are my hens holding out or am I missing something?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by meshelley53, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. meshelley53

    meshelley53 Out Of The Brooder

    27
    1
    36
    Oct 20, 2013
    Raleigh, nc
    First question: should I let my hens free range everyday?
    Second question: now that it's getting darker earlier and I don't have a light in the coop how many eggs a day should I aspect?

    More details: Really my questions in my mind go hand and hand but this is my first coop(...first winter with them) I started the coop for my personal eggs since I tend to eat a lot of eggs (like a dozen or two a week) and so far my girls are not keeping up with my wants.... Since daylight time change I have let my girls free range during the day and most days I come home to one or two eggs (some days none but never more then that) but after reading that I should be getting 3 eggs a day on average I don't know if my hens are holding out/just not happy or laying somewhere I'm not seeing.
    My yard is pretty wooded so it is hard to search everywhere when I get home from work but never have I found an egg outside of the coop so I feel fairly certain that they are just not producing up to speed....

    I'm planning on keeping them cooped up for a couple days to see how many eggs they produce as a test but that has me wondering if they are use to getting outt during the day if that stresses them out or am I just thinking way too much about this and making more complicated then what it is???

    (Ps I posted a question when I first let them free range asking if they return to coop to lay and really only got one answer of No they don't but like I said I still find the one or two eggs a day in the normal spot and have yet to find one outside of coop)
     
  2. BorneHomestead

    BorneHomestead Chillin' With My Peeps

    241
    11
    73
    Oct 10, 2013
    how old are your chickens? if they are not old enough to molt then that is not the problem. during the colder months when the days get shorter chickens may not lay as many eggs, they need at least 14 hours of light in order to produce an egg. since you do free range it could be they are laying elsewhere in the yard so by keeping them locked up for a few days like you mentioned may help determine if they are or not. you can free range your chickens daily letting them out in the morning and locking them in their coop at night after they return. most chickens will return to the coop to lay their eggs unless they find an ideal spot for them to lay their eggs away from the coop. free ranging them on a daily basis is something you will have to decide if it is best for you or not. some let their chickens free range while they supervise while others (like myself) let them free range without supervision. then you have some that do not free range their chickens at all due to where they live, time, or for another reason.
     
  3. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

    4,766
    576
    281
    Aug 29, 2012
    Australia
    My first question is how many hens do you have? I'm just curious how big a flock you are expecting the three eggs a day from. If you only have 3 hens for example 2 a day is pretty normal so thus the question.

    I have 7 chooks and sometimes we get up to 5 a day and then we will go through patches of 2-3 a day. Its affected by things like breed and if there havre been any broody hens and sometimes its just because its all they lay and there seems no reason. I don't have production breeds and so they are just not regular as clockwork laying machines.

    Second yes they will return from free ranging to lay their eggs or at least mine do. Mine don't travel a huge distance from the coop though so not sure if that makes a difference.
    .
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
  4. meshelley53

    meshelley53 Out Of The Brooder

    27
    1
    36
    Oct 20, 2013
    Raleigh, nc
    I have 4 hens (2 Brahmas, 1 sussex and 1 white bresse) they all are about year old. They aren't showing signs of molting yet (from what I've read)

    During the work day I normally let them free range without supervision from 7 am until 5pm. On the weekends I wait until let them out to give my yard to the dogs for a while. They tend to be afternoon layers.

    So, yeah I'm gonna run my test for a couple days keeping them cooped up. I feel fairly confident they do return to lay but since I don't watch them while free ranging, I guess anything is possible.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
  5. BorneHomestead

    BorneHomestead Chillin' With My Peeps

    241
    11
    73
    Oct 10, 2013
    the annual molt usually doesn't start until hens are 16-18 months of age, however I have had ones that molted as early as 14 months (the turds!..lol). I would not suspect molting with yours, just slowing down for winter and shorter days.
     
  6. chixmix

    chixmix Chillin' With My Peeps

    226
    31
    88
    Nov 20, 2013
    N.Carolina
    I went from 4+ eggs per day to 1 egg every other day. Winter.....Is....Coming......
     
  7. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,235
    111
    201
    Jan 16, 2012
    Texas
    If you want eggs, you should get breeds of hens that are good at laying eggs. The Sussex is pretty good. Brahmas are not very good at laying eggs, and I do not know what a Breese is.

    Leghorns for white eggs and maybe Rhode Island Red, Barred Plymouth Rock, Australorp, or a sex-link hybrid for brown eggs,
     
  8. chixmix

    chixmix Chillin' With My Peeps

    226
    31
    88
    Nov 20, 2013
    N.Carolina
    Golden comets really impress me!!
     
  9. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,235
    111
    201
    Jan 16, 2012
    Texas
    Yes, those are good hybrids for eggs. They are supposed to lay even better than the sex-link hybrids. There is another one called Cinnamon Queen. I am not sure if Golden Comets are better, the same, or what. I do know that they both will produce more than 300 eggs a year.
     
  10. chixmix

    chixmix Chillin' With My Peeps

    226
    31
    88
    Nov 20, 2013
    N.Carolina
    From what I understand, cinnamon queen, golden comets, red stars, they're all the same bird basically, just different names.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by