Egg efficiency in the winter?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Desp, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. Desp

    Desp Out Of The Brooder

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    I have approximately 73 Rhode Island Red hens (from McMurray) hatchery and I am trying to determine if I need to do anything to increase their egg laying efficiency or if I am getting what I should expect. The hens are right around 7 months old, and started laying shortly before fall, so I am not sure if I've ever gotten 100 percent of their capacity or should expect more in the spring.

    Right now I am getting anywhere from 24 eggs a day (A few days after a really cold, rainy spell with freezing waterers and nasty conditions) to around 42, 44 eggs daily. They receive no supplemental light or heat. A normal day is usually right at 3 dozen.
     
  2. bigt447

    bigt447 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds about right.....mine are laying about every other day. I use no artificial light, but provide high protein main course & high calorie scratch snacks.
     
  3. Desp

    Desp Out Of The Brooder

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    Did you have mature hens before the winter? I've never gotten full capacity as they started laying in the fall. Any idea how many eggs/day I should expect come spring time?
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Tell us more about your coop and run...sizes, climate.
    What exactly are you feeding?

    Waterers freezing can really throw them off...even a couple hours without water can shut them down for weeks.
     
  5. Desp

    Desp Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 23, 2012
    Two coops approximately 80 sq. ft. each.

    The coops have A frame roof with open gables to allow for airflow. The perches sit below the gables so the hens are never in direct airflow.

    The only go into the coop right after sunset and come out at sunrise, there are no runs, just 20+ acres of fun for them.

    The averages lately has been around 35f night, 50s during the day. Couple days it gone down to the low 20s at night and 30s during the day. The receive no supplemental heat or light.

    They are fed GMO free feed which consists of peanut meal, wheat and barley with the regular vitamins/nutrients layer feed has. Plus they constantly scratch and eat bugs/vegetation.

    Not sure if it was lack of water or the 20 degree nights but afterwards there was 2 days of 24 eggs, since then it's back up to 36+. I don't know if I have a problem I need to fix, or if they are just laying as expected with short days.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Was curious about their protein level....do you know that number?

    If you are free ranging they could well be laying out in range area, way to cure that is to confine them for a week,
    but your coops aren't big enough to kindly do that....wonders if they aren't a bit crowded anyway.
     
  7. Desp

    Desp Out Of The Brooder

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    Protein is 18% or 16%, I'll have to look again.

    I have looked around everywhere they go, I found a couple and collected from one spot a hen was laying regularly, nothing significant though.

    Yeah the coops are not large enough to confine them, they are fine for sleeping as they go in and directly to the perch, and come out first thing in the morning. Perch space is plenty as I check and there is room for more hens if they wished. No one stays on the floor.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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  9. frog3toad

    frog3toad New Egg

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    Sounds low to me.

    My RIRs are egg machines; they are the same age as yours. If they aren't laying an egg a day something is likely wrong (frozen water, limited feed). Mine kept up during the recent subzero stretch. I have light and supplemental heat (to compensate for a first time coop builder) in my coop, water is on a heater in the fully exposed run. Food is available both in the coop and the run.

    If you really want eggs, supplemental light is the way to go. It's cheap compared to what you get on returns. But I can understand the hinderance of getting electricity to a remote coop, and arguments against what nature intended.
     
  10. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    At my latitude, there are 13 hours between dawn and dusk civil twilight (sun 6degrees below horizon) so we should all expect egg laying to increase steadily.
    As aart queried, much will depend on nutrition and general management other than just breed and time of year. Different lines of each breed can vary significantly.
     

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