Help!! 30 hens--3 eggs


11 Years
Apr 11, 2008
Eastern Oregon
My hens started laying poorly this summer, I first blamed the heat and then moulting because most of them are at least partly naked. They don't seem to be growing their feathers back very quickly. This fall I started blaming it on the sudden cool weather and the light waning. In the last two weeks they've dropped from 50% production to as low as one egg. The most I've gathered in the last week was 5 eggs in one day. I've had an artificial light on them now for a week.

Most of my hens will be two next spring and last year they laid all winter. At first I had a friend say it sounded like coccidiosis so I treated their water. Some of them have some fairly loose stool, but I've never seen bloody stools. When I mentioned to another friend that some of them had very red irritated skin she suggested mites, so I dusted that night as soon as they roosted. That was last Saturday. I didn't know you could see mites. I went out tonight to get very personal with my most irritated girls, but I could see no crawlies. Maybe I cleared them out the first night?

Any ideas what I might be missing? If it was only mites, how long before egg production picks up?
I would say that all these conditions could be part of the problems.
What feed are they eating? Sometimes changing the brand to see if possibly they could have an allergy (never heard of one, but who knows, I rash at the slightest thing)
Are they free range or penned?
What do they have access to for vegetation? Nettles, poison Ivy or Oak - could have a irritating effect.
Are you giving them to many treats?
Some farmers claim that you only feed a layer hen layer pellets/mash/crumble and water.
Do you have ceder shavings or what type of bedding? If its ceder, it is a irritant.
Could they be picking at each other or stressed?

I certainly hope that someone can help you out, there is nothing as horrible to think they are suffering with skin issues or mites. Plus, you'd like to think they could pay for their kibble- lol.
I have them on a good layer mix and they don't seem to have laid off their feed any. I haven't let the girls out for a while because the roosters were pestering them. With their poor bare backs I was worried about any more trauma. Only the roos are out where they can choose their own eats. I do feed kitchen scraps. I fed downed apples from my orchard for a while. Are apples a no-no?

I'd sure like a list of foods that should NOT be fed to them if there are some things which will make them quit laying.

I have elm tree chips on the floor of the coop and in the nesting boxes. I had naked chickens before changing to the elm chips, however.
elm tree chips?
that could be it.
remove and sweep out any dust or debris, wipe down nest boxes..treat coop and nests with mite dust.

I suggest you get commercial pine shavings ASAP.

and do a light wash using diluted warm soapy water..(cat or baby shampoo) of the irritated areas to remove any irritant..rinse and dry well
then apply a light coat of polysporin, neosporin, or ointment used for babies with diaper rash.

cut out the apples..just give the feed and oyster shell, and clean water for a day or so to see if the droppings clear up.
could be too much apples, and/or other veggies or fruits or kitchen scraps if you give them..

what did you use to treat cocci?
how did you give it, and for how long.
there are different kinds of cocci, and cocci doesn't always show blood in the droppings.
The medicine was a sulpha powder I picked up at the food store. I sprinkled it in the water for about five days. The directions on the bag were kind of ambiguous.

I didn't know there were other types of coccidiosis. Are the treatments different?
Remember years ago with the sickness traced back to using downed apples in un-pasturized cider? I don't remember though whether it was Salmonella or E-Coli. They could be getting a light dose from the apples.

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