3 Eggs laid today - new low! How can I make my girls happier? please!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by kevinhannan, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. kevinhannan

    kevinhannan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 3, 2011
    Hey Guys,

    I got 10 ex-bats earlier this year and they are wonderful girls
    giving me 7-10 eggs per day.

    Now we are in Autumn that has understandably dropped to
    around 6 eggs per day.

    More than a week of solid rain has meant that the normally
    weatherproof run has become a mud-pit and is unusable.
    The girls would enjoy a permanently open pop-hole and go
    in and out as they please any time of the day. They also
    free-feed with a fair amount of treats such as live worms.

    Because of the very bad weather, I have closed the pop-hole
    as they were bringing the mud in and making the coop really
    bad. Even changing the tarpaulins every day did not help.
    I have also laid down newspaper and they have shredded that
    proper - I can always lay down more.

    I may have access to some wood shavings, I don't know, but
    I can ask. I thought to use that in the run to dry it off and also
    in the coop.

    Here's the problem: today I got 3 eggs. I cannot afford to spend
    £44 per month on feed for 3 eggs or less a day. The cooking pot
    beckons.

    Given the above, do you think I can make the girls happier again
    and to continue laying. Or do you think that they now deserve a
    winter's rest? Putting a light in the coop is a no-no because of the
    local idiots. (Next year will be different with a new coop build to
    overcome all these problems.)

    I'd love your thoughts please.

    Thanks for your time to read and reply.

    Kevin
     
  2. M.sue

    M.sue Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2011
    Michigan
    Why is a low light in the coop a no-no as to where the locals are concerned? It definitely would help with egg production. Are you referring to the locals as officals or just neighbors?
     
  3. kevinhannan

    kevinhannan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 3, 2011
    Hi M.Sue,

    Thanks for your reply.

    I refer to both actually. The local idiots think they have access
    everywhere as no-one dares to touch them and the light will
    be a moth to a flame. Officials also for obvious reasons. :-(

    I don't mind because I know that I can fix these issues in Jan/Feb 2012.
     
  4. Marcymom3

    Marcymom3 Chillin' With My Peeps

    You are in the UK? So your daylight hours are shortening, right? This may be why they have slowed down. The experts say they need 14 hrs of light a day. Can you put a light in their coop on a timer to extend the "daytime" hours? That's where I would start.
     
  5. Chickangel79

    Chickangel79 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 16, 2010
    United Kingdom Suffolk
    Same problem here, 11 layers one egg. No electric to the coop at bottom of garden, the run is total mud
     
  6. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    To aid in your run problems add sand. Wet England runs would do well with the drainage 2 to 3 inches of sand would provide. Then they'd have freedom to go in and out as they please and stay dry, have dust bath area and generally be happier.
     
  7. Marcymom3

    Marcymom3 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oops... sorry, when I wrote that, didn't see the part about the local idiots!
     
  8. captainroo2

    captainroo2 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 6, 2011
    We added a light to our coop and it sure helped; we ran an extension cord till we can get power ran to the coop.
     
  9. Chickangel79

    Chickangel79 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 16, 2010
    United Kingdom Suffolk
    I have been told I am not allowed to run electric to the coop. Apparently it will cost too much just for a few extra eggs, plus it will shorten their laying life. [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    For the muddy run, you might read this. Pat writes a good article.

    Pat’s Big Ol' Mud Page (fixing muddy runs):
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-fix-a-muddy-run

    Two
    basic fixes. First, keep as much water out as you reasonably can. Some things are easier than others. Obviously putting a cover on it is pretty effective, but that can run into some money and may not be practical, especially if you have a wide run. Slope building roofs or use gutters to keep water out of the run. Use topography, such as ditches, swales, or berms to keep water from flowing into the run.

    Second is drainage. Position it so that water does not get in it. This can be on top of a rise or on a slope with a berm across the top to keep rainwater runoff from flowing in, for example. Or you can build it up. Sand works great, but you need to contain it, maybe a barrier around the run fencing to keep water from washing it away. An even better fix is to put a layer of gravel covered by a layer of sand, but of course this gets more expensive. If you do use gravel I recommend pea gravel or something smooth like that. Sharp gravel can cut their feet and cause bumblefoot.

    A lot of people use organic material, like wood shaving or straw. I don't like to becaue it can get moldy, which can be deadly for chickens. It decomposes into a real black dirt that, when wet, can really leave its mark, plus that material holds water and keeps it fromn draining. It can be a pain to clean out. But many people have developed strategies to use some type of organic material. We all do many different things.

    When it really sets in wet, like it does here in the Spring, there is just not a lot you can do unless you do a real good job and really fix it up. Mine gets tremendously muddy, even on a rise with no runoff going into it and partially covered.

    Wood shavings do a tremendously good job in my coop. As long as you have good ventilation they can absorb some moisture, but they really need to remain pretty dry. That mold problem. Of course, that depends on what your coop looks like.

    I was talking to a guy at a wake recently that used to get about 10 battery hens as they were being retired, forced them to molt, got a whole lot of eggs the year after that molt, processed them for the meat, then got another 10 to start over. I don't know enough about your circumstances to know what is right for you, but it sure sounds like they are molting. Mine basically stop laying while molting. So you either feed them through the molt and get no eggs until the molt is over or you process them and start over.
     

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