Help, I need a magic egg boosting formula!

leia_and_friends

Chirping
Jan 25, 2020
51
81
71
Australia
Hi BYCers!

I have 5 chooks in a run around my poolyard (it's an above ground pool). 4 are pure breeds - I have a Light Sussex, a BR, a GLW, and a Faverolles and a 3/4 Australorp (who has absolutely no troubles with egg production). They were hatched in late January this year, so they haven't been laying for long.

Currently, I'm only getting 1 or 2 eggs a day - the BR hasn't laid for ages since being broody, and the Faverolles has gone from 1 egg every 3 days, to no eggs at all. My GLW is quite sporadic with her laying; recently she was laying one a day, but not anymore... The Sussex does an egg song most days, but there's usually nothing in the nest box (and I've looked very carefully!). She can get a bit frustrated by this, and sometimes runs around clucking angrily when she can't lay. :barnie

They are having an 18 or 19% protein powdery layer feed (which is the very best my feed store/hatchery has; it's made by them and is used for their birds). They have oyster shell available, but don't seem too interested, except when I hand feed it at night. Which I haven't been doing much lately. I also give them food processed veggie scraps, and quite a lot of sprouted wheat... I get the feeling they don't eat masses of their layer feed, although I may be wrong.

What do I need to give them to help them lay better? Is it just because it's early summer over here in Australia, and the heat makes them struggle?

They were laying really well before, but since a wave of broodiness hit the flock a while ago, egg production has gone downhill. Only one is broody at the moment, but she's not even that bad - she doesn't sit on the nest constantly (although she would if she had constant access to her preferred box). She just runs around doing those gentle broody clucks and is a bit more grumpy than usual.

Do they not have enough protein? The knowledgeable man at the feed store said that chickens can't handle much more than 19% protein in their feed, although I'd read otherwise. Maybe Australian chickens need less protein than chooks in colder climates? I have been giving them less treats and veggies than usual, so would that make a difference?

Anyway, I'd love any advice on this subject! I'm sure there have been thousands of people who've managed to boost egg production in some way or other... I just need that magic and elusive egg-boosting formula! :idunno :gig


~ Jemima
 
Last edited:

cavemanrich

Addict
7 Years
Apr 6, 2014
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Melrose Park Illinois
Chickens do go thru egg laying cycles. I have to twist my thinking upside down in terms of weather, since I'm Up-Over. :old :gig My chickens went on strike at about October, and no eggs at this time. I will have to wait until March when Spring arrives for me.
In your weather timetable, I think egg production should start about now. The broodiness which does start around Springtime, is one factor, for no eggs. (or fewer than usual) Are any of your chickens possibly going thru a molt??? Not all molts are HEAVY MOLTS..
Now to the feed question. I think your feed is proper in protein value. That is if the values are correct on the contents, and not label.
Egg production needs protein, since eggs are bundles of protein. If you give too much treats, scratch, or the sprouted wheat, it dilutes the protein percentage of their food intake. If you still want to maintain the treats, and wheat, etc, I suggest you try to increase their protein somehow. There are a few ways to do this. Get higher protein feed. Game bird feed I think is about 22%-24% protein or higher. I don't have the specs in front of me handy. Feather fixer, is another blend with higher protein percentage. (compared to layer/grower) Not sure you can get it in your feed store. Its plentiful in mine. US. based. Another option is to offer some dry cat food in small amounts as you experiment. Look at my Avatar and you can see my chickens share with my cats. I have read reference that cat food may contain salt. I'm not sure of the amount, but know cats cant have very much salt anyways. The trace amount that they would incur since it is not their only food would compare to a couple of farts in a hurricane.:old:gig
All my chickens have stole cat food, and all live looooong lives. I only keep as pets, but do eat the eggs. Oldest chicken lived 13 years. My current senior hen is 9 years, and still top of pecking order.
WISHING YOU BEST,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and:welcome
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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I also give them food processed veggie scraps, and quite a lot of sprouted wheat... I get the feeling they don't eat masses of their layer feed, although I may be wrong.
Cut out the extras, then they'll eat more of the layer feed.
Do that for two weeks see what happens.

Might want to give some exams.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/who-is-laying-and-who-is-not-butt-check.73309/

Then might need to....
Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop/run for a week or so can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop and maybe run 24/7 for a few days to a week, provided you have adequate space and ventilation, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.
 

GC-Raptor

Free Ranging
5 Years
Jul 26, 2016
5,683
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What do I need to give them to help them lay better? Is it just because it's early summer over here in Australia, and the heat makes them struggle?
When my hens egg production slows during summer heat, I wet their feed to a consistency of pancake batter. A 1/4 cup dry per hen. They have dry Crumble feed available all day.
They are having an 18 or 19% protein powdery layer feed (which is the very best my feed store/hatchery has; it's made by them
A mash feed is best served wet.
I also give them food processed veggie scraps, and quite a lot of sprouted wheat... I get the feeling they don't eat masses of their layer feed,
I would cut down on the extras during the summer.
Make sure their feed is fresh, they don't like stale feed. Store feed at room temperature and use up within 2 months. If stored outside in hot temps, buy smaller bags and use within 3 weeks. GC
 

leia_and_friends

Chirping
Jan 25, 2020
51
81
71
Australia
Thank you everybody for your helpful responses! :)

@cavemanrich; as far as I'm aware, there hasn't been any moulting going on. And you said:

If you give too much treats, scratch, or the sprouted wheat, it dilutes the protein percentage of their food intake.

I though sprouted wheat was very high in protein... I was actually worried they may be getting too much protein. One of my girls walks a bit awkwardly, and apparently too much protein can get into their joints and cause issues. It could just be me being a worry-warts though. She is a pretty big chook and probably has a fair bit of weight to carry around. ;)

@GC-Raptor; wetting the feed is a great idea! I will try that and see what happens! Thank you for the tips! :)

@aart; I will also try cutting out treats etc. An experiment won't do any harm, and maybe it'll give me a better idea of what's going on.
 

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