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Eight Hens, 3 eggs a WEEK!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by disneyguy, Jul 15, 2019.

  1. disneyguy

    disneyguy Songster

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    Howdy!

    Having a bit of an egg problem over here, that has a couple of layers to it. I have eight hens, and at the turn of the year (December - February), I was getting three dozen eggs a week. Since, egg laying has dropped dramatically (odd, since the summer has started and the sun more prevalent).

    Second issue, I know I have a chicken eating eggs. I don't see enough shell for the little lady to consume THAT many eggs a day, so the rest aren't laying much. I should also add that this group is in their first full year (year and a half, actually) and should be at peak laying. They are in a huge run on the side of my house (easily over 25 feet long and over 10 feet wide).

    So, my questions: any idea why my girls aren't laying consistently anymore? Any clue how to rid the egg eater?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Kris5902

    Kris5902 Free Ranging

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    I wish I could help... I’m following along because I’m in a similar spot myself. They will eat the shells as well, so they might be disposing of more of the evidence than you know.

    I have tried modifying my nestboxes for roll away egg collection, but they still managed to get their heads in and peck the eggs! I’m at a loss, the only eggs I got yesterday rolled out from under the run portion of my chicken tractor. They were standing so high up when laying the eggs were getting cracked so I padded the nestbox with a little kitchen mat, now they aren’t using the nestboxes at all today.

    I tried blowing out and filling eggs with mustard, painstakingly filling them through a tiny hole with a syringe... didn’t work, apparently my chickens like Dijon mustard too! I am mostly at home throughout the day... so far my best success has been from rushing out every time it sounds like someone laid, if I can get there fast enough I can salvage maybe a dozen eggs a week.

    So frustrating!
     
  3. Peppercorngal

    Peppercorngal Crowing

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    Chickens have little taste and their taste buds are in the back of their mouths, so usually they have started to swallow before they even taste anything. Hot sauce, mustard, things that to us are too spicy a chicken can't even taste at all, so that will never work. I have no answer for egg eaters.
    I, too, am not getting the eggs I should be, seems my older (about 2 1/2 years old) hens are not putting out anymore. I have 40 laying hens and only getting between 19 and 23 eggs a day. I have no idea why except the hens are getting older? My Easter Eggers are laying only every other day now, many others I suspect as well. I withheld treats for months, made no difference at all. I don't have egg eaters that I know of. ?????? Mystery to me! :confused:
     
  4. Kris5902

    Kris5902 Free Ranging

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    I also read somewhere of filling them with dish soap, but figured I would try the more edible mustard suggestion first! Point being it was a complete failure and not worth trying IMO should you see it suggested.

    I know that egg production is supposed to drop off significantly with older hens, maybe that’s what you’re seeing? But mine are just coming up on 1 year old.
     
  5. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Free Ranging

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    How hot is it where you're at? Heat can affect laying, so that could maybe explain a decrease in production...

    For the egg eating, if you have the time I suppose you could sit out there and observe or put out in a camera to see if you can catch the egg eater. Otherwise maybe consider roll away nest boxes?
     
    aart likes this.
  6. Kris5902

    Kris5902 Free Ranging

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    Today I won! Here is my solution to the egg eating... I am happy to say that the latest re-design on the roll away nestbox seems to have worked! I got 7 eggs so far today, as opposed to my recent average of 2! :yesss:
    AC560E43-1F2A-4BF3-A3FE-0842A8C15E96.jpeg

    First I added a 1x3 to the bottom of the nest box insert (14x29”) that extended out the back about 4” and a 1x3 to the top of that to protect the eggs, it has a cut up old jean fringe to block the sight. It was propped up by an additional 2x2 in the front with a plywood floor.

    This failed, they just stuck their heads through the fringe and ate the eggs anyway! :mad: So, I added an additional 1x3 to the inside with a second fringe, but this slowed the eggs down too much and they caught on the fringe, the front went up another inch to increase slope. Then the eggs were cracking when they got to the bottom and hit the back or another egg. :he On went the brown foam back fringe (random kids craft foam I had hanging around) and some more jean material for cushioning.

