Help! My 2 yo Hens stopped laying 2 months ago.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by DonnaFarr, Apr 18, 2017.

  1. DonnaFarr

    DonnaFarr New Egg

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    Jan 15, 2016
    I have 3 Rhode Island Reds. I had to change their feed about 2 month's ago and they suddenly stopped laying. I had been getting 1-2 eggs a day even through winter and molting. I finally found a source for their original food about 10 days ago, but still no eggs.

    We live in central California and the weather has been rainy, but not terribly cold. They have an 8X12 ft. run with a coop in the middle. I removed all of the shavings and winter buildup and put clean pine shavings in the coop 2 weeks ago. Their coop is protected from the rain and wind, but still has plenty of air circulation.

    My girls seem happy, but are still spreading the crumbles all over the ground. Any thoughts?
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    What has been your temperatures? Heat will cause hens to stop laying.

    Your hens could be taking a break.

    What was the difference from the original feed to the newer feed? Protein level? Brand? What else do you feed?

    If your hens are tossing the feed on the ground they aren't actually consuming much. Wet mold feed can kill chickens so I would try to find a different feeder so they aren't spooning it out and wasting it.
     
  3. DonnaFarr

    DonnaFarr New Egg

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    Jan 15, 2016
    Daytime temps have run from 50s to 70, nights 30s to 40s.

    Original feed was/is 16% protein with Rice Bran, Maize Distillers Dried Grains with Solubles as first ingredients (Farm Valley). First replacement was Corn, Soybean Meal (Coop Mix by Elk Grove Milling) and the next was Ground Wheat Sunflower meal (Bar Ale, non-GMO, Soy Free). All are 16% protein which I've heard is minimum protein for layers.

    They love swiss chard and I'm currently giving them one leaf each as a daily treat. During Dec/Jan I would give them mixed grain in afternoon to help keep them warmer when it froze at night. Then in Jan/Feb I was giving them what looked like chickweed and other weeds that I was pulling from my garden. I'm sure that there were too many greens on some days.

    Regarding the feed tossing, I've been thinking of getting a new feeder that has more dividers to reduce the tossing. I've tried to protect the feeder from the rains and haven't noticed much clumping. The stuff on the ground definitely gets wet.

    I've been wondering if I should add mealworms to their diet for a while to increase the protein level.

    Thank you oldhenlikesdogs for your reply. I like dogs, too.
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    [​IMG] dogs rule.

    I personally feed a higher protein feed than layer, which helps to optimize laying in backyard flocks that get treats. Layer was designed to be fed as the sole ration to confined hens.

    Now backyard hens are more active and they get get extras, so I found out layer would leave my hens deficient and did affect their laying, molting, and health.

    2 years ago I switched to an All Flock with 18% protein, not much more, but boy have I seen a different in overall health as well as egg production. Birds that I thought would have died by now are still going, and are brighter eyed, and I even had an older hen start up laying again last year after quitting 2 years ago.

    So I now recommend feeding either an All Flock or a non medicated starter grower with a separate bowl of oyster shells for the extra calcium needs. I personally will never feed layer ever again.

    You can try higher protein treats like scrambled eggs, cottage cheese, canned fish, and meal worms. It could take a few weeks before you notice a difference.

    I feed my chickens in bowls filled about half way to try to cut down on waste and spooning out. I also switched my large breed flock to a pellet to minimize waste. I put out only as much as they can clean up in 24 hours. They are always waiting to be fed by the time I get out there. Switching to a pelleted feed can take time with lots of mixing crumble and pellet and slowly feeding less crumble and more pellet, but I now use less feed and am not feeding the sparrows either.
     
  5. DonnaFarr

    DonnaFarr New Egg

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    Thanks for the great advice. I'll see what I can find locally and will definitely add extra protein to their diet.

    I loved looking at your photos. I only have the 3 chickens, 1 dog and a white dove that landed near my husband and me a couple of years ago while we were working outside. It didn't fly away, so we spent the rest of the day building a cage to protect it from predators. She now lives on our back porch.
     
  6. KikisGirls

    KikisGirls BYC Fan Premium Member Project Manager

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    My Coop
    Have you ever heard of/considered fermenting their feed?
    https://tikktok.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/fermented-feed-faq/
     
  7. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Thank you. Wow what a find, plus a good luck sign. Must of been someone's pet.

    As far as fermented feeds, some swear by it, but I prefer clean dry feed for my birds. It can be a fine line between fermented and moldy, I personally don't like the risk, but that's just my opinion, take it or leave it.[​IMG]
     

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