HELP!!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Myst4, Nov 4, 2008.

  1. Myst4

    Myst4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    462
    2
    141
    Apr 1, 2008
    N.S., Canada
    Hi I have a huge problem. I have laying hens..ok nothing new on this site lol...but the problem is. I started with 1 rooster and about 21 hens(some have died for various reasons,about 3,during the early spring). Then I decided to hatch 12 eggs to get more hens. That was back in April. I then got carried away and hatched 24 eggs. Lots were roosters. During this time the egg production was decreasing,when I added the young chickens to the flock of adults. The young roosters matured(while I was finding homes for them)and started breeding with the adult hens. They were always chasing them. So, anyway, finally someone bought all of our young roosters. I thought with them gone that egg production would have increased. Nope. While I still had the young roosters, our neighbor,terminally ill, gave us his 7 hens. We kept them in a smallish pen in our barn for 1 night before adding them to our flock. They layed 3 eggs in that pen in the morning. I went back to get the eggs and there was no sign of them. I figure they had eaten them. Anyway, I added them to my flock and they layed a couple of eggs a day. I was getting,when I first got my first chickens at least 10-15 eggs a day. Not anymore. So, I did have 5 geese(4 months old) that grew around our chickens, but became aggressive towards them, so we sold the geese. And the young roosters are gone. Now we only have the girls and our "daddy" rooster, a deformed young rooster(that shows no interest in girls or crowing).He just keeps to himself. I have 21 or 22 adult hens, and from my first hatch I have about 3-5 young girl due to lay eggs last month and haven't, and quite a few young girls that aren't dueto lay eggs for a couple of months. Ok, here is the problem. They are free range, and some were laying eggs out in the bush. I start to keep them in the coop until afternoon to get them to lay inside the coop. I do let the younger hens out. Only the mature hens and rooster stay in. The problem is, I get between 1-4 eggs a day(if I'm lucky). I have 3 EE's that aren't laying at all. I suspect the new hens(my neighbors) are eating the eggs, but not totally sure. I don't know what to do to get them back to laying. Some have stopped laying because of age(maybe 2-3) but the others should be laying. Could it be that they are stressed out and over crowded? They do have lots of perches, plenty of food and water and LOTS of nesting boxes. I don't know what to do, it is costing a lot to feed them and they aren't earning their keep. Someone please suggest something.Thanks in advance.

    Carrie

    Edited to add that one of my hens is a white leghorn and had been laying a day a day without fail until the last couple of weeks or so...
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2008
  2. ginbart

    ginbart Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 9, 2008
    Bloomsburg, PA
    Well I don't know how much I can help but are you sure they are not laying outside somewhere?

    Could you keep them in the coop for a couple of days?

    Can you put some fake eggs in the nexting boxs so they know where to lay?

    Could it be because of the weather change?

    Are you giving them laying feed? I know dummm question.

    I'm sure someone will chime in with more help.
     
  3. becky3086

    becky3086 Crested Crazy

    Oct 14, 2008
    Thomson, GA
    Ok, let's see. You should definitely be getting more eggs and there are several things you might be able to do to help. One is to put golf balls in the nest. When the egg eaters peck into them they will hurt their beaks and soon stop.
    Also you can try feeding crushed oyster shells for extra calcium. It could also be that your chickens need a little extra fat, try feeding them a bit of scratch once a day.
    Also keep in mind that just because you keep them in the coop part of the day doesn't mean that they don't go out later and lay them in the bush if that is what they perfer.
    I doubt you have an overcrowding problem if you let them free range part of the day.
    Hope this helps.
    Becky
     
  4. Quail_Antwerp

    Quail_Antwerp [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG]Mrs

    Aug 16, 2008
    Ohio
    Quote:Are you sure your girls aren't laying? Or could they be laying and these 3 hens are eating them as fast as they are laid?

    I culled out an egg eater once that literally laid in wait for a hen in the nesting box. Soon as the hen laid and jumped out, this Barred Rock hen would jump in the nest and eat the egg!
     
  5. Myst4

    Myst4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    462
    2
    141
    Apr 1, 2008
    N.S., Canada
    Quote:I have put golf balls in their nests, also have fed them scratch(and mix their feed,with cracked corn)...they also have(I add it in their food) crushed oyster shells.
     
  6. Guitartists

    Guitartists Resistance is futile

    Mar 21, 2008
    Michigan
    Could they just be in molt?
     
  7. Myst4

    Myst4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    462
    2
    141
    Apr 1, 2008
    N.S., Canada
    Quote:I'm not totally sure they aren't holding back and waiting to lay outside later in the day. I have tried keeping them in until dusk, guess that isn't good enough. I have white golf balls in their nests.They started laying less during the summer and got worse when I added the 7 new hens. Yes i am giving them laying feed. I think I will leave them in the coop for a couple of days(not letting them out for any reason). Although, I have noticed today that one of my hens(barred rock,that I knew had stopped laying) is really slow, looks like she is dying of old age,I would say. She doesn't seem to want to eat or anything. She had stopped laying last spring(layed a tiny little egg,last one)..if memory serves me right. She is just sitting there, not wanting to move around or anything. I wasn't sure of the ages of these hens when I got them.
     
  8. Pumpkinpup

    Pumpkinpup Poultry Princess

    Jul 16, 2008
    North-West Georgia
    Sounds like you definatly have a problem all right! Maybe try seperating out the new hens once more for about 3 days to see if they are in fact egg eaters and if so, cull them from the flock. If that isn't the case, perhaps you are having hens go through moulting and they just are not laying like normal. [​IMG] Just suggestions. Good Luck!
     
  9. Myst4

    Myst4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    462
    2
    141
    Apr 1, 2008
    N.S., Canada
    Quote:I thought of that. I counted 7 were in molt, but about 4 of them have come out of it now and still not laying.
     
  10. Myst4

    Myst4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    462
    2
    141
    Apr 1, 2008
    N.S., Canada
    Quote:Well, I thought of that, seperating the new hens. Culling them would be out of the question(the neighbor who gave them to us would flip,those are his babies) The neighbor visits them quite often(gives them left overs(something I stopped doing a long time ago) I get 2 dozen eggs a weeks(if that) and he buys the 2 dozen from us...we don't even get any for ourselves. I have explained the situation to him...he thinks it's because the hens aren't happy. I would like for him to take his chickens back...or give them to someone else. I think with them in our flock is stressing my chickens out.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by