    Then my sapphires decided they want to lay standing up tall and high and dropping their eggs onto the plywood, so in went my cut up rooster kitchen mat :hit for padding, which was not appreciated by the chickens at all! They tried to scratch it out, roll it up, pooped on it multiple times (it really is stain resistant and easy to clean)

    In the end though, I triumphed over the feathered egg eating little scoundrels, and have gotten seven eggs to prove it. I didn’t have to catch them as they were being laid, or run out as soon as I hear an egg song only to find That I was too late and they are actually celebrating their snack, so now I can get my chores done and still get eggs throughout the day... now I just need to make two more for the other tractors!:lol:
     
    Acre4Me, so lucky and FowlWitch like this.
  7. disneyguy

    disneyguy Songster

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    Thanks for the conversation and making me feel not alone!

    For the heat question, I'm in Sacramento - so it gets easily averaging about 100 degrees here in the summer, up to about 115. We have been at about 95 - 100 average so far this summer.

    I don't have true next boxes, and never have. The chickens have their spots in the coop and in the run, and its always been good. May need to think about installing some of those nifty looking roll-away-egg ones though!
     
    Kris5902 likes this.
  8. Kris5902

    Kris5902 Free Ranging

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    The price point was just too high for me on the pre-made ones... so I used some scrap lumber for mine. At first my girls were laying all over the run so I made these little insert things without bottoms to give them the idea of where to put their eggs. I used the ceramic fake eggs too, but my girls lay a rainbow from dark brown Marans to blues and greens, and the chickens figured out the difference quickly. At first it was just blues and greens getting eaten, then pretty soon everything but ceramic was on the menu! Sometimes the only indication of any laying at all was a damp sticky spot in the nesting materials.

    I do agree there could certainly be a heat factor involved too! I’ve also heard that eggs drop off in extreme heat (and that’s pretty hot IMO!)
     
  9. Acre4Me

    Acre4Me Crowing

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    We’ve been getting less eggs too, although we have some new ones just coming into lay. Heat can be a factor. I put up shade cloth, and this has definitely cooled the area shaded, but too soon to see an impact. My oldest ones are about 16 months and could be thinking about molting (no eggs). One (maybe 2) are broody(no eggs). One has bumblefoot that needs to be treated-and she’s staying away from the flock, and am guessing no eggs due to body stress/infection. So, I’m guessing there may be several reasons for our reduction in production.
     
    aart and Kris5902 like this.
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    First, make sure you actually have an egg eater, without real nests that maybe hard to ascertain....wet messes in nests is usually the first clue.
    Are you certain they are not burying them somewhere in the bedding?
    I would encourage you to have some 'real' nests, they don't need to be roll away, but good luck getting them to use them, that will take some time since they've always laid wherever.

    It could also be a predator taking the eggs, rats and snakes come to mind first.

    Egg eating can be caused by stress from crowding and/or lack of nutrients.
    What all and how exactly are you feeding?
    Any changes in feeding lately?
    Do you check the MFG date on your chicken feed bags?

    So your birds are about 18 months old?
    My bet is that they are slowing down prior to their first full adult molt.
    They can start molting anywhere from late July to December.

    The heat can definitely have an affect on production. They don't eat as much when it's hot and use all the water they drink to cool their bodies, not much resources left to make eggs.

    Deep all day shade is best, or if you're in the desert with very low humidity a mister system may help, but I have neither so....

    I give a dose of Sav-a-Chick electrolytes/vitamins about once a week during heat waves. It really seems to help....started this after they saved a heat stroked hen once.
    Can mix up a smaller amount, just wrap the packet tight and store in a dry cool place. Always have plain water available too.
    [​IMG]


    BIG(9x14x2") chunks of ice last all day for wading, sitting, and sipping.
    Much more useful to the chickens than frozen foods and treats.
    [​IMG]

    Make space in your freezer!
    [​IMG]
     
    Kris5902 and ocap like this.

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