7 hens, 1-2 eggs a day

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by katekearby, Dec 28, 2014.

  1. katekearby

    katekearby Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't think I expect anything out of the 3 EEs this winter, currently one of the Rocks is coming out of a light molt. All these hens were born in Feb/Mar. So currently it looks like the 2 NH Reds and one Rock are rotating to lay 1-2 eggs a day. Which is fine and keeps up with the house needs.

    I have a water heater for them, I put lots of extra straw out in the yard and the coop they seem to love and fluff in. I'm in central OK and have decades ago had a few hens that have done well thru winter. They have a north wall of straw bales and the coop is on the east side of the big barn.

    So is there anything else I need to do for these girls? Do you think I'll start getting more eggs again before spring? They are eating almost 2x as much as usual. And are roosting over 12 hours now.

    Thanks bunches.
     
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    My Coop
    It's normal to have a slow down in winter. Some hens will molt and new pulleys may not have started yet. I have several pullets molting now as well. I have close to 40 hens/pullets and I'm getting 1-3 eggs a day. Now that the days are getting longer, egg laying is beginning to pick up again.

    The only thing you can do to increase production would be to add lighting. They need 15 hours of light for peak production.
     
  3. ILuvsChicks

    ILuvsChicks Out Of The Brooder

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    That was going to be my question. With 24 hens we been giving eggs away we had so many. Now my wife is going to have to go to town and buy eggs. If we start leaving the light on at night how long would it take to start production again? We are not getting any now.
     
  4. katekearby

    katekearby Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They have a little 'night light' solar in their coop but i was told that lighting un-naturally to increase production would also shorten their life spans?
     
  5. sweetbeak

    sweetbeak Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi all,

    I live in Australia and it's summer here now and have the same problem. 15 hens and currently 2 to 3 eggs a day when I was getting about 10. I have searched their free range area which is about 2 acres for hidden eggs, nothing. The only thing I can think is that we extended their coop about 2 weeks ago and that may have upset them. We also just removed 2 young roosters from the flock that started picking on the girls at the same time, they would corner1 and both hold her down. As soon as I saw that it was bye bye boys. Apart from that i only thing i can think of is something spooked them. They are all wormed and have no lice so i am at a loss.

    Any suggestions?
     
  6. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You need at least a 40W light to stimulate their hormones to lay eggs. You want to do it slowly. Start by adding 15 minutes of light before sunrise and increase by 15 minutes every week until you have 14-16 hours of total daylight. You don't need the lightbulb on for14-16 hours, probably only about 6 hours. It can take 1-8 weeks for the additional light to kick in. Ideally you start this program in the fall. I wouldn't bother this time of year because the days are already getting longer in the Northern Hemisphere.

    As for shortening their lifespan, there are differing opinions about it. Iirc, I have not seen evidence that proves that adding light shortens their lifespans. Is it unnatural? Sure. We go natural/organic on just about everything but the lights. What I would do if they were my chickens: if I intended to keep the chickens until they died naturally (perhaps 7-12 years and laid very few eggs by that time), I wouldn't bother with extra light. If I intended to cull them around 3 years of age, I would use the extra light. Keep in mind that if you opt for keeping the senior chickens around, you will probably want some eggs more than occasionally. So you'd need to have room in your coop and run for new, younger hens and be willing to pay for feed for all of them, including the basically non-productive older hens.

    Also, 1-2 eggs a day from 7 pullets sounds normal. They should start picking up here soon. We're getting 3-5 eggs a day from our 20 hens, 16 of which are pullets and we use supplemental light. We also had several of the adults and pullets molt. The light will sometimes entice pullets born in the spring to start laying before the following spring (if they haven't begun already), sometimes not.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2014
  7. katekearby

    katekearby Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, yes I guess they are more 'pets' then producers, I think I'm really lucky having the 7 hens I started with being happy and healthy all year and that I know for the couple of days this summer that I got 7 eggs a day all different shades of color etc that all of them do lay. I expect the day that I will have 'retirees' and kind of plan adding a couple of young ones now and then. thinking about 2 wyendots(sp) in the early spring, a local friend says they are good winter layers, like my NH reds are doing so far. Thanks so much again for your input!

    (oh one of those current layers, the Rock, dropped an egg from the roost last night. good I have lots of padding in there)
     

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