All of my hens stopped laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Thebernards, Aug 21, 2016.

  1. Thebernards

    Thebernards Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 30, 2014
    Every last one of them stopped 100% for the last two days. They are wondering around like nothing's up, not acting any different. We have had a serious heat streak lately (last week we were at 115 most days) we have "cooled" down to 105. But they layed last week in the crazy heat!! They have access to lots of shade, their coop is under a 50ft ash tree and they like hiding under my kids playground slide and scratched the dirt up there. They have oyster shells, grit, laying feed, scratch, and 1/2 an acre they roam around all day on. They aren't laying anywhere else either. It's like they all lost interest in laying. What on earth is going on and what can I do??
     
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Too little protein and too much heat. When it gets serious hot, they don't eat as much. Layer feed barely has enough protein in it to supports laying, if it's the only thing fed. Adding scratch and other things lowers the amount of protein they are getting even more. Egg whites are mostly protein, and it has to come from somewhere. It's also getting into molting season.
     
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  3. Thebernards

    Thebernards Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 30, 2014
    So should I change their feed? Is there another way to add protein in?
     
  4. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    A higher protein feed does wonders for a backyard flock's production. A feed with a protein content of at least 18% helps keep production levels up, even through summer heat, and it also helps reduced feather picking and egg eating. Plus, without the extra calcium that is added to layer feed, it's safer for birds of all ages, genders, and for birds that aren't laying.
    Most backyard flock keepers find layer feed to be a poor choice for their flocks.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Ditto on the higher protein feed....but meanwhile just cut out the scratch and any other foods/treats.
    Make sure they have plenty of cool water always, running out of water for even an hour or two can stop laying and put them in danger of dehydration in that kind of heat.

    How old are they?
    Do they still roost in coop at night?

    Even tho you think they are not laying anywhere else, I would lock them up, if not too hot in coop, to be absolutely sure.

    I like to feed a flock raiser/grower/finisher 20% protein crumble 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.

    Animal protein (mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided during molting and if I see any feather eating.


    Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop for 3-4 days can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop 24/7 for a few days to a week, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.
     

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