13 hens, 2-4 eggs

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by NickyPick, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. NickyPick

    NickyPick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 18, 2010
    Cypress, TX
    Ok, I need some reassurance that this is just the season and not something else. I have a flock of 8 almost 2 year old hens and 5 almost 1 year old pullets and 1 2 year old rooster. Most of the hens quit laying completely around the first of December, but it was ok, because all the pullets were still laying pretty regularly. This last week, even they have stopped laying and we're only getting 2 - 4 eggs a day. I checked my charts from last winter and the 12 pullets I had then (part of the 8 hens I have now) had dropped to a low of 6, but never quit completely and by the first week of January, they were starting back up in numbers. This is really frustrating because we supply the restaurant around the corner with 3 dozen a week, but it's getting hard to make the quota and there's nothing left for us to eat.
    So, I feed FF, and I'm starting to wonder that I'm not keeping enough layer feed in the mixture. Would that be a cause? Right now the break down is 1/4 layena, 1/4 oats, 1/4 barley and 1/4 scratch, with either alfalfa, BOSS or cabbage tossed in. Would upping the layena really make a difference?
    We've been having a lot of dips in temperature - one night 60, the next 30, then back up to 55, then back down to 30. I've been closing the blinds over the windows to cut the draft and it makes the coop pretty dark, even in the morning. Could it be the extra darkness that they're getting that's telling most of them not to lay?
    They free range in my barn. I have considered that there may be a hidden nest, but the barn is pretty open. We check the stalls daily. They only place I could possibly see as a "hidden" place is in between the stacks of shavings. We've got about 30 bags in two rows, but they're pretty close together. I can't see how a hen could get in between there to nest. Guess we should pull them apart and look anyway. There's also an open staircase up to the loft. Can chickens climb stairs? Would they actually come down the stairs? I can't see them flying/gliding down and not breaking a leg or something. It's 16 feet high.

    So, the hens, all Ideal hatchery stock. 2 Buff Orpingtons, 3 Wyandottes and 3 EE's. The pullets I got at POL, but I believe they are also Ideal: 2 New Hampshires (I think they're prod. reds, tho, they have white instead of black around the edges), 2 Black Australorp/NHR crosses and 1 Barred Plymoth Rock.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

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    Don't know the exact percentage, but giving 1/4 Layena (16%) and 3-4 other things with most being 10% protein or less makes the protein % really low. I would definitely try giving more layena. My 12 had gone down to 6 a day (1st year layers with light) feeding 16% layer and a cup or two of scratch a day. I just switched to 18% game bird and have to wait to see if the numbers go back up. My 16% with some scratch was probably higher than what you are feeding.
     
  3. NickyPick

    NickyPick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 18, 2010
    Cypress, TX
    Well, it can't take the percentage lower than 10%. I thought BOSS was high in protein? Maybe this is why, in the beginning, I didn't have much trouble because I was adding calf manna (25%)? Hmmm. something to think about. The girls do get outside most every day to eat bugs and things.
     
  4. Brandi Leigh

    Brandi Leigh Chillin' With My Peeps

    It is possible that the lack of light, can you add an extra light source and see if that helps?
     

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