All of my hens have stopped laying!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Farmgirl0422, Dec 5, 2016.

  1. Farmgirl0422

    Farmgirl0422 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello! I'm hoping somebody on here can help me understand why my hens aren't laying? I have 15 hens and 2 roosters and I haven't gotten a single egg for over a month! I have a mix of 3 year old, 2 year old, and 1 year old hens. There is no way they could be retiring.....right? We put out a camera to catch any egg eaters and we found that our rooster did snatch an egg....BUT I don't believe he could eat all of them every single day??? We used to get a handful a day and sometimes there would be shell and yolk broken in the nest but we haven't even seen that lately. It just appears their are zero eggs being laid. All of them have already molted to some degree. They are all fed layer pellets and bird seed everyday. It's killing me to buy store eggs!
    Any info helps.
    Thanks:)
     
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    First of all, layer feed is for actively laying birds only. Secondly, layer feed does not have enough protein in it for the molting birds. Thirdly, you are cutting a low protein feed with low protein grains and seeds.
    Stop feeding the bird seed regularly. That should be used sparingly, as a treat. Get them on a feed with at least 20% protein content and a calcium content of no more than 1.5%. Provide crushed oyster shell separately for those that need it.
    It's normal for production to slow down and even stop at this point in the year, due to the shortening days. The solstice is just a few more weeks away, and then days will begin to lengthen and production should pick back up, provided you get your birds on an appropriate diet.
     
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  3. nayalusa

    nayalusa Out Of The Brooder

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    Interesting! I had no idea that people took their hens off of layer feed during times of molt or seasonal slow down? What feed blend or protein ratio do you recommend? Do you separate your molting girls from your non molters the entire time so that they get separate feed? I imagine a handful of bird seed sprinkled on the ground can't probably account for much in terms of dietary requirements but more for entertainment so I don't even consider that when looking at "feed". Thanks!
     
  4. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    The high levels of calcium can be dangerous for non-laying birds. It can build up in the kidneys and eventually cause death. I don't even bother with the stuff. Between roosters, chicks, teenagers, broodies, and molting hens; it's just simpler to buy and dish out one type of feed that is safe for everybody. The only feeds that aren't safe to feed long-term are layer feed and medicated chick starter. Just about any other feed is suitable for any chicken, at any age or of any gender. I prefer a 20% protein Flock Raiser feed, with crushed oyster shell offered separately for those that need it. It ensures that everybody has their nutritional needs met, without the worries of too much calcium intake, and helps reduce egg eating.
    It's a very common misconception that layer feed is for laying 'breed' birds. Not true. It also is not required for egg production. It has no magic ingredient in it. It's just regular feed with a lower protein content, and a whole lot more calcium. Most people that switch to a higher protein feed find that their hens actually produce better than they did when fed layer.
     
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  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Hear, Hear!!!^^^


    I like to feed a flock raiser/grower/finisher 20% protein crumble full time to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat. I do grind up the crumbles (in the blender) for the chicks for the first week or so.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer. I adjust the amounts of other feeds to get the protein levels desired with varying situations.

    Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2016
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  6. Farmgirl0422

    Farmgirl0422 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is very helpful. We will definitely try a Flock Raiser feed and some free choice oyster shell.
    Thanks:)
     
  7. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

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    I never take my birds off layer, but then I cull them every 2-3 years. I have never had a problem with them.
     
  8. ChickenMomma14

    ChickenMomma14 Out Of The Brooder

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    How many birds do you have? I would understand if you have a large amount of hens but you shouldn't kill a perfectly healthy bird just because it doesn't lay an egg very often...
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Last edited: Dec 7, 2016
  10. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

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    I usually keep 12. I don't kill them, I sell them with full disclosure to people that want them. I get inundated with calls for them. I realize I could keep them, but they have to pay their way. They are well cared for but not my pets. I have a dog for that. Most people that take them plan to keep then as layers. If I can't find a home for them, I would eat them, just not my first choice.
     

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