We are chicken newbies. We have 15 Cuckoo Marans (hatchery), they are only 30 weeks old and have been laying for about 10 weeks.
First a little background:
About 2-weeks ago we had several days of really bad storms. Lots of rain, thunder and even some hail. The girls are under a pole barn, so no one was hit by the hail, but the ground did get very very wet. After the worst of the storms there was a lot of standing water in the run.
We always give the girls fresh water (buckets w/ nipples), but they seemed to keep drinking from the puddles. They usually go through about 7 gal of water from the drinkers per week. That week they probably only drank 3 gal from the buckets.
After the storms, things started to dry up, and we noticed a lot runny poop. I thought they may have gotten parasites, so I purchased the "Backyard Chicken Health Pack" from Tractor Supply and started using it. The poop seems to be drying up.
We got more rain and thunder again this week.
Finally to problem:
The egg production is dramatically down. The girls were laying 10-13 eggs a day (about 7 doz/week). Last week (the week right after the storms) we only collected 19 eggs for the entire week.
Could it be that they have parasites, super stressed from the storms, or possibly both??
All the girls appear happy. They are eating about the same. It is really tough to say how much water they are drinking, because no matter what we try, they are still drinking from the puddles.
How long will this last. Please tell me this is a temporary thing and they will get back to laying like they once did?? What can we do to help them along?
Your comments/suggestions are appreciated.