hens not laying as well as they should

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jermoatc, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. jermoatc

    jermoatc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 12 hens and recently they have been only producing 3-4 eggs per day. a few are molting so I get that but I have lights on them (so they get 15 hrs a day) and it has been warm here so Im not sure what else could be happening. I have checked for lice and mites too and I dont see anything. Any thoughts on how to kick them in to gear? Hens are 1 -2 years old.
     
  2. stevetone

    stevetone Chicken Advocate

    A 2 year old hen will not produce like she used to.

    The length of peak production is also somewhat dependent on breed.

    What breed are they?
     
  3. jermoatc

    jermoatc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have good laying breeds. EEs, wyandottes, Anconas, olive eggers and marans. only one is 2+ yo. the rest are just finishing their fist season. Only got 2 eggs last night.
     
  4. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You may have more then a few molting. A slow molt is sometimes hard to see. And even after they finish growing the feathers back it can take a while for them to recondition themselves to begin laying again.
     
  5. jermoatc

    jermoatc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Does anybody think if i fed them a higher protein feed for a while that would help?
     
  6. stevetone

    stevetone Chicken Advocate

    More protein will go into producing their new feathers, so it's not a bad idea. We have been giving our molting hens scrambled eggs every other day to boost their protein.

    I am not sure that more protein will necessarily increase egg production--never heard that. Maybe some others will chime in.
     
  7. ducks4you

    ducks4you Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My 10 layers slowed down during the drought, THEN they slowed down bc they were outside and the days are getting shorter, THEN they molted. I was down to one egg/week for 1 1/2yo RIR/Welsummer cross hens.
    I wrote them a strongly worded letter.
    Their daughters--RIR x Welsummer/EE and RIR got the same letter. They are inside with 14 hrs. of light/day. They didn't lay for 3 weeks, so I wrote THEM a strongly worded letter. Now, I'm getting between 6-10 eggs/day from them.
    ALL of these variables can change the #eggs you get.
    I KNOW that you can get attached to your birds, but I know replace my layers every year. It's a thing with me to not inbreed. That is why I've been getting different breed roosters every year. I ate my RIR rooster and my white EE died. I plan on keeping my EE mix rooster bc he's so pretty and his daughters have green legs and are laying olive eggs.
    [​IMG]

    My RIR rooster always attacked me. I had to beat him 6x before he'd leave me alone to feed and retrieve eggs.
     
  8. jermoatc

    jermoatc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Will increasing the protein content of my feed ration do anything harmful to my hens that arent molting?
     
  9. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Shouldn't. We feed a higher protein layer feed in winter anyway, since they aren't getting any lovely bugs.

    We start with the higher protein feed when they begin to moult, then carry it through 'till June. Although we may feed it year-round now that we've found a good, inexpensive source.
     
  10. ducks4you

    ducks4you Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When I sold 1/2 of my pullets at auction last month I noticed that most of the hens were over 1 yo and molting. Their egg production naturally slows down, and that's when they are sold for meat. No change in feed will encourage a bird to put energy into laying while they are molting. With feed as expensive as it now is, I can't afford to feed everyone, so we have chicken dinners, and chicken pot pies, and chicken noodle soup, and chicken salad--oh, yeah, BYC has an excellent chicken cook book!!
     

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