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My Hens aren't laying nearly as many eggs.

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

First off, I am a new chicken owner and appreciate this site more than I can express.    

 

I have 6 hens that are 6 months old.  They have been laying around 5 eggs a day for about a month.  One of my buff orpingtons went broody the second week of August.  I tried all the suggestions to get her out of it.  She was determined to be a mama.  Since nothing worked, and I really didn't mind having a few more hens, I went to the local farm store 2 weeks ago and got 3 more chicks.  The transition for the broody hen and the 3 newbies went very well In fact she is one happy mama and has a very strong bond with her new babies.  

 

The rain that wasn't supposed to start for 4 days started the next day and turned fairly cold. Or maybe I should say cold for 2 day olds.  It rained for 4 days straight and got colder each day.  Even after the rain stopped it still took another 4 days for it to warm up enough for the new chicks.  Anyway, I had to protect them from drafts and the cold and my coop is just one big room with the exception of the 3 nesting boxes.  My hen was still figuring out the mama thing and wasn't as attentive as she needed to be or as bonded to the chicks as she is now.  In the meantime I needed to keep the door shut for the 3 chicks to stay warm until Lilly figured it out.    

 

I set up a nesting box in our old well house for the 5 other hens to lay since the coop was unavailable to them during the day.  I still put them in the coop at night and shut the door as always.  At first 4 of the 5 seemed to be fine with laying in the well house, but my Ameraucana doesn't like it and has stopped laying.  The rest have slowed down considerably over the past 2 weeks since the new chicks came to live with them.  I only got 3 eggs on each of the past 2 days and only 1 egg today.  

 

It is warm again and I have been leaving the lid up on the coop the past several days for the other hens to get in to lay but they aren't going in the coop to lay. I'm sure part of the problem is the very protective new mama (she actually growls at the other hens at times) and the other problem I'm sure would be the break in their usual pattern.  

 

Will they resume laying in the coop on their own and will they get back to their regular volume of eggs, or have I just confused the crud out of them?  I feel bad that I've upset the balance.  Any suggestions?  

post #2 of 7


It may be that you have caused a little confusion - chickens are very much creatures of habit, so moving the nesting boxes could well have upset them a little, hence fewer eggs, but it is equally likely that they have chosen to lay elsewhere. I'd advise looking in all the nooks and crannies for eggs!

 

I have a brooding mini-coop where mum and chicks are kept for the first few days, and a large portable coop that i attach to a run when i take them outside. You may wish to consider keeping the mum and chicks outside of the coop in the mornings, when the chickens are most likely to lay. If mum has now got into the swing of things the chicks should be fine with her. At the same time, you could keep the layers in the coop until lunchtime as the laying urge will compel them to lay in the nests, as usual. Do this for a few days and the layers will remember where they should lay (in theory).

 

All the best

 

CT

Nairobi, Kenya
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Nairobi, Kenya
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post #3 of 7

Agrees moving the nests confused them.

I'd get all the birds back in their coop/run and leave them there until they acclimate.

 

This sentence kind of confused me

"leaving the lid up on the coop the past several days for the other hens to get in to lay "

can you post a pic of your coop?

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Sorry about the confusion.  My hubby set the coop up so that the roof lifts up for cleaning.  On nice days I leave it up all day to dry out the bedding and just air out the coop.  I will post a pic later today as I am getting out the door for work.

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

 

 

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

I have posted a pic on this thread below.  Thanks for you feedback.

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

I've been meaning to thank everyone for their feedback.  

 

My hens did get back to their regular laying schedule with the exception of my golden laced Wyandotte who went through a molt and is now growing back feathers.  My Ameraucana/easter egger layed for a few weeks and has stopped again.  I assume she has shut down for winter.  I also assume that my buff who is raising the chicks probably won't lay again till next spring?  The chicks are now 8 weeks old and even though it disrupted my other hens it has been a wonder to watch mama with her adopted babies and I learned a lot about the workings of the flock.  

 

Thanks again for the help.

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