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Feed a Factor in Laying Frequency?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by aghiowa, Mar 11, 2012.

  1. aghiowa

    aghiowa Songster

    Sep 14, 2010
    Hi all. I've got 8 hens, all who "should" be laying (ie right age, health good, no broody or molting). However, they are slowly dropping out of the egg laying business, and I've got 3 or 4 now that haven't laid in over a month with one hen who hasn't laid more than once a month since Halloween. I'd blame winter, but we are getting out of that now, and even a new, first-year layer has stopped.

    Can what I'm feeding them cause this? I have been giving them 18% all flock pellets for just under a year now, with very occasional oyster shell. Would a 16% layer feed be better? They get a variety of kitchen scraps and they free range through my backyard. All seem healthy, all are different breeds, and all are under the age of 3. The eggs of the ones who are still laying are just fine.

    I see NO evidence of egg eating or predators stealing eggs. I am baffled.


  2. Niss

    Niss Songster

    Apr 29, 2011
    I don't know what's going on, just felt bad no one is responding. Feed is definitely A factor, but in your case I don't know if it's THE factor.

    I would think truly feed range birds would be able to even out whatever might be missing in their normal feed. For instance, my girls get wheat--not a nutritionally complete blend, and have for months, yet they lay--not as often as they might on the idea food, but it never stopped and now I'm getting 21 a day from about 30 free-range birds.

    Good Luck figuring this out! Could they be laying in a hidden nest? It something isn't eating the eggs that would be my guess.
  3. fiddlebanshee

    fiddlebanshee Songster

    Mar 11, 2010
    Frederick, MD
    Quote: This would be my guess, if they're free ranging. Check under brushes, leaves or any other dark corner in your yard.
  4. aghiowa

    aghiowa Songster

    Sep 14, 2010
    I checked the yard with a fine tooth comb...nothing. There is some small burrowing animal that's digging around the stone block foundation of the coop though. But here in urban eastern Iowa, I'm guessing it's a mole or a vole. I don't think they steal eggs, do they?

    I'm inclined to think the hens aren't laying in the first place though, as I never hear those particular ones sing the egg song or see them around the nests at all. I was willing to say the older ones were taking the winter off, but my new layer too now?

    I guess I should just enjoy them for their other benefits and be happy for the eggs I get, eh?


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