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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
They're about a year old; we got them maybe 10 months ago. They were fat and happy, grew to maturity fairly quickly and laid us lots of lovely eggs.<br><br>
Fast-forward to a few months ago, and they went broody (or so I thought). Stopped laying, hung out all the time in their bedroom, fluffed themselves up and looked vicious if I tried to check under them for eggs. That was around Christmastime.<br><br>
Now it's March, and they STILL aren't laying! I chalked it up for a while to continued broodiness, then to the stress of moving house. But we've been in this house for months now, and they're not acting broody any more--they happily wander all around the garden pecking and being their usual cheerful selves. Someone suggested it was the hot weather, but it's been cooler recently and still no eggs. I'm fairly sure they don't have a hidden nest, as they've never laid outside their cage before, and I checked their favourite haunts today just to make sure.<br><br>
What's more, they're moulting like you wouldn't believe! There are feathers EVERYWHERE outside, and their tail feathers are completely gone, giving them a rather odd, guinea-fowl look. They've lost some weight too, so they generally look bedraggled and unhappy, even though their behavior is fine.<br><br>
Does anyone know what this could be? Are they sick? Do chickens customarily moult or stop laying in the summer? They stopped for a while in winter, I think; I can't remember if they were broody or just didn't like the cold.<br><br>
Anyway, I'm getting a tad frustrated with them and DH is threatening to eat them, so any advice would be welcome! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue">
 

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How many birds do you have? Are they all molting at once? Sounds to me like there is probably a clutch somewhere on your property. We have had hens for more than a year who have hidden eggs in various bushes etc around the yard. We found a dozen in the blackberry patch once<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: They may still be adjusting to their new home. I think you would know if they were sick.<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/cold.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Cold">:<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/cold.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Cold">:<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/cold.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Cold">: Its still cold and there is so much snow covering everything so my ladies have only been laying because of the light in the coop.<br><br>
Hopefully you figure this out soon so you don't have to <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Eat">: them instead of their eggs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
We only have two--Bridget and Saffron. I'll go on another garden-wide egg hunt today. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue">
 

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They lay a lot less in the winter time (less light affects them). Commercial farms have lamps in the hen houses to compensate that. Once spring rolls around, you should be fine. This happened to our first flock and is happening to our current one as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That's the trouble. Sorry, I should have specified--we live in NZ! So it's just coming into autumn now, and they haven't been laying all summer. I'm worried they're not going to start again because of winter kicking in. I'm fond of my chickens, but I don't want to give 'em bed and board for a whole year without getting a few eggs! (Okay, I'm callous and mean).
 

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Still no luck finding a clutch somewhere, hmmmmm. Guess you are going to have to start squeezing them soon<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue"><br><br>
They just don't seem to get it when you have those <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/heartbeat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="heartbeat"> to<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/heartbeat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="heartbeat"><br>
mine just kind of look at me like I am<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/nut.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="nut"> I suppose they might be right.
 
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