Please help. I have 25 chickens (2 Buff Orpingtons, 2 Barred Rock, 2 Silver Laced Wyandotte, the rest are red sex-link). All were good layers last year. This is my first spring with adult chickens. We use a chicken tractor and free-range so it is hard to lock them in. I catch them in the barn sometimes. Last week I found 2 old nests in the hay loft and got rid of the old eggs and rearranged the hay so there aren't any private holes for them to want to lay in. This morning I figured a way to keep them locked in all day. I got 15 eggs from 25 hens. I have been getting about this many every day for about 3 weeks. There were two days in early March when I got 24 and 21 eggs, which is the amount I expect. I know 1 of the Orpingtons was broody, so I put her in a separate pen for a couple days. I haven't seen her sit on the nest all day since, but I don't know if she is laying. None of them appear sick or unhappy.
How do I figure out who is laying and who is not? How do I jumpstart them all so they will lay? I plan to keep them confined tomorrow and keep tomorrow's eggs separate to see how many light ones I get and how dark ones from the red sex-links. But still how will I know who is laying? Will it encourage them to lay just by not letting them out until after laying time is over? Will being cooped up all day stress them and give me fewer eggs?
I just got an egg at 6:15 PM. I have never gotten one that late before. Is it from being locked up all day? So today I got 16 eggs from 25 hens.
I give them commercial layer's feed and a treat of up to 2 or 3 heals of bread a day. No more than that. I was giving them some scratch over the cold months, but have stopped that since it is nice out.
Please help, I need more eggs.