18 hens and one egg!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by avanderhule, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. avanderhule

    avanderhule Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 5, 2011
    Phoenix
    I am still really stumped as to why, out of my 18 hens, I get maybe ONE egg a day. Not always from the same hen and not every day!

    I have had 6 of them for 4 months (these are about 26 weeks old) and the rest of them for 2.5 months and they range from 18 weeks to about 2 years.

    I expected it to take a while for them to get comfy in new surroundings, and also attributed it to the extreme heat...115 during day and only dropping to 98 at night. But now that it is in the 80's during the day and down in the 60's at night, what could it be!?!?!?!?!

    I am super picky about the food I feed them, as I have mentioned before, I don't feed my family processed food...nor do I the chickens, so no pellets for them. I feed them millet, thistle seed, and a mixture of other seeds, plus all the fresh fruits and veggies you could ever want. They also free range, and have a ton of mulch to dig through, so they do get bugs, scorpions, etc for protein. I keep it as close to the wild chicken diet as I possibly can.

    But do wild chickens not produce as many eggs as the domesticated hen? Have we bred the hen on processed food for so long that they are unable to produce as many eggs on the food they were intended to eat? I don't have the answers or any eggs to show for my efforts!

    Then I am also wondering if it's because it's getting darker earlier. They get up at 6am and in bed by about 6:30pm. Are they not getting enough light hours during a regular day? Great! When it's not boiling, it's too dark!!!! Anyway, I do love them like pets, but they are sucking the life out of me!

    Please help!!!
     
  2. peepblessed

    peepblessed Chillin' With My Peeps

    The only things I know that cause lact of production are: too young, too old, heat, cold, tramma, lack of calcium and protein, sickness and molt. There are probably lots of others that I missed. It can sure be frustrating, especially if you're buying those bags of feed with their ever increasing prices! [​IMG]
     
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    St. Louis, MO
    I understand you're aversion to processed foods. I'm the same way.
    I don't assume to know what your pasture is like but I'm just looking at your results and I'd say they are woefully bereft of nutrition.
    The only way you'll approach the same egg production as flocks which are fed a Layer ration is to replicate the nutrition in those rations.
    You have to achieve a minimum of 16% protein, including essential amino acid levels of 3/4% lysine, 1/4% methionine. They also need about 4% calcium and good sources of vitamins D and E.
    Free ranging - unless it is a lush pristine environment(and huge) - the chickens will quickly deplete the protein sources then all the vitamin(greens) sources and finally all the seed sources.

    I feed millet in my home blended scratch but it's only 11% protein and thereby reducing the total needed for healthy egg production.

    To add protein, try field peas, yogurt, tuna, fish meal and if cost is no issue amaranth and quinoa.

    Wild birds don't produce any where near an egg a day. About 60 a year is more the norm.
     
  4. avanderhule

    avanderhule Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks. Yes, I have dried peas and quinoa in their mix as well. I do not have a luxurious pasture, and I know protein is a must! I do supplement with raw milk, organic yogurt, some tuna and meal worms occasionally. Do you have a source on the wild chicken production? I have searched, but since they are 'wild' it is hard to find much info on actual egg production!

    My birds are absolutely gorgeous, shiny, and happy, loving and unbelievably active. So I feel offended to see you believe they are malnourished...though I am sure it looks that way by what I wrote I fed them in my original post. AND they just may be if egg production is my goal!

    Do you use pellets? Even organic layer feed is full of flowing agents and growth accelerators. That's just so frustrating. I have looked up, and for a while, I made my own mixes per the recipes on BYC. However, I now know that corn or grains are not in a chicken's diet...just like us humans, gotta' put CORN IN EVERYTHING! (NO) Thanks Monsanto!!

