I REALLY hope someone out there can help me figure this out because it has driven us batty for many months. First, let me give you a little background on our flock. We started raising chickens in Spring of 2009 when we built a good sized coop and bought a flock of laying Buff Orpingtons. They laid great and we probably got 4-6 eggs per hen a week. As time went on, we added new breeds and enlarged our pen area. We had Easter Eggers, Rhode Island Reds, Welsummers, and a Silkie in addition to our Buffs. We fed them layer feed and threw out scratch. In 2010 we hatched a bunch of French Black Copper Marans and kept them in a seperate coop until they were mature, then added them to the flock. That seems to be about the time our production gradually decreased, but we were still getting a good amount of eggs.
Last summer the production started declining worse and by the end of the summer, it had come to a halt. We tried everything we could think of...changed their feed, cleaned out the coop and put in straw instead of hay, put up different nesting boxes, moved the roosts around, started letting them out of the pen to free-range more often, etc...you name it, we tried it!
We bought some D.E. a couple months ago and started putting it in their food and sprinkling it under their bedding. About that time, we started getting about ONE egg a day. We have 28 hens and one rooster. We have a good sized pen and coop.
I'm thinking it could be one of 2 things: 1) our pen is completely scratched bare...no vegetation
2) too many different breeds
Any thoughts or ideas would be SOOO appreciated!! Thank you!