Chickens stop laying when stressed
I hate to say this, but I
miss our modern hybrid chickens. When we went to Ohio a few weeks
ago, I did what I used to do with our Golden Comets --- make sure they have an automatic chicken waterer and then toss down enough
feed on the ground to last them several days. Sure, I knew the
chickens would gorge during days one and two and then fast a bit, but
we'd never had a problem using this method with our Golden Comets in
tractors, and our current flock has over two acres of woods to scratch
for worms in.
to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the
RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.
When we came home, the
flock looked happy and healthy...but they'd stopped laying. In
fact, even before we left, our six near-adult hens were only averaging
about 3.25 eggs per day, or an egg 54% of the time. Meanwhile,
the eggs they did lay were so much smaller than our Golden Comet eggs
that I often doubled the eggs in a recipe.
I've heard Mark mutter
"freeloaders" under his breath a time or two already --- lack of real
eggs will make a man cranky. On the other hand, I did get the
chicks off to a late start last spring, so I'm giving them the benefit
of the doubt. We'll see how well our Black
Australorps and Cuckoo Marans lay come spring and put on
our thinking caps if they're still not worth their salt. I really
want to keep a chicken that we can reproduce on the farm, but I also
want lots of eggs without having to pay for too much feed. If I
have to keep hunting until I find a better breed, I will.