could the drop in eggs be caused by lack of layer pellets?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by spish, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. spish

    spish De Regenboog Kippetjes

    Apr 7, 2010
    my 'i know it all and you dont' neighbour told me last month to stop feeding my free rangers layer pellets as they didnt need them due to what they forage in the field...but for weeks now egg production has dropped terribly. will this be caused by the lack of laying pellets??
  2. karl E lutz

    karl E lutz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 29, 2010
    Are they molting? otherwise I would go back to pellets as a supplement to free range. My flock ranges and gets layer feed and I can tell if they are not getting the pellets by the drop in production.
  3. Patchesnposies

    Patchesnposies Chickens.....are my ONE weakness!

    Mar 5, 2008
    Southern New Mexico
    Quote:I don't know what the general consensus will be, but for my experience the answer is YES. Lack of Laying Pellets does cause a drop in egg production. And giving too much grain, (Scratch, Milo, Corn, Rolled Oats) will cause more aggressive behavior, cannibalism or feather plucking.

    I will be curious to see what others say, but this has been our experience!
  4. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    So they are not getting any feed? Just what they can find on their own? If so, then yes, that's why you aren't getting any eggs. They are trying to survive.
  5. rhondaa

    rhondaa Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 17, 2009
    North Tx
    It will totally cause a drop in eggs. I also read in chicken health book that to much scratch ( corn, seed, etc) will make the shells softer, also scratch will make the tempt. rise in the chickens, so dont feed it in the hot part of summer! I went out of town for a week and a friend took care of my girls for me. Well she fed them sratch all week and did not give them pellets. I got home and they were only laying 3 or 4 eggs! AHHHH! not normal. I figured it out and got them back on pellets and in a week they were back to 20 eggs! hope this works

  6. cambriagardener

    cambriagardener Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hens need the pellets for a well balanced diet. I would hate to think what we would look like if we lived off of nothing but what we had to find on our own. I'm sure wild chickens can live off of forage, but our expectation is that our hens lay large, beautiful eggs for us at least every other day. Maybe your neighbor ought to MYOB. Good luck! [​IMG]
  7. spish

    spish De Regenboog Kippetjes

    Apr 7, 2010
    Quote:of course they are getting food!
    they are fed chopped veggies and salad/fruit morning and evening from the allotments, household scraps, grain and corn throughout the day.
  8. spish

    spish De Regenboog Kippetjes

    Apr 7, 2010
    Quote:many thanks
    i shall be introducing the layer pellets asap!!!!

    )))interferring busybody neighbours(((
  9. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2008
    I have a book in my hands right now called "The Dollar Hen" by Milo M. Hastings. This book was written in the year 1909 -- a full one hundred years ago, and BEFORE commercial layer feed became available.

    Agricultural specialists of the day did research to determine the average number of eggs that a healthy hen laid in a single year back then. They actually researched this by state, and the average number of eggs laid per hen is given in table form, broken down by state.

    Back in these days -- back in the days before layer pellets were available to feed the chickens -- the average hen laid somewhere around 60 or 70 eggs in a year.

    This differed depending on region of the country, however.

    Surprisingly, the highest average number of eggs per hen was in the New England area. Maine hens laid the highest amount of eggs per hen to be found anywhere in the nation: 100. Other states with relatively high egg counts per hen included Massachusetts (96), New Hampshire (96), Vermont (94) and Connecticut (89).

    The mid-west hens came in around the high 70's or low 80's.

    California hens came in at an average 71 eggs per hen. Hens in the Salt Lake desert (Utah) actually provided more eggs per hen than California, averaging in at 77 eggs per hen.

    Much to my surprise, hens in the southeast part of the country produced the least number of eggs per hen. Virginia hens didn't do too bad relative to birds in other sectors of the country (67 eggs per hen), however Louisiana hens ranked lowest in the nation at an average of only 40 eggs per hen. Georgia hens laid an average of 41 eggs per hen, while Mississippi hens laid 43 eggs per hen. Alabama hens laid an average of 48 eggs per hen.

    We get far more eggs per hen now, compared to 1909 when he wrote the book.

    There are three reasons for this:

    1, Chicken breeders have deliberately bred the hens that were the best producers, thus over time developing chicken breeds that are heavy egg layers

    2, We house chickens better today than chickens in at least some parts of the country were housed back in 1909. Actually, the reason he says that southern chickens produce so much fewer eggs than other areas of the country is because of housing -- southern chickens had either very poor housing or did not have housing at all, but slept in the trees at night. Chickens in the north had to be penned up in warm facilities or else they would die, and he argues that their better housing conditions is why the more north a chicken lived, the higher her average yearly egg production would be.

    and, germain to the question asked in this thread,

    3, Our chickens eat better today than they did back in 1909.

    In 1909, there was no such thing as layer pellets. A common diet for a chicken, according to Hastings, consisted of: oyster shells, beef scraps, corn and one other type of grain, together with an abundance of green pastureland or green feed.

    Note that even the best housed of our nation's chickens (those of the northeast) failed to lay over an average 100 eggs per year. That's only about one egg every 3 and 1/2 days. My lightest layers: the 2 year old laying hens, lay 3 eggs per week. My young hens (less than a year old) lay as much as 6 eggs per week, and one lady -- a production red -- has produced an egg every day this month except one day!

    So the answer to the question asked by the person in post #1 is that although there are more factors that influence how many eggs a hen will lay than just simply what the birds were fed, their food most certainly has a great impact on how many eggs they lay.

    If you want to maximize egg production, you probably need to feed your flock layer pellets.
  10. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

    May 6, 2010
    My Coop
    Interesting report Barry, thanks!

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