Egg Production OFF

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Ebal, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. Ebal

    Ebal Out Of The Brooder

    May 6, 2013
    In Georgia and having lots of variation in temps recently. My 8 Hens, who are 9 months old, had been producing 6-7 eggs per day back in the early fall; fell to 3-4 in November; now down to 1-2 /day in January/February.

    Anything other than cold weather and short days?
  2. foreverlearning

    foreverlearning Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2013
    Most likely it is the strange mood swing temps and short days. This is the time of year my hens rest and out of 7 regular layers (not counting the ones where their peek is 1 every 3 days) I get from 1-4 eggs a day. Mostly in the 1-2 a day range. If you want to make sure nothing else is going on there are simple things to check. Pick up your girls and make sure they haven't lost weight. This rules out most illnesses as most of them lose weight first thing when getting sick. Check their vents for signs of mites or lice. You should do this on a regular biases anyway as part of your care. Feel below the vent and see if you feel an egg. If you do you can put them in a confined space (coop) and see if they lay that egg that day. If they do there is no problem. If you feel an egg inside and they don't lay it you want to keep an eye on that girl.

    Personally I think it is the weather and lack of daylight. The things for you to check are for your peace of mind if you think there is something strange or are just worried.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    There are all kinds of things it could possibly be. It’s been pretty steady though so that eliminates a lot of temporary things.

    A lot of pullets will continue to lay through their first winter and skip the molt, but a lot don’t. That’s my prime suspect. It’s also possible something stressed them and kicked off a molt. Them running out of water, a predator scare, adding or removing chickens that change the pecking order, moving to a new location, a whole lot of things might trigger a molt. Often that is a mini-molt and is over fairly quickly, but maybe that time of year it went deeper.

    Is it possible they are hiding a nest from you? Other than a molt, that’s probably the biggest reason people think their hens have stopped laying when they really haven’t.

    It’s possible something is getting the eggs. Usually that is not as steady as I think your loss has been. Wild predators don’t tend to hang around for their daily quota. They show up, eat what is there, and leave. They may come one day and skip the next. You tend to get high and low days of production with most predators. A lot of them leave evidence behind too. Not all of them, but a lot.

    It’s possible but unlikely you have an egg eater. About any chicken will eat a broken egg. That’s not what I’m talking about. An egg eater is one that has learned to purposely open and egg to eat it. Once it is open the other chickens might and probably will join in to help her finish it off but as long as they don’t learn to open one, they are not the problem. Why I think it is unlikely is that they may clean up some of them really well, but you will occasionally find a soggy mess in the nest. They don’t always eat all the egg shell either. I think over this time period, you’d have seen some evidence if you had an egg eater.

    Do you have a pet dog that has access to the coop? Has Barky learned the egg song is an invitation to a snack?

    When things disappear without evidence, you can’t necessarily rule out a human?

    From what you describe, I suspect it is probably the days being short. With the days getting longer, they should crank back up before long. You might check for a hidden nest. If you have the facilities, maybe leave them locked up for a day or two and see if production goes up. That could mean a hidden nest or that something you locked out was getting the eggs.

    I don’t think it is something talking the eggs, but maybe you could put a hidden mark on an egg and leave it down there to see if it disappears.

    Good luck with it.

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