HappyFeetHens

Chirping
May 22, 2018
34
36
57
I have 4 RIR hens who are all about 2 years old (I also have one leghorn who is about nine months, but she lays consistently). I only get 2 eggs a day (usually) from the RIRs and I’m not sure why.

I have tried a few things. I’ve been supplementing with higher protein chick feed, but it hasn’t had much of an effect. For protein, I have also tried feeding cooked eggs. This helps for the following day or two, but it’s a very temporary solution. They used to eat eggs, but I’ve broken them of that (yes, I would know if they were doing it again. They tend to leave shells and you can see where they cracked it as there is moisture). They refuse to eat oyster shells aside from my one younger leghorn. They are happy chickens to my understanding. They are out with supervision (we have hawks in our yard so we can’t just leave them out), have a decent run, love people, eat and drink normally, roost, take dust baths, and do everything happy chickens do.
I honestly can’t figure out where the problem is. We have enough eggs, but to sell eggs occasionally we would like more, and just because, you know, we would like a return from the money invested in them.

Any idea what could be wrong based on the info I’ve shared? Let me know if something needs clarified or just ask about other conditions I might have missed. I would appreciate any and all help!
 

sourland

Broody Magician
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 3, 2009
119,281
342,315
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New Jersey
It's that point in the laying cycle where 2 years olds generally molt and take a break in egg laying. Come longer day length they will restart laying not quite as frequently but somewhat larger eggs.
 

HappyFeetHens

Chirping
May 22, 2018
34
36
57
It has actually been going on since the early summer. They have molted from what I can tell, not all at once, but you can see the replenished color in the legs and the feathers have grown back. I will say that sure, one or two could be. But I think the problem is deeper, based on how long we have been dealing with this.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Suffering Succotash
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
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Wisconsin
For starters feed a higher protein ration like the starter year round. Supplementing it doesn't help much if they are also eating something lower in protein. Hens that aren't laying don't need oyster shells, so they won't eat them.

At 2 years your hens are already getting old. Feeding a higher protein ration year round can help to optimize laying in older birds. Generally you will see deficiencies at about the 2 year mark in hens fed a layer. That's when people suddenly notice egg eating and feather picking. Birds are craving protein, and they find it where they can.

Did your hens already replace their tail and wing feathers? Many will go through a smaller molt earlier in the year, generally July to August where they appear to molt. They grow in missing feathers too. Than the true molt comes along. Most will look pretty ragged and naked during it. Could be yours haven't done the full molt yet. They need protein to do that too.

I would feed full time the higher protein ration. 18-22%. Limit extras that aren't protein based and give them time to recover.
 

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