Help! Lots of Eggs then...NOTHING.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hicktownmom, Jan 12, 2011.

  1. hicktownmom

    hicktownmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 27, 2009
    East of Bend, Oregon
    My younger hens started laying last month (even though I thought that they might wait until spring since they matured in the winter). I was thrilled. I started getting 6-9 eggs a day (11 hens). Then all of a sudden, it stopped. I get one, maybe two eggs a day now. What happened? The weather hasn't changed. Their food hasn't changed. They don't seem to be molting. Any ideas?
    Thanks.
     
  2. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    Do you use artificial lights? Have you changed the amount of light?

    Any chance of mites or lice?

    Any new birds added?
     
  3. TrystInn

    TrystInn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 16, 2009
    Southern Arizona
    Chickens need roughly 16 hours of sunlight a day to lay eggs. Without that, they need artificial light provided the additional hours to reach 16. Give them some lovely infrared or red light, add protein to their feed and your eggs will return.
     
  4. hicktownmom

    hicktownmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 27, 2009
    East of Bend, Oregon
    I do use artifical light. It gets really cold here so we have two red heat lamps in their coop that stay on all night. I haven't added any new chickens. I can check for mites...and I'll add more protien although I feed flock raiser pellets and scratch (I have geese too).

    One thing I've noticed is that the nesting boxes are all messed up in the morning...like someone was scratching around in the hay in there. At first I though maybe the dog or a chicken was eating eggs. But I have NO evidence of eggs having been in there at all. And every once in awhile, I find an egg buried in the hay.

    Just don't know. I'll try the protein.

    Thanks
     
  5. sharol

    sharol Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 13, 2010
    Admire, KS
    I understand that some predators steal eggs -- rats for instance. Is it possible that there is a oppossum or a rat ripping you off?
     
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Scratch should be a treat only. The messed up nests sound like you have a snake or rat or something that is eating the eggs. It would be odd for them to stop once they started in this weather.

    Red heat lamps aren't going to provide the extra daylight that some people use to encourage egg laying. It needs to be white, and on a timer, so they have some dark hours at night. But I suspect yours are still laying and don't need light to lay.

    You probably don't need the heat lamps, either. People keep chickens in Alaska without heat.
     
  7. hicktownmom

    hicktownmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 27, 2009
    East of Bend, Oregon
    I was wondering if it might be a rat. Snakes wouldn't be moving this time of year. We get into the teens every night...but we have LOTS of packrats. Can they make away with a whole egg without leaving a trace. Oh...come to think of it, I saw an egg that had fallen out of the nesting box and was cracked but not eaten by my girls. I thought it was the dog nosing the box doors open, so I blocked those. Hmmm.

    I've seen my girls catch mice, but they might leave a rat alone. I wonder if I could place traps somewhere that the chickens wouldn't get snapped but the rats would. The other thing is, these theives have to be working during the day because I check for eggs several times a day. I see my girls set...but then no egg. I need a video surveillance system to catch this theif!

    I'll let everyone know what I figure out.
     

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