last week after a 2 month down time. We stood in the kitchen lightly cooking eggs and slurping them from soup cups. We were so glad to have out fresh eggs back!

One winter my girls layed all through the winter. They were free range that year. Last winter they were cooped and quit laying. I read on the other forum about feeding them cat food for the extra protein. I guess this is why mine laid all that winter, I was constantly chasing them off the porch and out of the catfood.

The only other suggestion would be to put a light in the coop.

Just remember how good those fresh eggs will taste when your girls start laying again.

-- Laura (, January 04, 2002.

Ours quit for most of the month of November. But we didn't run out of eggs, as we had a good many in the frig stored up. Now I have 6 hens and we get 3 eggs a day, I know one hasn't laid an egg in a long time, so she is just a pet!

-- Melissa (, January 04, 2002.

Leghorns are genetically engineered laying machines. The others are more normal chickens! It is an error to mistake a chicken for the egg section in a grocery store.

-- Rose (, January 04, 2002.

20 hens and averaging 7 or 8 eggs a day in this below freezing weather.

-- Ann Markson (, January 04, 2002.

I have about 40 hens(who are supposed to be laying!) and in the begining I was getting maybe seven eggs! I started leaving the light on from about 5am until 7-8pm. I also brought some water and feed bowl inside and started supplimenting their scratch with hog feed. It is cheaper and goes further. I am now getting about 30 eggs a day! Good luck!

-- Micheale from SE Kansas (, January 04, 2002.

Our eight hens are laying 3-4 eggs a day, sometimes five. They get layer mash, plus occasional scraps. They are so entertaining!

-- Cat (, January 04, 2002.

I'd suggest leaving a light on in the coop. I think they slow thier laying down because of the lenght of day (light) rather than temperture. We did that and got a few more eggs.

-- Kelly (, January 04, 2002.

I have different types of chickens and Leghorns have shut down because they are older and the molt they go through. Perhaps you are remembering first year layers.?? Right now I am getting brown eggs and the Leghorns are taking the winter off. Best to keep young birds. My sister mentioned that a chicken lays most it's first year. So.... Always raise a new batch a year. :o) I have young and old birds, and only the young are laying right now.

-- notnow (, January 04, 2002.

They really need 14 hours of daylight to lay in the winter, also, find the best second cutting alfalfa hay you can find and feed a few handfulls or so everyday, really boosts the egg production and makes the yolks nice and deep yellow-orange! Chickens need vegetable matter daily as part of their diet, just grain alone doesn't meet their needs for optimum egg production, and the alfalfa will fill the bill.

-- Annie Miller in SE OH (, January 04, 2002.

feed them wheat.

-- carol (, January 04, 2002.

We have four hens that are Light Brahmas and we are getting four eggs each day. We have a light in the hen house that has a timer on it set for the light to come on at 7:00 a.m. and go off at 9:00 pm.

-- Terry - NW Ohio (, January 04, 2002.

I have six layers, four barred rock and two arucaunas. I feed them Purina Layena and give them hot water in a black rubber pail in the am and pm. The Arucaunas are laying everyday (now isn't that strage?) and the barred rocks are taking turns! Average eggs being layed per day comes to 4-5. The temp here has been -5 to -10 at night with daytime highs of 15 for the past two weeks. The hens are cooped up most of the time. Yesterday the temp got up to 34 so they got to have the door open and I opened it today as well. Yesterday we got six eggs. They also get oyster shell free choice. I haven't ever given them scraps except stale bread. Prior to the snow cover, they were "allowed" to fly out of their pen and free range. Of course, we have had snow cover since the first part of December. Good luck.

-- JoAnn in SD (, January 05, 2002.

Okay, now I'm just plain jealous! I have been meaning to get some alfalfa for them, but my brother has it in his barn, and I just haven't gotten him penned down while we are down there. We should be down there next week, so maybe I can get some then.

I may be able to try the light, I'll just have to unplug their water dish during the day as we just have an extension run to the house right now for use in below-freezing weather, but it has been warming up enough during the day that they should only need the water dish plugged in at night. Wish me luck, hopefully I can get some real eggs soon!

We didn't have any stored because if I have extras, my mom and sister love them. Since mom is in an apartment now, and she and daddy supplied us with eggs for years, I have taken over that position now, and supply her and sis with eggs whenever they I can. I am hoping to get more chicks this spring so I will have a better supply! Eventually I would like to have about 18, and a rooster too!

-- Christine in OK (, January 05, 2002.

