Completely stopped production

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Marrrum, Dec 21, 2016.

  1. Marrrum

    Marrrum Out Of The Brooder

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    May 15, 2016
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Friends,

    Thanks for reading!

    You'll notice I typically don't post much, as if not to flood the forums with repeat questions. Unfortunately I am at a loss as I have tried all but one thing.

    If you notice my pictures of my coop on my profile, it is a safe enough enclosure. My hens get daily outside time. If not daily, every other day. Point is they are not cooped up every single day. They have got a steady supply of oyster shells in their layer mesh feed. They also get chicken scratch mixed in the mesh. I have since installed thick, long, rubber " flaps " on the twin nest doors with the shingles as if to keep the wind out when its too windy. Although its quite annoying, I ensure fresh, unfrozen water in their coop and plenty to go around. I have tried multiple different feeding systems such as the classic galvanized hanging feeders, the long galvanized floor feeders and others. They are not laying. Not for weeks at a time. Sometimes I get one egg.

    My request: Please help me identify my four girls breeds. ( yes, i'm that new to chickens and i did not purchase from a store, rather a friend ) I need this info to understand why they are not laying. Did I simply get a week gene batch or is this breed not great in the winter? They are not lethargic nor broody, the come out. They are friendly and follow me around the yard and even eat out of my hand. I almost just want to install another flap on the only opening to the inside of their hutch. That being at the top of the ramp. One more thing. Their coop is not as open as in the picture. I have since installed a wood board to close all but the ramp entrance. To keep wind out.

    I take criticism very well. I am open to all constructive ideas and if i'm doing something wrong, please tell me as I will correct it immediately.
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    Last edited: Dec 21, 2016
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Can't really see them well enough to determine breed. How old are they?
    How big is that coop and how big is the run? Overcrowding stress may be a factor.
    Layer feed has just enough protein for egg production, if it's the only thing the birds eat. Scratch grains will reduce the overall protein intake to the point where they are no longer able to lay eggs. Remember, egg whites are almost entirely protein, and it has to come from somewhere.
     
  3. Marrrum

    Marrrum Out Of The Brooder

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    May 15, 2016
    Salt Lake City, Utah
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    Here are some more pictures. I will get a lot more tomorrow during the day. They are approximately 3 to 3 1/2. I just learned I am mistaken. I was under the impression layer mesh in conjunction with scratch and oyster shells was supposed to be the basic food most people feed the flock. May I have some examples of what you feed our flock? I must increase protein. Meat? Insects?
     
  4. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    Hi

    Where in the world are you? Seasons and climate play a big part in egg production? (Including your location in your profile means this question doesn't need to be asked in the future as we will be able to see it below your avatar each time you post).

    How old are your hens? If they are older than a year and you are in the northern hemisphere, they will have been going through their first adult moult. It is normal for them to take 2 or 3 months off in the winter whilst the happens. The shorter days can also suppress egg laying.

    What proportion of scratch to layer mash do you feed....it's not a good idea to mix it together as they will pick the whole grains out and waste a lot of the balanced feed.

    Layer feed is formulated as a complete feed for laying hens. Giving them anything else dilutes it. Scratch is lower in protein and higher in carbohydrates. It makes chickens fat rather than helping them produce eggs. The idea of it is to scatter a little as a treat to give them something to scratch and peck at which helps stimulate them and relieve boredom. It should make up less than 10% of their daily food intake.

    It looks like you might have a barnevelder (the darker one) and a couple of Easter Eggers
     
  5. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Layer feed is supposed to be the primary food, with anything else not exceeding 10% of the total daily diet. Oyster shell is not needed when feeding layer feed. But layer feed should only be fed to birds that are actively laying.
    At their age, it's a wonder you are getting any eggs at all this time of year. You have Easter Eggers and a Partridge Cochin. I have found that Easter Eggers are fantastic layers, but they need a feed with at least 18% protein to be really productive. Cochins are not very productive. They only lay about 3 to 4 eggs a week at most.
    It also looks like one or two may be molting. All their energy is being spent growing in feathers. Which will happen faster if you increase the protein.
    You don't have to feed layer to get eggs. It doesn't have some magic ingredient. It's just regular feed with less protein and a whole lot more calcium. Switching to a feed with a higher protein content, and supplementing with the oystershell separately may do wonders for your production rate.
     
