Hens' laying is fallllllllliiiiiing ...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mysterypuppy, Jul 5, 2008.

  1. mysterypuppy

    mysterypuppy New Egg

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    Jul 5, 2008
    I'm going to give a lot of details because you might need them ... bear with me!
    Two months ago we got six Buff Orpingtons from a friend. They are the whole flock except for 2 or 3 hens and a rooster. I don't know how old they are, but I think that they range from a few months to one three- or four-year-old. They have a small house with 3 nesting boxes and some outside roosts that they sleep on (made from pine tree branches off the ground.) They have a pen, 20 by 10 feet and chicken wire, pecked bare of course. There are even a few bushes with some foliage at the top out of their reach. The day after we got them we got 6 eggs so we know that they are all laying, somewhat. BUT! Never gotten six eggs in a day again. Here's the problem:
    The first 2 weeks we got about 30 eggs each week.
    The next 2 weeks about 25 eggs each week.
    20 eggs
    15 eggs
    14 eggs
    and this week only 12, with 2 broken!!
    They were free-range and wandered on both sides of a road before we got them. They ignored about 6 each of dogs and cats too, walking around in the same area as them. We have one dog (border collie) who loves looking at them but at this point mostly leaves them alone and one temporary opuppy. Plus an inside cat.
    I used to feed them handfuls of dandelions but have slacked off. One went broody two weeks ago and has since stopped. I don't know if she's laying right now.
    What's going on?! :mad: Help!
     
  2. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Many times hens slack off when it gets hot. This might be the case.

    What are you feeding?

    -Kim
     
  3. mysterypuppy

    mysterypuppy New Egg

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    Jul 5, 2008
    They have all the Nature's Own Layer Feed (from Big R) that they can eat ...
    And the weather here (Spokane WA) is pretty wild ... it's only been hot for a week and before that we got frost!
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2008
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Could be the heat that is stressing them out along with their new confined digs if they are used to being free birds. The broody probably isn't laying, and won't start up again for about a month or so after she is broken. Best of luck.
     
  5. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I have to question what they are eating. Also by the time they are 3- 4 years old the egg laying starts to slack off. Also if you are in a place where it has been fairly hot this is cause them to slow down in laying.

    Free range hens lay eggs but you have to have a daily easter egg hunt to find them. Free range hens may not lay every day.

    You need to lock them in a coop, give them good quality feed and plenty of water so you can monitor what they are doing through the day. Check several times a day for eggs and collect them as you find them.

    I suspect a couple things could be going on.

    - They are a semi-new flock and are somewhat off their nest and not laying as were. Being in a new place with some hens and a rooster not in the bunch has shaken up the pecking order and they are adjusting to a new home.

    - The older hens are slacking off with age which is completely normal and is also why some people roll over an entire flock and start fresh.

    - Hot weather can send them into a non egg laying cycle too. The heat stresses their bodies and depletes the nutrients ey need to make eggs.

    - They are filling up on the extras - grass, plants leaves etc and are lacking some vital nutrient to keep the egg plant producing.

    - You could have some eggs eaters in the bunch. If they are not being provided enough protein they will eat their own eggs to get it. If they have always been free range they have been accustomed to foraging for bugs and insects and other forms of animal protein to fill their appetite and requirements.
     
  6. mysterypuppy

    mysterypuppy New Egg

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    Thanks for the advice!
    They actually might not have enough protein; I have been finding 1-2 eggs broken and seemingly without enough contents, each week. How could I get them more?
    But ...
    They are in a coop (not free range, the raccoons and neighbors' dogs, and our dog, would eat them) and they have been in the same place for two months ... I think the pecking order is set by now.
    And second, they actually had more fresh greens earlier, when they were laying more, than they do now ... my fault!
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2008
  7. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    2 months is not a long time. I have seen egg laying disupted for 3 - 4 months when a flock is moved, feed stocks are changed and routines disrupted. Good luck. I hope they start back laying soon.
     

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