Chickens Laying S...L...O...W...E...D, What Happened ?

Fire-Chicken

Songster
9 Years
Apr 17, 2012
84
40
121
South Florida
Good day everyone!

I have recently added the 5 new girls to the living area (coop and run) permanently. A total of 12 hens under one roof.

The older girls (one year old) - 2 Swedish Flowers, 2 Welsummers, 2 Speckled Sussex,
1 Cream Legbar
The new girls (17 weeks old) - 2 Blue Copper Marans, 2 Olive Eggers, 1 Cream Legbar

Since combining the two groups, it seems as if the egg production has decreased. I use the word ‘seems’ because I don’t know if I am getting the same number of eggs and they are being eaten, or, production has decreased to almost nothing. I have witnessed two eggs being eaten by the new girls since integration.

The only bird laying religiously is my year-old Cream Legbar @ 3-4 eggs a week.
I may get an egg from a Welsummer and/or a Speckled Sussex every 3-4 days.
The Swedish Flower hens are very sporadic.

The following is a timeline up through today to help you to provide me with some feedback:

*May 3rd – Hatched (shipped through the mail)
*June 14th – (6-weeks old) - integration of “see, no peck”
*July 15th – (11-weeks old) – full integration permanently
*August 30, 2021 – The 5 new girls will be 17 weeks-old
(The 7 original, older girls will be a year old)

The following are some events and/or issues to which I have had to deal with since the middle of June:

*Integration
*Feed change - from 17% layer pellet to 18% chick grower/starter crumble (to help integrate the new girls)
*Weather / Heat – South Florida summer heat; 95 to 110 degree heat index almost every day
*Weather - Rain and mosquitoes
*Virus - Avian pox; from the mosquitoes, one can surmise
They all had it for about 2-3 weeks, visible only on their combs/wattles. No other complications whatsoever.
*Feed change - Switching them back over to Kalmbach 17% layer pellet (one week from now, at the age of 18-weeks old)

There are two, large feeders (Grandpa’s Feeder brand) for them to feed from. The feeders are always full. I feed them Kalmbach Feed (awesome stuff!!)

They have access to a 5-gallon bucket of water, with 6 cups to drink from. The water is changed and cleaned every two to three days

The only treats they get are:
*Kalmbach Henhouse Reserve (I use it as scratch/treats)
*Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries (all frozen)
*Cantaloupe, watermelon, zucchini, cucumbers (all frozen)

The treats are given on a rotational basis, in very small quantities, and only 3-4 times a week (only once a day when given to them).

They ‘may’ be beginning to molt also. I am finding an uptick in feathers. No signs of fighting, mites, bugs, cooties (LOL)...

When do chickens usually molt? Do they molt once a year?
Would they molt sooner or later in hot, sunny South Florida?

Again, why are they not producing like they used to? I have 7 fully mature hens who used to provide 3-4 beautiful eggs a day. Now I am lucky to get 1 or 2 eggs a day.

*Fact* - if the eggs are being eaten by the young'ins, they DON'T eat the blue ones! They leave them alone...very strange.

Please help. I would be grateful for any input. Let me know if you need any other information.

Thanks to all of you in advance!
Remain safe and healthy in these crazy times.

Respectfully,
Fire-Chicken
 

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