  6. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    I see that you posted their ages as 3-31/2 whilst I was typing. I assume that is years? If so, they may take 3 or even 4 months off laying during the winter. This is a normal rest period for them and as they get older they usually take a little longer each year to come back into lay. It is probably a good idea to feed them a grower or flock raiser feed whilst they are not laying as it has less calcium and they only need calcium when they are actively laying and then it can be offered as oyster shell for them to use as they need it when they do start laying. Personally I prefer a pelleted feed as there is less waste and any powder left in the bottom of the feeder or feed bag is made into a warm mash for them.

    If you are feeding them grains like scratch then you also need to supply them with grit(this is different from oyster shell), which they use to grind up the grains in their gizzard as they do not have teeth to chew it. I tend to soak grains in water for a few days as that makes them more easily digestible....but it is important to only give them a small percentage of their overall daily intake or none at all. The formulated feed actually provides everything they need.
     
  7. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    Oops, Yes, junebuggena is correct, it's a cochin.....don't know what I was thinking saying it was a barnevelder! I'm into the wee small hours here! That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!
     
  8. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    Anyway, basically, it is totally normal for hens to knock off laying in autumn, particularly older girls and they may not start again until next year.
    People seem to have unreasonable expectations of hens. (There are so many similar threads on the forum at the moment.) They are not egg machines but creatures that have cycles and seasons. This is the time for recovery and rejuvenation. We forget that eggs are actually a seasonal product because we are so used to being able to go to the shops and buy them whenever we want....but they are produced under artificial conditions to achieve that in the egg factories and those girls are usually culled and replaced at 18 months.
     
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    You've received good information. If you're in the northern hemisphere, today was the winter solstice (actually at 4:44 AM here). That means tomorrow will be longer - and every day to follow till summer. Which also means more eggs are on the way.

    The one criticism I have is the feeding regimen. If you read the feeding instructions on the label (if there is one) on the laying mash, it will say that it is a complete feed and no supplements are necessary.

    So If you have a complete layer feed, that's all they need. DO NOT mix things with the feed.
    If you mix scratch, they'll pick that out and avoid the nutritionally complete feed.
    If you mix oyster shell with the feed, they'll get too much calcium because it will coat the feed and you don't know how much they are getting.
    Always offer oyster shell in a separate container. Layer feed is about 4% calcium while all other feeds for birds not building shells is about 1%. Adding oyster shell to the feed could possibly quickly cause kidney problems. This is especially true since your birds aren't laying eggs.
    Until they lay eggs again. I would lose the layer feed and provide a grower or all flock feed that is lower in calcium to allow the kidneys to flush out that excess calcium.
    Scratch grains should be scattered on the ground and sparingly so they can 'scratch' for them. That satisfies one of their desire to do so.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. Marrrum

    Marrrum Out Of The Brooder

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    May 15, 2016
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Friends,

    Thank you all for writing. [​IMG]

    This is all very specific advise that I appreciate very much. As I am understanding, I am completely wrong on the feeding system I am using. In a few hours, I am heading over to the IFA and purchasing this
    grower or all flock feed, which I am seeing is basically designed for all ages. Should I buy either or? Or both? I would like to have just one. I think I will select an all flock feed. Then Layer in the spring when they begin to lay again. What of this pellet styled food? I presume its similar to the rabbit feed I purchase at IFA. As in its pellets that are green in color due to the alfalfa and hays.

    For those of you who asked, I am in a Suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. The cold gets down below freezing in the winter nights and highs of mid 30's to 50's in the day time. I did have another question though. Some are speaking as if my girls are old. I read articles on here of people that have older hens which still lay. Understandably breed is key in this aspect of laying, but what is considered " old? " At what point should one consider culling their hens? I am currently doing as much research as possible on these breeds. I am glad to finally have them ID'd. They are so darn cute and they follow me everywhere
     

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