Advice on encouraging new chickens to lay?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by magdelaine, Oct 18, 2014.

  1. magdelaine

    magdelaine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 27, 2011
    Inyokern, CA
    We got three beautiful year old Welsummer hens from a friend who didn't want them any more. When we moved them, they were laying 3 to 5 eggs a week. Since they've been here, however, they laid two and stopped and we've had them for about six weeks. They are the only ones in a huge run but no indoor area yet because that part of the coop has yet to be finished (just a little more to do) but they do have laying boxes.

    The biggest change for them is the presence of large dogs. They are very safe in their run, but perhaps because they are not used to big dogs they are holding out? What can I do to encourage them to start laying again?
     
  2. Ravennest

    Ravennest Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 28, 2014
    We have dogs that our birds know are regulars in the family area...although the laying area is a 'do not disturb' area....usually new comers need to 'home' in and feel safe in their new
    place...keep them inside with food water and light if they used one before or not...keep your routine constant for a few days...no dogs...
    Usually round a week they become comfortable although I have had some take longer...some get stressed and 'spooked' easier than others...I have a hen that will egg right on your lap if we let her and another will only have them in 'private'...go figure.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2014
  3. magdelaine

    magdelaine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 27, 2011
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    Hmmm. So maybe they won't settle down until the big coop is finished and they can be "inside" then. I keep telling my hubby they'll come around; he wants to put them in the pot!
     
  4. Ravennest

    Ravennest Out Of The Brooder

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    Your hubby should be patient...they have a lot of changes to get used to after getting uprooted from what they knew.
    A few days to have them get used to where they are now for a few years of healthy breakfasts.
    ...oyster shells ...some raisins ...a few left over kitchen veggies...and good feed...clean water ...a little security...they should be good...they are not old hens are they? Cause you said they were a year...Welsummers are really nice birds too
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2014
  5. magdelaine

    magdelaine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Inyokern, CA
    They really are gorgeous, although they molted a bit due to stress. They don't seem to like any of the kitchen scraps I put out, oddly enough, and they even avoid scratch, although since I cleaned their run out good and wet down the ground they seem to be pecking around more. I think they will be fine layers once we get the kinks worked out. We just hatched out 9 chicks that will need some big girls looking after them when they are old enough for the yard. Since it will be quite a wait until those birds are ready to lay, anything we get before then will be a bonus.

    I suspect that once their cozy nest boxes INSIDE the coop are ready they will start laying again.
     
  6. Ravennest

    Ravennest Out Of The Brooder

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    If they are molting at all most chickens won't lay anyway...molting adds more pressure. Make sure they have a bit more protein
    than usual...my girls will eat sardines bones and all, peanut butter, tuna fish, and if they are hanging out in the kitchen they have
    been known to grab a bit of cat and dog food. Oh yeah boiled spaghetti...yeah I know spaghetti, but not a lot my tend to play
    with it and with each other....

    Mine had to rot first...I had a compose pile that they found out about...I added earthworms and meal worms to it....They took no
    interest in it until the beetles and grubs started to come out. Even when it snowed up here they were in the pile scratching through
    it like troopers standing across the top working their way down the pile. I set it in a plastic bottom built up a small pile with dirt and
    they go through it granted the pile has grown bigger but they do quite the job turning it over to grab the wigglers.

    Did their previous family use egging feed or regular? Scratch is okay for a little while but they need good in to lay good out.
    If you go to your supermarket or fruit and veggie stand has any mark down overly ripe specials...no onions...or eggplant.
    its amazing to find out what yours might like. I am always amazed at what they will eat and not eat..

    Hope this helps...Try different things keeps them interested and happy...then wait til you hear that egg song.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2014
  7. magdelaine

    magdelaine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good advice about the protein! I love the idea of a compost pile but I'd have to figure out how to keep it wet. We live in the desert and it's too dry for ordinary composting. I'm going to try introducing some variety and see if I can find out what they prefer. I was going to try some greens...I knew about no onions but not about no eggplant, huh.

    We have their previous food and scratch...you know I realize now I don't know if they were using laying feed. I bought some laying feed new so I'll switch out their old feed with the new tomorrow.

    I hope to be posting about success soon. :)
     
  8. Ravennest

    Ravennest Out Of The Brooder

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    Eggplant is in the nightshade family...I just don't feed them any of it directly...I do put it in the compost
    but I bury it and any peels along with onions way on the bottom.

    Try the lid of a rubber tote on the very bottom of your compost pile...turn the lid so that the top will hold
    water....fill with water....then start to add your kitchen compost stuff right into it. Every time it looks a little
    dry you can always hose it down...keep the lid under the pile as long as you have your pile...when you hose
    it down it will retain the water under the pile...so you won't be using or loosing as much water since it will
    hold on to it instead of seeping into the ground. Don't worry about the stuff spilling over the sides as the pile increases
    you will want the lid to be completely covered....don't worry about the bugs...just try to make sure the water
    is not open and visible....add everything organic to it..even old potted plants with the dirt helps too.
    As it breaks down and the chickens work through it they take care of the creepy crawlies. Or buy some earthworms or
    meal worms, or whatever local bugs they sell there that helps break down the pile over there
    and make it fun for your girls to dig through.

    Take some of the 'old' food and mix it with the 'new' food you bought as you run out of the old food the chickens
    will eating more of the new food...so you would have weaned them off. When introducing new things like
    fruits and veggies...I add small amounts at first to see if they take to it...if they don't I just keep it for people
    food and won't feed it to them anymore...sometimes I have found that if they eat too much of something
    too often they get tried of it...I try to be careful of the amount of waste feed in their tray.

    When you clean the feed trays, any dirty waste water, bedding....dump it into the pile... it will all breaks down...
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2014
  9. magdelaine

    magdelaine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, we can do that! I didn't think of composting directly in the chicken yard. I think I can get meal worms at the pet store...man those chickens would think that quite a treat.

    So, no nightshades means no tomatoes, too?
     
  10. Ravennest

    Ravennest Out Of The Brooder

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    Its weird but my girls will eat tomatoes...I don't give them a lot just the ends...they won't eat the whole plant either just some of the leaves. People told me no dairy but I have caught them snagging a taste of grated cheese and sometimes yogurt if it is unattended....i found out the hard way one day they devoured my spaghetti with tomato sauce grated parm and olive oil with a lot of garlic....they love garlic

    The meal worm and earthworms will reinforce them turning over your compose pile to find treats...after a while they will just go there to shuffle through to see what's on the menu....doing the work for you...
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2014

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