    Thanks so much for your insight! I will look to refine my mixture but it may just be toooo expensive!~
     
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:I'm with you and I didn't mean to offend but if I had that production I would be very concerned.
    I'm very careful what I eat (nothing processed) and since I eat my eggs and chickens I'm just as careful what I feed them but to get good production it's hard to avoid 60+years of intensive scientific feed research. The research isn't the problem but how companies have found the cheapest way to achieve those nutrient constituents. i.e. "animal protein products" which could mean feathers, parts, feces or who knows what. Not that that's necessarily a problem. Chickens eat feathers, canibalize, etc..

    It can be expensive.
    A friend of mine buys all organic grains and mixes herself and adds mineral supplements.
    I haven't done that yet. Even organic does not preclude GMO.
    I'll look up all I have on mixing organically and wild birds and try to PM you with the links but I'm out to plant the next few pastures.

    Be careful that beans are cooked before feeding chickens.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2011
  6. pinkwindsong

    pinkwindsong Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 18, 2011
    Laurens SC
    hey you are not alone.. I have 19 laying age and I get 3 -6 a day.. 2 are regular my wht leghorn and my Barred Holland.. we had such a terrible hot summer I really thing they are still coming out of that t hen they went into molt.. poor girls cant catch a break.. I know their healthy and when their little bodies tell them that its time to lay again they will.. unfortunately you cant talk them into giving up their eggs.. dang nab it.. or I would be out there talking some smack that for sure.. hahha...


    good luck be patient and happy day will come
    )O(
    Pink
     
  7. avanderhule

    avanderhule Out Of The Brooder

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    Chicken Canoe: I am fine! I won't lost sleep...it just really stinks when ya' do everything you think is right, and then it's not!!

    YES!- to companies making food the cheapest! I am glad you understand my take on processed as well as "organic" does not = "non- GMO"! I don't even care about organic...I just know my farmers! However, it's more difficult with seeds since not a lot of farmers and just giving non-GMO seeds away:)

    Azure Standard has organic quinoa, amaranth, dried peas (I think)etc., but I stay away from grains since chickens are not really supposed to eat them...at least I feel confident my research has proven that!

    I have also found a site that sells 11 lbs of meal worms for $100.00. I have been working on my ratio on how many cups of worms I need per 50lbs of seed to bring up the protein to at least 18%. A few months ago, I put together a recipe and was super proud...Was getting ready to sell to farmers markets and getting the eggs analyzed for nutritional content. Then I started learning my above statement about avoiding grains...use seeds!

    I feel that just because a chicken can't fly away (usually) and find the food it wants and needs, "we" just feed them what we want and they have to deal with it! Unlike a sparrow who just says "Nasty!!! I am going over here!"

    I would love to see what you come up with! I will await your email.
     
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Be assured, I truly feel your pain and I will keep in touch.
    I think there are lots of non-GMO growers out there and people using/saving heritage seeds.
    The real challenge is to create a network for us.
    Until then I recommend finding those people and using those seeds to raise your own food.

    Again, I'm with you and feel your pain/frustration.
     
  9. pgpoultry

    pgpoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wales
    I have about 30 hens and am getting, at best 4 eggs per day. The reasons for getting so few are obvious in the majority of mine.....most are too young (26 week old Brahmas!), too old, still with chicks after being broody, moulting etc., but a few are not laying and should be.

    My chickens have very lush pasture and our weather is cool/cold....... low 60's by day and 40's at night. I don't use any pellets, but give them a wide variety of foods (including organic corn mix, organic oats made into porridge with roasted and crushed egg shells and dried milk powder, and table scraps). Most of them are big, feisty and very healthy.

    If you haven't recently wormed your chickens, do so. Also check they don't have lice.....I found lice on a couple of mine, so am treating all of them.

    At the end of the day, sometimes having scrutinised diet, treated for parasites, excluded illness etc., no cause is found........and eventually they come into lay when you least expect it.
     
  10. wbruder17

    wbruder17 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2010
    Portland, OR
    Its just that time of year. Moltiing, days getting shorter and colder. I'm in the same boat. 18 chickens, and only 1, 2, 4 eggs a day. They will come out of it.
     

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