Egg Laying Changes - Need Some Assurance Please!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by dbounds10, Oct 22, 2011.

  1. dbounds10

    dbounds10 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 15, 2011
    Fort Worth, Tx
    Hi All - I have not been on the boards lately and things have been going great with the girls. However, this last week things have been getting a little strange. Here is the scenario...

    I have been getting 4-5 eggs daily from 6 girls (my last hen just started laying last week). I was anxiously waiting for my first 6 egg day. Instead what I got was a dramatic DECREASE in eggs. Anywhere from 1 to 4 a day over the last four days. I put it off as the start of fall/winter. I added a timer to my light in the coop and it comes on every morning at 6am and goes off at 4pm.

    My best layer Penny (BR) has not laid in 3 days and she has laid every day since her first egg. Sooo, getting to the point.

    Tonight I found a strange looking egg out in the run in the dirt (very pale tan, with a white ring of speckles on it). It is the size and shape of an egg I would see from Penny but a much lighter color. So I thought that was strange and went to the coop to see if there were any more eggs in the boxes. What I found in there was a large soft shell egg under the roost on the poop board!

    My girls are on Layena (just switched to the new Layena with Omega 3). They free range for 2-3 hours a day. They have free choice oyster shell that they never touch. They are given treats 3-5 night a week of anything from veggies to cottage cheese. Their shells have always been very strong

    The first girl (BR - Penny) laid at 20 weeks 6 days old on Aug 8th of this year, all the others followed at about 1-2 week intervals with my EE being the last hold out. She started last week at 31 wks 2 days.

    My questions are:

    1. What would cause a hen that has always laid in the box to all the sudden lay outside in the wide open

    2. - What would cause a random soft shell egg from a hen that has never had a soft shell egg in the past

    3. Is all this normal or do I have something I need to worry about?

    I just want to hear from the experts that this is normal and that I can chalk it up to either the season change or the change in feed. Although the feed should be basically the same Layena formula just with the added Omega 3.

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    If I read this right, your pullets are all in the first year of laying, is that correct? If so, the fall change should not be sending them into an enormous tizzy. The "pullet year" is the hen's best year of production, as a rule, in terms of number of eggs laid. They don't always lay their biggest eggs, but usually their highest number.

    The light you added is fine, in my book. That hardly is pushing them.

    This leaves the food change. Honestly? I cannot imagine that this would result in such noticeable change, but one never knows. You likely bought a 50# bag and are hesitant to change again with that big bag sitting there. Me? Honestly? If this continues? I'd change in a heart beat. At least I'd mix 50% high grade 20% feed and offer re-cycled egg shells. I see they never touch the oyster shells you offer.

    Again, if this all began with the change of feed, it simply has to be suspected. I don't believe I'd dismiss it as merely the same feed, just with Omega3 added. It appears the pullets think it is different.
  3. dbounds10

    dbounds10 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 15, 2011
    Fort Worth, Tx
    Fred's Hens - Thanks a ton for your response. Yes the girls are in their first year of laying and are just a little older than 6 months old. None are showing signs of any kind of moult. I did notice when we gave them a treat tonight, they almost seemed like they were starving. Maybe they dont like that feed and are not eating enough. I have no problem chucking that food and going back to the regular Layena. I hate to waste but no sense in making them eat something they dont like and are not producing because of it.

    Where would I find 20% protein feed? I dont know if my feed store has that. Would that be like game bird feed or feed for meaties?

    So what you are saying is that I should go back to the regular Layena and also get a bag of the higher protein feed and mix it half and half and then go back the the straight Layena once that is all gone?

    Also I forgot to mention, the oyster shell that they are not fond of... When I saw that they were not eating it, I took some of it and put it in the Ol' Magic Bullet and pulverized it into powder. When we give treats I would sprinkle a little of that powder in with it just to make sure they are getting enough calcium. Not to much, did not want to force them to eat a bunch if they didnt need it but just enough for what I thought was maintenance.
  4. abejita

    abejita Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2011
    Dallas, TX
    I'm in Dallas and I use H&H feed I believe it is 19% My girls have been laying splendidly and I am very happy with the feed. I've been buying it in Denton at D&L.

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