Egg Problems. Someone give me advice!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by saraiquimby1, Jul 27, 2016.

  1. saraiquimby1

    saraiquimby1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a few problems i'm not sure about.

    Some details first. I have 19 hens. 10 of them were born in March of 2015 (making them about a year and 4 months old). Various laying breeds. The other 9 were born february of this year, making them about 5 months old. They are fed an 18% pellet feed, and have free choice oyster shell. They are in the coop until about 12 or 2pm and then free range our farm for 6-8 hours until they put themselves to bed. No changes recently. They have all been together for about 4 months.

    The problem is that I'm only getting about 7 eggs a day, sometimes less but never more. Shouldn't they be laying better? Used to get about 1 a day from the 10 older ones...I know at least 4 of the younger pullets are laying (I see their tiny eggs). But why am I not getting more out of the adults? I feel like they should be laying better. They are not laying outside of the coop, I know where they hang out and such and they aren't laying anywhere else. Not sure if there's something more I can be doing for them or if that sounds about right.

    Second problem is for the last week or so I've noticed broken eggs in the nesting boxes. At first I just thought it was an accident. Then there was a broken one the next day. And the next day. Today there was yolk in the bottom of one of the nesting boxes but no egg shell. I don't understand what to do or if that's an issue. I can't tell if its on purpose or what. It's always in a nesting box with other eggs in it and it's only ever been one egg in the box. Not always the same nesting box either.

    They are all acting completely normal.

    Any advice?
     
  2. TheKindaFarmGal

    TheKindaFarmGal Overrun With Chickens

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    What breed are your adult hens?

    The broken eggs you found - the hens most likely ate those. Chickens will eat their own eggs when they have been broken, and some will break them to eat them. Make sure your chickens are getting enough nutrients. What do they eat? Do they get enough calcium and protein in their diet?
     
  3. SueT

    SueT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was going to suggest what previous reply suggested--- that a hen is eating the eggs. Also a snake or other predator can steal eggs. Could some kind of small critter get in?
    I suspected that mine were laying somewhere else, but couldn't find any nests...but t kept vigilant and finally found a hidden nest in our carport.
     
  4. saraiquimby1

    saraiquimby1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My older hens: 5 buff orpington (one i caught yesterday kicking the eggs around in one of the nesting boxes, and i swiped them from her because i was afraid she was the one breaking them), 1 black sex link, 2 easter egger and one RIR.

    They are fed Nutrena NatureWise All Flock 18% Pellet (the highest protein food available for me). Free choice oyster shell, and sunflower seeds at night. They also free range.

    No critters in the coop.It's completely predator proof plus we live on a highway and just don't have predators.

    What else am I missing? How do you stop a hen if she is purposely eating the eggs? And why is she just doing one egg?
     
  5. saraiquimby1

    saraiquimby1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also, they free range in our horse pasture and side yard mostly and there's no where to really hunker down and lay. It's all open pasture and one pine tree they all hang out under but no eggs there.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Well, not all birds lay daily, especially after their first year.
    Some lay 6-7 a week (production birds like your BSL), and some may lay only 3-4-5 a week.
    Some may take little sabbaticals, laying regularly for a few weeks then taking a few weeks off.....my EE's do this.

    The egg mess you found in the nest....could be an egg eater...or could be from a thin shelled or soft shelled egg from one of the new layers.
    Thin and soft shelled egg are fair game IMO for being eaten as they are easily broken and it will not necessarily lead to the eating of hard shelled eggs.
    Your BO scratching around eggs in the nest may just be temporary as the new layers get established..but it is best to check as frequently as possible and remove eggs often if you have a suspicion that someone is an egg eater. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help deter an egg eater....and entice everyone to lay in the nests.

    You may think there's nowhere to hunker down and lay out there......but...well, I wouldn't bet on it.
    I've read that so many times, then folks lock them up and start getting eggs and/or they find a huge stash in a place they never would have thought to look.

    Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop for 3-4 days can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop 24/7 for a few days to a week, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.
     
  7. aldarita

    aldarita Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Regarding your first issue with eggs, if you don't find any hidden nests around, it could also be that they are slowing down in the egg production. I have 17 hens and only getting 7 to 8 eggs a day and I attribute this to being in the hottest part of summer and sone of them are shedding feathers already having light molts.
     

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