Help! My Chickens have not laid eggs in several Months~

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by beaches4me, Feb 9, 2019.

  1. ChocolateMouse

    ChocolateMouse Crowing

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    Well, it's possible they miscommunicated, which is what I hope. If you don't feed your birds and expect them to forage, a little corn goes a long way for example. But maybe they are just willfully ignorant. There's a lot of that out there... Flat earthers, anti-vaxxers, breatharians, you name it. Some people just believe what they will, willy-nilly, evidence be damned or corrupt. It's easy to discredit an idea if you WANT to discredit it in your own mind. And if you believe something you tell other people. It happens. Always be skeptical on the internet and do research on your own.

    Winter depression is just kind of a term for the down-time that the chickens spend in winter not laying. Because a molt is specific (the loss of feathers and growing them back in) but under equatorial conditions where daylight hours are constant, after the molt they'd just start laying again. Up here in North America, chickens go through laying cycles. Our days alternate between being too short to lay (winter) and so long that chickens lay more frequently than normal (summer) so they kind of almost need that down time in the winter to take a break from laying. So often times our chickens molt in the fall and stop laying and then don't start again until we get longer days in the spring. The shorter days combined with the cold and lack of exercise and enrichment basically leads to a malaise that doesn't go away until spring kicks in again, and it's an important time for the chickens to eat, sleep, and recharge for their intense summer laying schedule.

    You can create an artificial environment with lights and toys and extra feed to get them laying more, but ultimately it's a very natural cycle chickens go through when you start getting north of the equator. And chickens that get their winter rest before summer laying tend to live longer and lay for more years.

    Mealworms, sunflower seeds, tuna, and other high-protein snacks are good options. Think about what build muscle and healthy tissues and go from there.
    Try to avoid empty calories/simple carbs unless it's just a small amount.
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Waiting on a Fresh Garden Salad

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    I would stop that stuff until you see your hens starting to lay again. Than if you feed that higher protein ration some treats can be fine. You just don't want to dilute your daily protein too much otherwise your hens cannot produce eggs.

    Meal worms are fine in moderation. They can have the opposite affect of being too high in protein and can damage the kidneys, especially the dried ones so go easy if you use those.

    Eggshells can be used as a supplement to oyster shells but oyster shells should always be available as well because they remain in the body longer where egg shells get digested quicker.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  3. beaches4me

    beaches4me Songster

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    Thank you very much @ChocolateMouse !! What about a cabbage go round? Where you tie up a head of cabbage and let them peck at it and eat it at their own leisure and fun? Has you or anyone else tried that?
     
  4. ChocolateMouse

    ChocolateMouse Crowing

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    That's great enrichment, but less good nutrition. Oldhen has the right idea, a cabbage like that is great if you're also supplementing in enough protein and fats to meet their winter needs. So if you're gonna hang a cabbage, mealworms work out better as a treat. It's all about balance. Once you get a better feel for what your hens are like on a normal, healthy, balanced diet it makes it easier to make changes. Knowing what a healthy chicken looks like and what their normal laying patterns are makes it easier to spot if a deviation is causing a problem. Otherwise, just focus on trying to keep things balanced. Everything in moderation, focus on meeting physical nutritional needs first.
     
  5. MissChick@dee

    [email protected] ~ Dreaming Of Springtime ~

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    A complete feed nothing else until you’ve got your girls straightened out & physically healthy enough to produce eggs. Sometimes it’s like we enjoy spoiling them but really we’re killing them with kindness (junk food)
    Children love French fries and chocolate shakes and pizza. They don’t understand the importance of a healthy balanced diet. But their Parents should.
    You could always soak their Feed until it’s mushy and warm it just a bit in the microwave....mine absolutely love this and guess what? It’s not even a treat...it’s good for them. Chickens don’t know what’s best for them. Best wishes
     
  6. RenoHuskerDu

    RenoHuskerDu Songster

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    Ours are bucking this winter depression thing with authority. We're getting 5-7 eggs a day from 8 layers. One more is about to start laying soon. I feed them 50% finisher because they are so young, 40% layer pellets, and 10% Hanson H&H food, a premium laying blend that our chicken supplier designed herself. But it costs double...
     
    Criticalicious likes this.
  7. beaches4me

    beaches4me Songster

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    The only all purpose feed tractor supply has is this:
    https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/p...stock-sweet-12-animal-feed-50-lb?cm_vc=-10005
    [​IMG]
    The other feed which I think would probably be better cause it is 16% protein (where the above is 12%) would be:
    https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/dumor-poultry-layer-16-crumble-50-lb?cm_vc=-10005
    [​IMG]

    Am I right in picking the second one instead of the first? The first one is cheaper but the second does have the 16% and that is what they should be getting right?
     
  8. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Waiting on a Fresh Garden Salad

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    The first is a general stock feed. The second in a feed made for chickens. I personally would buy a non medicated grower to get them caught up first. I believe tractor supply carries a 24% protein one.
     
    Spartan22, paintedChix and DobieLover like this.
  9. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Waiting on a Fresh Garden Salad

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