Decreased eggs and hens wandering

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by tacraig07, Aug 7, 2014.

  1. tacraig07

    tacraig07 Out Of The Brooder

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    We have about 25 chickens all together; one big red roo, two bantem Roos, and the rest hens, one is a bantem. They are a mix of reds, americuanas, wyandottes, buff orpingtons, and white rhode islands. We have 4 acres in the middle of about 20 acres. Some of our girls are wandering off and our egg supply has decreased. We just let them free range in the summer with scratch grain now and then. Half the hens are 2 yrs old and the other are 1. I'm worried some of our older girls aren't laying and/or laying somewhere else. Should we feed them more? Put out more nesting boxes? Retire our older girls? Any advice or ideas will be much appreciated!
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2014
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    With free range birds, if they have access to a lot of places outside that they would consider a good place to hide eggs you usually wind up with hidden nests being an ongoing problem.. I wind up putting "fake" hidden nests outside for them and just collecting eggs out of them like normal (old dog houses, buckets, barrels etc) it seems to keep the girls that want to hide eggs happy and I still get the eggs.

    Are you feeding them Layer or some sort of food besides scratch? Availability of food and the quality (scratch is usually low protein) will really really affect egg production. If they aren't getting any feed, besides the occasional scratch and the forage is poor, you aren't going to get many eggs. Most commercial Layer feeds say that hens should be free fed, they may eat more or less depending on what is available when they free range.

    Here is a nice article on evaluating laying hens to figure out who to cull http://www.poultry.msstate.edu/pdf/extension/culling.pdf
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Lock them all up in the coop for a few days to a week or so...all day and night or at least until mid afternoon or so.

    Free range hens need to be 're-homed' to the nests in the coop once in a while.
     

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