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Friday, January 11, 2013

Chickens stopped Laying EGGS???

Hello Evan.... thought I'd lost you in the shuffle.   Any suggestions on why these two Sussex chickens have stopped laying.  It is 7 days now and today the floor of the chicken house is covered in fine short feathers.  We keep a light in there when the generator is running and the chicken house is kept warm.  They are 19 months old. 
When we had the Leg Horns they produced wonderfully.  But they were bad at picking at each other.  Bryan thinks we might go back to the Leg Horn but get them debeaked.  The Leg Horns are also very intelligent.  When an Eagle flew over they were long gone under something.  These Sussex are not afraid of anything. 
For those of you new followers, we lost our 7 Leg Horn Chickens to a Fisher which dug a big whole under the pen and killed them all.  It took one and left the others.  That Fisher also killed our 4 beautiful Highland Lynx cats.


  1. Egg laying (and molt) are controlled by day length. It may not be practical to provide 15 hours light/day.

  2. Vikki , chicken dont make egg 365/y, it only about 260 if my memory it ok .. (naturaly for sure )but you can increase that a little

    first thing to add more light, i know in your area is not so easy .. but add more time with light open ... , second you can add the sheel egg in the food ( trake care to crush in very fine part , for be sure chicken dont undersatnd it a egg, if not , it like that and it will begin to eat your own eggs .. ),

    3th .. hihih it normal to the chicken to take a brake ..

  3. do you never thing about quail, domestic quail... for sure you need a little more work to make food .. with the eggs ... it little

    that a male

    maths now :
    3 little quail egss = a chiken egg,
    1 quail egg = same vitamin to a chiken egg.

    quail is adult after 6 weeks , and begin to make egg 1 a day , you can kill it anyware after that ... it very good to eat ( not compared with the chiken for eggs )

    incubation is 15-18 days, for you the best way it to used a chiken ''benty'' need help to find it in english. it a very little hen, you put it in a box over 30 quails eggs, and 15-18 days later you have a surprise ( just think to remouve the chiken form the box every day for few minutes ... hihihi). When baby comes on, you can leave the hen with the baby for a week in a little bit bigger box.

    here the benty

    For make baby with quail, you need 1 male for every 6 hen ( make a 80% breading ) , easy to sex at 6 week..., the only problem i see where you are it the little food for the babys , but with a 100pounds, you make a lot of babys ( dont forget , you give this food only for a week .. , and for sure you can probably give another food too ( never try .. )

    the cage i used for a group (1m+4h) of that is about 12 x 36 inch x and the top at 6 high 1/2x1/2 it very good and same for all sides, cage stay clean, make a incline for the bottum. and eggs will all time in front of the cage. , not mine but take same place long long time ago , sure brian can make something like that

    carcass is probably very good used in the trap line .... for sure cant live alone weasel, rats ,,,like that very much

  4. When I was a kid, we expected to not have fresh eggs during the darkest part of winter, The hens just sat there,making that funny sound they do when there's no cock in sight. They became quarrelsome, picked at each other...
    Vicki and Bryan - I'm in no way an expert on anything - aside from always trying to be optimistic. I so admire the two of you, living as you do... I wish I could do the same.

    I'm Gertrud (Trudie) Pettersson

  5. Hi Vikki,

    Actually, I found your new site fairly quickly, but I couldn't figure out how to post for a while. All good now.

    Stopping laying could be a few things. As the other folks say, less than 12 hours daylight is the most likely cause. Artificial light to bring their day up to 16 hours a day is ideal. My wife uses a timer and adjusts it every few weeks to keep this constant while not wasting electricity during the day. I'm not sure running a gen is practical, but if you eventually go solar you could try this.

    Molting time when they shed their feathers is another stop laying time and this may be it except you say short feathers. During molt, they lose their feathers and grow new ones. Are the feathers whole and look a bit worn at the ends? If yes, they will be taking a break for a few weeks until they don't need the calcium for feather growth and can put if back into egg shell production.

    Cold can make them stop laying. If it is cooler than it has been, they may just be conserving energy. Henhouse temps below about -5 consistently will make them stop, but I think you have a stove in there. Not sure. Any black tips on their combs? That's slight frost bite and a sign it's too cold. Different breeds are more or less cold hardy, and Sussex are thought to tolerate cold well, while leghorns usually don't.

    They could have chicken lice, which eventually stress them enough that they can stop laying and/or get sick. Go in the henhouse without turning on the light after they have been on the roost for a few hours. Using a flashlight, check under their wings and at the base of the breast and neck feathers to see if you can see any straw colored insects about the size of the head of a pin. You might see them on the roost too. They run away from light, and hide in the cracks of the henhouse during the day. This might explain the feathers too, as sometimes if the chickens have lice, they pull out their feathers so they can get at the itchy lice with their beaks. Also, the chickens sometimes naturally molt to get rid of the lice eggs which are attachedto the feather shafts when the lice lay them. If it's lice, clean out the feathers on the floor (the lice eggs are here) and put diatomaceous earth and dirt in a shallow box and let the chickens do their dust baths in it. This will kill the adults but not the eggs. Eventually, when you get new chicks, give the henhouse a complete going over with diluted bleach water while it's temporarily empty. The bleach will kill all the nasties, not just the lice.

  6. Sounds like your chickens are Molting. From what I have read it may take up to 7 weeks to go thru a molt. Give them extra protein during this time. Hopefully they start laying again sooner rather than later for you!

  7. Just had to get in on this 'hen party'! We keep chickens at home, but have never taken them up to the trapline...yet! Getting 2 dogs and 3 cats in and out on ATVs and snowmachines is enough at the moment! But, as this post was from about a month ago, I'm assuming youb are now getting eggs. Here are a few suggestions anyways, just in case! Chickens need light to lay. At home, where electricity is just a switch away, it is easy. Up north, where we have to provide our own power via generator, propane, solar (all of which we use at the cabin) it is a bit more of a challenge. One thing I have incorporated here at home is solar powered Christmas lights. Trying to save a few bucks on lighting for my birds by hanging the little white Christmas lights inside the coop with the solar panel outside where it gets lots of sunlight to recharge. The days are so much shorter this time of year, but it gives the lights enough of a charge to extend the light in the coop for a few hours, which is all it seem to take to keep them laying. They don't need light ALL the time, just a few more hours each day usually does it. Another bit of info on chicken types... I have had really good luck with Brahmas, which tend to be a good cold weather layer. I also have good luck with Isa Browns. They are excellent layers and aren't too big so don't eat more than they are worth. Another great breed is the Americauna, which lay green eggs! I have one who is now into her 4th year and still gives me an egg every few days. Her name is Hope, so maybe that's why! Hope this gives you some help! take care!


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