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40 hens laying only 2-4 eggs per day this winter??? please help!

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

So my hens were laying only about 16-23 eggs per day. Even though there are 40 of them.

 

But then a series of events happened and now I'm down to 2-4 per day. This is driving me nuts!

 

All in the same week I got a new puppy, who I bring with me into the coop because I want to train him to be friendly with the birds. That same week I got two new roosters and did away with the old guy. Also that same week the weather turned bitterly cold.

That was about 3 weeks ago though and now they are all used to the new roosters and only 2 or 3 hens still freak out from the dog. The rest come right up to him and don't seem bothered by him at all anymore.

 

I have a good lighting schedule in there, a timer and a bulb in each coop. They also didn't lay well all summer long for some reason. I should be getting more than 20 eggs from 40 chickens.

 

Thanks in advance for any input.

post #2 of 6
What kind of hens do you have? And how old are they? Any possibility of mites? Or fleas?
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Basic starter: Personally designed & built Shed/Coupe/Run: 3 Leghorns, 2 Plymouth Barred Rocks, 5 Silver Laced Wyandottes

NEW ADDITION: 4/21/15
Rhode Island Reds, Plymouth Barred Rock
Black Copper Marans & Blue Marans
12x24x7 additional run


NEW BABIES: 2/17/16
New Hampshires, Black Australorps, Amerecaunas,
Easter Eggers & Black Sex Links

NEWER YET: 3/16/16
Spe...
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Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Basic starter: Personally designed & built Shed/Coupe/Run: 3 Leghorns, 2 Plymouth Barred Rocks, 5 Silver Laced Wyandottes

NEW ADDITION: 4/21/15
Rhode Island Reds, Plymouth Barred Rock
Black Copper Marans & Blue Marans
12x24x7 additional run


NEW BABIES: 2/17/16
New Hampshires, Black Australorps, Amerecaunas,
Easter Eggers & Black Sex Links

NEWER YET: 3/16/16
Spe...
Reply
post #3 of 6

IMO, it's pretty normal for a hen to lay every other day.  While it's true that, depending upon breed, a hen might lay 200+ eggs over the course of a year, I always seem to get half the number of eggs per day as the number of hens I have.  20 eggs per day for 40 birds wouldn't worry me. 

But the decline you've seen sounds like what I'm going through this winter. Late last fall we culled the cockerels from the Summer hatch, and introduced the new pullets to the flock. Then we had a sudden cold snap which lasted about a week. I was late getting the lighting into the coop, also. Long story short, the whole flock went into molt, which this time lasted almost a month.

 

The molt is over, and the pullets are now hens. My problem is my two Americanas haven't started laying yet. Last Fall, they were out-laying the Australorpes  3:1.  Now, nothing!  I haven't had any eggs from either of my two for over two months.

 

I'm now getting 5 eggs a day from 9 hens, but they are all coming from the young hens.  Don't mean to hijack your thread, but I'm wondering if it's possible for two 3 year old hens to go into "chicken menopause" at the same time, and just be done?

Life is easier if you plow around the stumps.
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Life is easier if you plow around the stumps.
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post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Philosopher View Post
 

IMO, it's pretty normal for a hen to lay every other day.  While it's true that, depending upon breed, a hen might lay 200+ eggs over the course of a year, I always seem to get half the number of eggs per day as the number of hens I have.  20 eggs per day for 40 birds wouldn't worry me. 

But the decline you've seen sounds like what I'm going through this winter. Late last fall we culled the cockerels from the Summer hatch, and introduced the new pullets to the flock. Then we had a sudden cold snap which lasted about a week. I was late getting the lighting into the coop, also. Long story short, the whole flock went into molt, which this time lasted almost a month.

 

The molt is over, and the pullets are now hens. My problem is my two Americanas haven't started laying yet. Last Fall, they were out-laying the Australorpes  3:1.  Now, nothing!  I haven't had any eggs from either of my two for over two months.

 

I'm now getting 5 eggs a day from 9 hens, but they are all coming from the young hens.  Don't mean to hijack your thread, but I'm wondering if it's possible for two 3 year old hens to go into "chicken menopause" at the same time, and just be done?


That molting you're talking about maybe is what's happening to some of mine. I did notice they were all starting to go featherless, and now they all seem to be growing their feathers back. Though it's only about 7 or so birds. Hmm I hope mine start laying again soon!

post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by unclejohn View Post
That molting you're talking about maybe is what's happening to some of mine. I did notice they were all starting to go featherless, and now they all seem to be growing their feathers back. Though it's only about 7 or so birds. Hmm I hope mine start laying again soon!

I go through a winter molt every year. Shorter days, colder nights.... Chickens are like house plants, you can only fool them so much with lights and heat.

 

Be prepared. I don't know how long your flock as been a unit, but you'll eventually get a bunch of them all getting on the same cycle of molting.  With 40 birds, you might not have too much of an issue, but with around a dozen, they all molt at the same time.

 

My Americanas were supreme layers, and this dry spell has me bummed. I lecture them every night, and show them pictures of Col. Sanders.....

Life is easier if you plow around the stumps.
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Life is easier if you plow around the stumps.
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post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Philosopher View Post
 

I go through a winter molt every year. Shorter days, colder nights.... Chickens are like house plants, you can only fool them so much with lights and heat.

 

Be prepared. I don't know how long your flock as been a unit, but you'll eventually get a bunch of them all getting on the same cycle of molting.  With 40 birds, you might not have too much of an issue, but with around a dozen, they all molt at the same time.

 

My Americanas were supreme layers, and this dry spell has me bummed. I lecture them every night, and show them pictures of Col. Sanders.....


hahaha! col.Sanders lol. I tell my hens things like that a lot too. I've turned a couple of the older hens into a nice slow cooker dish already. They were laying badly even before though. I was just in there and at least 11 are in molt that I could tell. All kinds of very fluffy feathers sticking out all over.

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