Hens barely laying, need advice.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Carolyn, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. Carolyn

    Carolyn Songster

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    I have 3 welsummer hens purchased last fall at POL. They have to be at least 8-9 months if not older by now. I originally had 5, was getting a 3-4eggs/wk then up to 6-7/wk. I measured pelvic bones and thought I had 2 layers both just starting and 3 not laying, one a long way from it. I lost 2 hens to opossum and there were no eggs for a while then resumed at 4 or so a wk. Now I am getting about 5 eggs a week. Two of the hens have bright red waddles, one's are pale and very immature looking. No one is molting.
    They are currently on laying pellets but I did feed high protein, scratch and oyster shell in the winter because that is what the owner said he fed. I also quit giving scratch. I have always given table scrapes which they mostly ignore but they are eating more of the greens now. They have a large fenced area, do lots of foraging and have access to some acorns and to beech nuts. Today they get some dried hot peppers per advice of my elderly aunt who has raised lots of chickens.
    I can't see in the coop well enough to know which one is laying. They are quiet and nobody sings the egg song. The coop has a large sky light and my previous hens have laid well thru most of the winter. Our weather is usually 60's during the day now and nights in 30's.

    If things do not improve we're having chicken and dumplings but I sure don't want to put the wrong hen in the pot. Can you trust comb and wattle color to ID the slackard? Could beech nuts prevent them from laying? Any other suggestions? Are Welsummers just really poor layers?

    Thanks for your input.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2011
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    In their fenced in area (I assume this is like a backyard and not a pen) have you done an easter egg hunt?

    Just a thought.
     
  3. newchickens2009

    newchickens2009 Songster

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    Quote:x2 Sounds like they may not be laying in the nest you have provided and made their own somewhere else?
     
  4. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

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    You definitely should wait on the pinker girl, as she hasn't yet begun. Some don't even start until a year old.

    I would also be patient because the year is just starting to have longer days as we move into spring. They're just getting started! Have you been letting them out first thing in the morning? The light they get helps to boost the laying machinery.

    You need to wait a month to make any harsh decisions.
     
  5. TK421

    TK421 Songster

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    I agree that you might need to wait a little longer. I am NOT the kind of guy to keep chickens around that aren't laying, but my birds just started laying strongly again after the cold weather. If it's just now warming up for you, they might not be ready to lay strongly for you. Unfortunately, it's just bad timing with the birds maturing during the thick of the winter.
     

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