Hens are withholding! HELP!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by littletabby83, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. littletabby83

    littletabby83 In the Brooder

    Sep 10, 2014
    Oakland, OR
    We have a mixed breed flock of 4 hens and one roo. The girls were all consistent daily layers until about a week ago. We thought they were hiding their eggs, so resorted to keeping them in their 10'x20'run plus coop. We're on day 3 of penning and still no eggs from ANY of them! What gives? And at what point should I be concerned? I just find it odd that they're all withholding...
    2 Americauna, 2 bantam mixes. All about 1 year of age.

  2. Heron's Nest Farm

    Heron's Nest Farm Songster

    Dec 11, 2011
    It is likely a light issue. You should have a light on in September through the winter to avoid a dip in production. Put a light on a timer allowing for 1/2 more light than is natural right now. Bring it up 15 minutes a week on the front or back end of the day. Front end of the day hens generally lay larger eggs, but a few less. On the back end of the day smaller eggs in greater quantity. Bring light hours up to 14 a day.

    Another thought (but less likely in my opinion) is a scare or change in food or water. This can cause a dip, but most likely light.

    Think about it: Less light, less warmth, less vegetation. Why reproduce in hostile conditions?

    Good luck!
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member 5 Years

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    About a year....does that mean 11 months or 16 months?
    They usually have their first full adult molt around 18 months old.
    Egg production can ebb and flow, often for reasons we are completely unaware of.
    Keep them cooped for at least a week, just cooping them can be a bit stressful so you need to give them time to get used to that. Here's a pretty good article on supplemental lighting.

    Never heard that one before....hmmm.

    I like to provide the light early mornings only so they go to roost with the natural sunset instead of them being plunged abruptly into darkness when they may not be on the roosts yet.

    Good advice on slowly ramping up supplemental light slowly.
    Also it can take some time after the light is up to the 14 hours for it to have full effect.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2015
  4. Heron's Nest Farm

    Heron's Nest Farm Songster

    Dec 11, 2011
    This summer I began researching more about commercial egg production because we had really crossed over in our egg business and the pressure in the pens/pasture and the management practices really needed to be more precise to keep these birds healthy.

    I found a site on commercial production (obviously on scales way beyond mine), but the lighting and feed info was fascinating!

    I highly recommend perusing their site and gleaning a wealth of information. They have production down to a science. http://www.hyline.com

    I like in the pullet development articles that there is a chart for weight gain. It is a little difficult to apply to every breed, but it gave me a real sense of weight gain percentages in my birds and has allowed me to separate and target birds not meeting targets to ensure better lay in the future.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2015
    1 person likes this.

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