Egg laying and feathering problems

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by OmaForFour, Feb 17, 2019.

  1. OmaForFour

    OmaForFour Chirping

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    Dec 29, 2014
    Downeast Maine
    I have eight black Australorps. They are 2 years old. Since their molt late last summer, 2 of them have not gotten their tail feathers back and another one is missing a patch of feathers on her back just above her tail. Another one is getting her feathers back and has beautifully healthy pin feathers coming in.
    I live in Downeast Maine and we do have some cold weather, but I would think by now they would have been done molting quite some time ago.
    I have been feeding them 18% mash, black oil sunflower seeds, scratch, grit, some greens. Should I be giving them oyster shells as well as the grit?
    I have a light plus a red heat lamp going for approx. 12 hrs of light and the heat lamp goes 24/7.
    I have also given them pans of warm oatmeal when the weather has been extremely cold.
    ALSO, they are NOT laying many eggs. Usually 1 or 2 in a day and sometimes none.
    Can anyone help me and tell me what I am doing wrong? I am so frustrated because they were such good layers in the beginning.
    OmaForFour
     
  2. Broodygranny

    Broodygranny Songster

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    Have you checked for mites? It can make them pluck.
     
  3. OmaForFour

    OmaForFour Chirping

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    Yes, and there does not seem to be any. I am going to start giving herbs today - whatever I can find in the store and see if that helps. I found a big list of them online with Lisa Steele from Fresh Eggs Daily.
    Can you think of anything else that is going on or might help? I really appreciate your replying so quickly. Thanks!
    OmaForFour
     
  4. Broodygranny

    Broodygranny Songster

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    My layer pellets have a bit more protein than that. Its 23%. I don't know if that helps or not. I have heard they may pluck feathers if not enough protein. I don't know how much black oil sunflower seeds have in it though. So they may be getting enough already. I wish I could be more helpful! Hope they grow back some feathers soon!
     
  5. WindingRoad

    WindingRoad Songster

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    Winter and a molt should be feeding higher protein. That helps get the feathers in. I live in Somerset county across the state from you. It sure has been cold this winter. I'd can the light might be stressing them. I don't light. 4 birds 2 2year olds and 2 24 month olds. They all lay and have all winter. Usually 4 eggs per day. I got 4 yesterday and 4 today. Last week I hard boiled 4 to use some up. I eat 2 a day. Now I have 16 eggs. I can't keep up. Isn't that the way it goes. You wish your's would lay I wish mine would slow down. If you were closer I'd pop over and give you a dozen.

    ETA: some mealworms, (protein) also try some ACV water. I tablespoon per gallon of water. I give every other week for the week. ACV= Apple Cider Vinegar. I keep it in a gallon jug, labeled, and fill water jars with it as I go out.
     
  6. OmaForFour

    OmaForFour Chirping

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    Dec 29, 2014
    Downeast Maine
    My chickens do not like pellets. They eat crumble readily. What brand of pellets do you use? Perhaps I can get them in crumble form.
    Someone told me that black oil sunflower seeds have a good amount of protein. I will check it out further. Thanks so much for your reply.
     
  7. FlyWheel

    FlyWheel Songster

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    They don't need the oyster shells, that's to provide the extra calcium needed for laying, and if they are moltin they are not layin.
     
  8. OmaForFour

    OmaForFour Chirping

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    Dec 29, 2014
    Downeast Maine
    OK. Thanks!
     
  9. OmaForFour

    OmaForFour Chirping

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    Dec 29, 2014
    Downeast Maine
    YES! It has been cold, and now another snow is heading our way later in the week. We have some nasty ice patches around us. My car slid down the driveway today when I went to the store. I thought I was going to end up by the trees!
    I will be going in to Ellsworth soon and will get a big bag of mealworms there. In the meantime I have read that pumpkin seeds are also good. I can get them in Hannaford in town tomorrow if I can find them without salt in the bulk food section.
    I am glad your chickens are doing so well. If you like custard, that is a good way to use some up.
    Thanks for getting back to me and keep in touch.
    Regards,
    Oma
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Layer mash? What's the calcium percentage?
    Cut out everything but the mash.....layer mash is meant to be the sole ration.
    BOSS has some decent protein but also a lot of fat.

    Save the herbs and spices for when ready to cook them. Stick to a good basic ration and plain water while they are living.
     
    Meg-in-MT likes this.

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