Hens going to nest boxes but not laying????

gingers5

Chirping
7 Years
Sep 10, 2012
14
1
79
I have not had good egg production for weeks now. I have20 hens and get 1 to 3 eggs a day on most days. Sometimes the girls feel generous and give me 5, but that is rare. I keep seeing 3 or 4 hens, in particular, getting in the boxes but then when I go back in an hour or so they are gone...and no egg....I am frustrated with this and my lack of egg production. I am feeding layer pellets and cracked corn they free range on open acreage during most of the day. They are not hiding eggs, and while I do have a hen that will eat eggs occasionally,(i have not narrowed her down) the bedding is not wet like an egg was broken and then ate. Most have gone through or are in some stage of molt recently, but they never returned to production after molt. Is this broodiness? What is going on?
 

Bogtown Chick

Free Ranging
9 Years
Mar 31, 2012
7,064
6,039
597
Northern Minnesota
My Coop
My Coop
I have all of this going on with my flock as well although they have not molted recently...which would make your situation make more sense. As the days get shorter, their reproductive systems are taking a break. The amount of light they get during the day is a directly related to egg production. The recent molting has also, I'm sure taken it's toll and I'm sure their bodies are still recuping the proteins for feather making and will hold out on eggs for a while until that recuperation is met.

There are some on here that would recommend supplemental lighting in the coop to help with egg production, but I like to keep it au naturale for my gals. Let them have their egg break, as they'll be full force and going at it again in the spring summer fall months again. That's just me.
 

countrygoddess

Songster
11 Years
Nov 16, 2008
850
48
178
Champlain Valley, Vermont
When did they finish their moult? Could be they're not ready yet if it was fairly recent. Maybe add more protein to their diet? Moulting/making new feathers uses a lot. Also, the days are shorter--do you add artificial light to lengthen their day?
 

countrygoddess

Songster
11 Years
Nov 16, 2008
850
48
178
Champlain Valley, Vermont
I have all of this going on with my flock as well although they have not molted recently...which would make your situation make more sense. As the days get shorter, their reproductive systems are taking a break. The amount of light they get during the day is a directly related to egg production. The recent molting has also, I'm sure taken it's toll and I'm sure their bodies are still recuping the proteins for feather making and will hold out on eggs for a while until that recuperation is met.

There are some on here that would recommend supplemental lighting in the coop to help with egg production, but I like to keep it au naturale for my gals. Let them have their egg break, as they'll be full force and going at it again in the spring summer fall months again. That's just me.
Sorry--was writing my response when this showed up. =) I guess I'm not an au naturale type of gal--I like eggs through the winter....
 

BrendaJ

Songster
7 Years
Sep 1, 2012
1,322
80
186
Oregon
I add a light in the winter to help with egg production. Molting? Be patient im sure things will improve
fl.gif
 

gingers5

Chirping
7 Years
Sep 10, 2012
14
1
79
They came in waves to me, I have 3 hens that are black jersey and 18 that are black-sex link. We got the sex-links from my husbands grandfather and the jerseys' from a friend. They just recently quit fooling with the hens and so we took on the last 8 they had. We only got 3 originally because I thought that would be enough for my family of 7..5 kids 2 adults, however, we were wrong. We have always quarantined so thought they were good, but came down with a serious infestation of mites. I could not figure out what was going on. Now I think we have had wet pox running throughout the flock..blah! So i tried to put that into account. After I wormed them I was throwing away like 7 to 9 eggs a day which killed me. Then I noticed molt, but it is not the entire flock, a few hens straggly here and then they feather and a few more start. The new ones that are quarantined were laying great when we took them. 5 eggs the first day and not one since. I know move is a stressor. But they are ALL in full fledged molt now. They are in a separate coop and run from the free rangers. I think I have around 34 total, 5 chicks around 20 weeks old, a roo and 28 hens...so feeding that many and only getting a good 2 eggs a day is costing our large family. These are not pets they are on our homestead to help feed our family. I know that is not always why everyone gets them, but that would be the only reason we could afford them. We may have to start having some dumplings if you know what I mean if production does not start back up they are all in their second year. I think most were hatched out in Feb last year.
 

Bogtown Chick

Free Ranging
9 Years
Mar 31, 2012
7,064
6,039
597
Northern Minnesota
My Coop
My Coop
Sounds like multiple stressors going on then too, that will do it as well. The mites, possible pox, reduced lighting, recent move, then subsequent molt. All reasons for low egg numbers. I understand about feeding your family and feeding expensive grain to chickens that aren't giving back. I would get the necessary treatments for the mites and their coop, and whatever else is going on with them. Increase their lighting. Get one of those Energy saver light bulbs. I would also look through some of these threads for increasing the protein in their diets for a while...and maybe read up on fermenting their feed--I haven't tried it personally but it's something I might start--there's more nutritional value, it makes the feed go farther, etc. Lots of interesting benefits of that for birds with health issues and stressors. Let me find that link for you.
 

Marcc

Hatching
7 Years
Oct 8, 2012
7
1
9
Mine stopped as well. I have 8 hens(4 EE's, 2 Silver laced Wyandotts, and two Marans. . two are just 6 mos old and have not layed as of yet. I added two shop lights to the run two weeks ago (10x20 run). They just started laying last week, I am up to 3-4 eggs a day. two of the EE's lay every day,the two Marans lay 5-6 days a week. I think the light definately helps.
 

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