The state of the molt. Just kill me already edition.

I’m at the end of my rope, gentle reader. It’s freaking January. Yes, the days are still short, but this has been going on since late September, and we are now into month four. I could almost handle that if it weren’t for the tease. Let’s review:

Abby: Abby just stopped laying a couple of weeks ago, powering through November and December while the others were sipping Mai Tais, and so is exempt from this rant. You take a month off, girl; you’re amazing. You get good and rested so you can broody mama my Blue Copper Marans babies come spring, m’kay?

Coraline: Is laying every other morning, which I find perfectly acceptable for a mature girl in January. Carry on, Coraline. Well done.

Tallulah, Trixie: Still nothing. Now, Trixie is into month ten of not laying, and she did molt very late. Her new feathers are in, but her comb is still pale. She has been squatting for me lately, though; a pleasant surprise. I am hoping all hope is not yet lost. Tallulah, on the other hand, is starting to piss me off. She has a gorgeous new coat of gleaming white feathers and is looking terribly posh. Her comb is big and red. But does she lay? No. Does she try? No. Does she even squat? No, she treats me like a sex offender. My patience with Tallulah grows short.

Haley, Maisie, Hermione, Alexia: Here’s where the tease comes in, and it hurts. Each of these girls has molted, grown new feathers, returned to a full, red comb, squatted, laid…and then stopped. I had about a dozen eggs each from Haley and Maisie, nice and regular, for a while. Hermione had two night eggs, which really got my dark brown egg hopes up, and Alexia laid one egg in The Baby Box (a large…from Alexia). And, then…crickets. Nothing for weeks.

Is it the shorter days? Quite possibly. This is my first winter with mature hens, so I’m learning. Are they hiding them? If it were just Hermione, I’d be ripping the barn apart, but…all of them?! It seems unlikely. Have they been stressed? Ah. That.

The day Buffy was killed, I found the other fifteen girls huddled in the coop, most of them hiding inside the nesting boxes. I found them in a similar condition a few days later, although I was unable to identify a threat or any damage or injury. It’s possible.

Well, it’s a good thing you have 2.0, I can hear you say. You’d think so, wouldn’t you? First year hens power through. First-year hens keep your egg supply going through the winter. This is why we want to get a few chicks each spring, right? Right??!!

I had zero eggs on Sunday. Actual zero. Zee. Roh. I had two before 9am yesterday, and thought, “Okay, that’s how it works; a bad laying day is followed by a really good one.” Those were the only two eggs I had all day. Mae is laying at the moment, thank dog.

Dorothy is now laying reliably, every other day, but Alice is MIA. What the hell, Alice?! I get occasional eggs from the bad girls.

Now, it’s possible I’ve been giving them too many treats, but that shouldn’t stop 2.0. I have looked and looked for stashes, and haven’t found any. I have wormed using cayenne pepper.

I’m sure it will resolve soon, but it’s all very frustrating in the meantime. Slackers.

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8 thoughts on “The state of the molt. Just kill me already edition.

  1. You’re not alone. None of my second year hens are laying at all. I have 10 that are not laying at all. My spring born babies (same age as yours) are not laying much, and my red sex links are picking up all the slack. They are laying like it’s a contest. What I love about them most, is they all lay before lunch. Never a late layer with those girls.

    We have so many eggs we had to post an egg ad on Kijiji. Already have 7 dozen sold in 1 hour.

    Those blue eggs, they make the sales!! I need more now :D

  2. Our chickens are doing fine (10 eggs yesterday out of 12 chickens, 9 of them pullets), but we have a red heat light in with them as temps have been pretty far below freezing for the last six weeks and we were worried about frost bite. Before the heat light we were getting about 5 a day.

    • I guess they really just need to take care of themselves first. Nothing wrong with THAT; a girl’s gotta look out for herself!

      • I have 2 comets, 1 SLW, 1 GLW, 3 Black Australorps and 1 buff orpington. I am not supplementing heat or light. They only had heat when Frances was in the chicken hospital, but I DO have two windows in the coop. I think yours are outside much longer than mine per day though. Since the days are so short, mine average about 3-4 hours per day during the week and 6 hours a day on the weekends.

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