Fermenting Food- Stopped laying!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by CatherinePeeps, Apr 1, 2018.

  1. CatherinePeeps

    CatherinePeeps In the Brooder

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    Apr 1, 2018
    Hello everyone! I have a situation that I could use help on.
    I am currently feeding a non GMO soy free layer feed 16%. Cracked and whole grains with powders/additives.
    The beginning of March I started fermenting the feed. With fermenting the feed each chicken and duck is getting over 1/4 lb- before wetting down to ferment. 13 1/2 lbs dry food turning into almost 50 lb with oatmeal consistency.
    I feed once a day that is resulting in the chickens and ducks eating all the food in 15 minutes.
    Now good thing is a lot of my chickens have become healthier and they are actually eating all the feed and they are not wasting the feed like before. I was probably loosing 1/4 of the food before.
    Problem is the ducks and chickens have stopped laying- I was getting 5-6 chickens eggs a day- now 2 a day and 2 duck eggs a day to none.
    The only ones that have kept laying are my Pekins that started laying in January.
    The chickens also get kitchen scraps like veggies and such in the morning. They have free choice calcium. They also get mealwormrs at least once a week.l
    I am going to start some fodder trays to feed them in the morning too. I have also considered making flock blocks.
    I am just wondering if I need to think about feeding them more. I am trying to do their food the most effective and less waste as I can. Once the garden gets going they will have scraps and weeds there as well.
    I am just worried as they have been on it for a month now and with daylight hours (I am in Michigan) I would be expecting more laying. I am also worried because come June we will have a Farm Share program that includes eggs.
    Quick note is they are getting about the same amount in dry weight as they were before I started fermenting it.
    Thank you all in advance!
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    Clarification please. Are you feeding exactly the same feed that you were providing before you started fermenting? So, your non GMO, soy free 16% layer feed is made up of cracked and whole grains with the nutri-balancer added? Are you getting your feed from the same supplier? Is it possible that you got a batch that was not mixed to the correct formulation?

    I would try increasing their feed. When I give FF, my birds are given as much as they will eat in a day. Some days they eat it all up by late afternoon, occasionally, there is some left over which I hold over until the next day. Give them as much as they will eat, and see if that helps. Realize that any changes you make may take 3 weeks to show a change in their productivity. If a month of giving them as much as they will eat does not change their productivity, try switching back to the dry feed and see if that makes a difference.
     
    ChickNanny13 likes this.
  3. Foster's Freehold

    Foster's Freehold Songster

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    How old are the hens? It may be time for a spring molt.They will usually stop laying about that time.
     
  4. CatherinePeeps

    CatherinePeeps In the Brooder

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    Apr 1, 2018
    Yes, sorry I should have clarified it is the same feed they have been on over a year. Same amount just fermented.
     
  5. CatherinePeeps

    CatherinePeeps In the Brooder

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    They are all 2& 3. Some are only going on one year old. I have not noticed any loss in feathers yet. Could they start the molt before I notice feather loss?
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    I've never noted my birds to do a spring molt. Usually it's end of summer, fall, or even winter.
     
    ChickNanny13, sourland and rebrascora like this.
  7. Mine always molt in late summer to fall-getting on a new winter coat of feathers. I believe only juvenile birds would be seen to molt in the spring. I think the reduction in production is probably much more a factor of the age of these hens. Hens that are two and three years old will be laying less frequently than they were; they are probably settling down into the pattern they will hold during this laying season. However, allowing them to eat all they want in a day, as lazy gardener suggested, is a very good idea and likely to help the situation, if anything will bring improvement.
     
    ChickNanny13 likes this.
  8. CatherinePeeps

    CatherinePeeps In the Brooder

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    Apr 1, 2018
    Okay, it is just weird as their production started to pick up in Jan.
    And they are getting the same amount off feed. If anything they are eating more as they are not wasting 1/4 of it like they were before.
    My pekins the largest birds I have are getting the same amount as before and still laying. The chicks and smaller chickens have slowed down despite being on the same amount or more really since they are eating it all.
    I am thinking the main thing is they don't have something to peck at all day like they did the dry food maybe?
     
  9. CatherinePeeps

    CatherinePeeps In the Brooder

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    Can I see that much a drop in production. I was getting 20 + a day out of about 25 hens till the fall of 2017. I added a few hens and now have about 30.
     
  10. Ruralhideaway

    Ruralhideaway Crowing

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    Maybe I missed this info. Are your birds free ranging all day? If no what are they eating the other 23+ hours after they eat their daily ration in 15 minutes?
     

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