We have a very hardy flock of hens of a dual-purpose breed. I'm not sure the name of the breed, but I believe they are a cross between Rhode Island Red and something else. They are brown egg layers; the hens are brown and the roosters white.

We have had temps down in the single digits and are getting up to three large eggs a day. I have twelve hens. They say only 70% of this breed will lay, but since they are only about six months old, I am waiting till spring to see if more will lay. They are on a standard layer ration from the feed store and live in a straw bale coop with a wood-and-tarp roof and clear plastic on the south wall; the only source of heat is the composting hay bedding that we turn everyday (adding dry hay on top as needed).

-- Cathy N. (, January 05, 2002.

I forgot to add that we also feed all our kitchen scraps to the hens. This is our first winter with chickens; I am already looking forward to spring! (More bugs for their diet, lower feed bill, etc.)

-- Cathy N. (, January 05, 2002.

Hello Christine, We live in Southern Missouri, (Ozarks). We have ten hens and two roosters. There was a period that they molted just before cold weather started but, they are now laying three to four eggs a day.

When they were not laying, I increased their feed by two cups and began feeding them twice a day. They get their feed in the mornings and table scraps in the evening. I make sure that they have plenty of water and have to break the ice sometimes twice a day.



-- (, January 05, 2002.

Breaking the ice is the absolute worst part of having chickens; ranks right up there with cleaning out the chicken house!

-- Christine in OK (, January 05, 2002.

I have 7 hens and a rooster and my girls have slacked off a tad the last month..from 7 eggs a day to 3 or 4 daily total...they are 100% free-ranging chickens who get locked up in the coop at dusk..they are fed laying pellets and all the kitchen scraps they light in the coop, just South-facing windows...we use a metal water hanger and it IS a pain to break the ice every morning, but here in Alabama our winters are not long enough to have this be a significant problem......I don't want any more eggs until Spring anyway, so the hens and I are both content right now with just enough eggs for cooking and baking...they go gangbusters in the other seasons and I end up selling a ton of eggs! I have Rhode Island Reds and Buff Orpingtons..

-- lesley (, January 05, 2002.

As all the hens resume laying, this week has been an easter egg hunt!

2 0r 3 in the chicken house, may or may not be in nesting box, 1 egg in each doghouse, 2 in the half-barrel planter near the doorstep and today we found a stash of 3 eggs in the garage.

Free range chickens are so interesting!

-- Laura (, January 05, 2002.

My free-range hens never lay egges anyplace except in their coop..when I first got chickens last year, one of the folks at Christian homsteader's forum suggested tto keep them in the coop until noontime for the first three weeks....I did, and now they are let out at 9am and still run back to the coop to lay their eggs..we also have the food and water in the coop as well, so they have learned that all the goodies but the insects are in the coop..In the summer, they spent nearly all the time under the huge wrap-around porch nd I was concerned tht they would lay eggs there, but nope, off they went up the hill to the coop....perhaps if you would like them to lay in the coop all the time, you might consider keeping them inside for a few weeks until later in the day????? or perhaps you like all that exercise from having a daily egg hunt???LOL LOL...

-- lesley (, January 06, 2002.

Lesley, I usually don't let them out until about 2 or 3 in the afternoon, and the only problem I've had with laying outside the nests is one dumb bird who gets up on the roost and drops her eggs on the floor every time! I keep their food and water inside the coop also, give them their kitchen scraps in their pen, and let them out for insects and extra green stuff, as all the grass in their pen has been long since eaten!

-- Christine in OK (, January 06, 2002.

Lesley, that's why I have kids, they love the egg hunt, and yes, I DO need the exercise!

My hens do this every year when they resume laying after their downtime. Soon, they will all go back to the nesting boxes.

At this time, I cannot keep my hens cooped until I get a hotwire put around them. Our older Border Collie breaks them out of jail every chance he gets. He doesn't hurt them, he just wants to count them. My older barred rocks hang out at his house, eat his food, lay in his bed and perch and poop all over him. They all seem very content with this arrangement. Who am I to interfere with their pursuit of happiness? (very tongue in cheek)

-- Laura (, January 07, 2002.

I have more bantams than I want to admit----& way toooo many roosters but I hatched them all out & have not found the right homes for them yet!!! ha!! My hens are laying well!!!!! Also in the winter time I put a little vinegar in their water-----it seems to work/ my Dad taught me that many, many moons a go!!!

-- Sonda (, January 07, 2002.

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