I understand that chickens, hens that is, slow down in their egg laying during the fall/winter months due to the lack of daylight. I have had chickens for almost 6 years now. So, I have had time to live this. But this year takes the cake with the slow, if almost nonexistent, egg production of my hens.
I have looked over old record and my oldest hens, numbering only two at this point I am sad to say, are nearly 6 years old. As far as I’m concerned, 2 is not going to make the impact that I am seeing this winter, on a flock that numbers in the 40s. The next oldest “batch” are going to be 3 in the summer. Still in their laying prime. So what?! They get a more diverse diet than the average American does. Fresh organic fruit & veg scraps from our local awesome market! Leftover pasta,bread,stir-fry, whatever we have. They are well fed.
I thought that maybe a vermin was stealing the eggs. Not snakes, they are dormant now. So possibly a weasel or raccoon, but they would kill a chicken or four just for fun, sad to say. So what in the world is going on?
People have suggested placing a light in their coop to simulate daylight. You know, I wonder if the chickens would think,” it’s still light out”, & go outside, then go,”no it’s not” & go back in, and back & forth. Sorry to say, if you are not aware, chicken were not given the largest brains for their head size in nature. But they are sure funny,interesting, & give me food….sometimes!
The hens have been molting since late summer. Molting , which is a natural loss & reproduction of feathers, most definitely stops their egg production. All their energy goes into making new feathers. This makes sense. But…not even 1/2 the hens molted. So still, why the lack of eggs?!?
To conclude this stream of thought, I am going to give the hens, there are 3 beautiful roosters also, apple cider vinegar with “mother” (look it up if you do not know what it is) in their water. Hope this will make a difference in there “innards”.