Chicken House Hoo-Doo Voo-Doo


I’ve been trying to get the chickens to lay more. The first step was getting them back in the house, and stop them from getting out. The netting over the top has worked really well. But even at that, with something around 18 hens, we were still only getting three or four eggs a day. Some of the chickens are older, six or seven years old, and they haven’t laid since the fall molt. I think they’ll lay again in the spring, but there are also a dozen young hens. Lazy young hens, apparently! We’ve tried all sorts of things–changing up their feed, bringing them warm water in the mornings, running a light to extend their “daylight” hours. Any kind of rational and/or hoo-doo voo-doo idea we hear. They’re up to as much as seven eggs a day now. This is still pretty low considering there’s a dozen young hens in there. If you have any ideas that get your chickens to lay in the winter, lay ’em on me!

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on January 11, 2016  

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16 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 1-11

    My egg count is way down too. 13 hens and getting anywhere from 2 to 7 eggs a day. They’ve been molting, it’s been raining, it’s been hot and cold, short winter days, on and on! They do seem to lay more on any given day when I fix them warm oatmeal with chopped fruit and meal worms! They’re still pullets and won’t be full fledged hens until March, so I’m not pushing to hard…..yet!

  2. 1-11

    I have 20 hens and they are slackers this winter! I am lucky to see 3 eggs over 2 days. But all of my girls are getting older and not one is considered a production breed. So, slacking should be expected I guess. lol

    In the past years I have made a big bowl of warm grits with 1/2 cup of cayenne pepper added. I may need to try that. I am tired of buying eggs and chicken feed!

  3. 1-11

    This may sound silly but but it goes. If you have an electrical outlet in the chicken house, place an old radio in there and set it to a station that plays classical music.

  4. 1-11

    I put a light on a timer, it comes on at 3am goes off at 7am to give them a longer day and I feed them a few meal worms. Been giving them a little corn too to help keep them warm. I also have a bunch of lazy young hens, it seems like it took forever for them to get through the molt.

  5. 1-11

    I have 30 chickens – 31 hens and 2 roosters (Roy Chantecleer and Floyd Devereaux). My girls haven’t laid an egg since before Christmas. And they had been dwindling down their production from the first cold spell in November. Before that, we were getting 7 to 14 eggs per day. The first to stop laying was the little hend who laid the pretty tiny blue eggs (she also laid little brown and little white ones). The next to stop was the one who laid green eggs. Then the one who laid the pretty dark brown speckled ones quit. I had white and all shades/tints of peach/pink/coral/cream/lt brown/dk brown in groups of 1-3 for a couple of weeks, then nothing. I know they need more light, and we’re starting to have bitter cold move in now. I’ll be interested in what ya’ll come up with.

  6. 1-11

    I have 6 Rhode Island Reds and 6 probably comets. I am getting 9 to 11 eggs daily. They eat laying pellets, veggie and fruit scraps..They free range on 1 acre… My chickens have not molten since I have had them. Some are over 1 yr and some will be 1 this spring. Not sure if breed affects egg laying. :chicken:

  7. 1-11

    I have ten hens and only one is still molting. I have extra lights for the but this winter only seeing 2-4 a day.

  8. 1-11

    I have 15 layers giving us only 2-3 eggs a day so in November I kept them locked in the coop till noon then let them out (rather than letting them out at 7:30 am) and that did it. I’m getting 8/day on average.

  9. 1-11

    NO ideas here-I only have one hen and she usually lays every other day regular as clockwork. What breed is the black and white rooster-I love his coloring?

  10. 1-12

    We were having the same problem. My husband bought some of those fake ceramic eggs (available at Tractor Supply) and put them in the nesting boxes. It worked! They love those things, they even move them around from one box to another.

  11. 1-12

    I am getting from 6 to 9 eggs almost daily from my nine chickens. Eight are first year layers and one is quite old. I am using a timer to give them 14 hours of light but have been recently told by a person who raised and managed hundreds of layers that a minimum of 16 was necessary and all he gave them was 8 hours of dark to rest. I don’t want maximum production but may set the timer back 2 hours just to see if anything changes. He also doesn’t recommend turning them out at the crack of dawn but rather at noon. Most eggs should be laid by then. Just some random ideas to try……

  12. 1-12

    We had a HEAVY molt this year – crazy weather: hot / cold / wet / dry… added sunflower seeds to the scratch they get each morning and let them out an hour earlier each day. Production is WAY up near normal. 3 blue egg layers still on strike….giving them the evil eye… :chicken: Love your site! Thanks for writing it!

  13. 1-12

    I enjoyed reading all the comments. Your chickens are just beautiful! Love the speckles. :)

  14. 1-13

    I’m assuming this picture is a recent picture? If so, then you have too many roosters with your hens. I see 3 roosters and that’s too many with 18 hens. Since you have several hens that are older than 3 years old, then one rooster would be enough for the amount of hens you have. Too many roosters stresses out the hens and production of eggs will go down. Rule of thumb is no more than one rooster for every 10 hens.

  15. 1-13

    I think that black and white rooster may be a mix. He’s one of my older roosters.

  16. 1-13

    I get six 20 week old Golden Comets ready to lay and keep them for two years. Then I sell them and start over. They never miss a day laying even in the winter here in IN. If I am going to feed and clean up after them, I expect my six gals to be working full time. They do have a heated waterer but no heat lamp unless it gets below zero. My coop is about 5 x 8 with windows to the south. I put bales around it in the winter. They have a fenced yard and go out most every day all year round. I think Red Stars would work about the same way.

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"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....

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