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Hens stopped laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by calamarie, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. calamarie

    calamarie Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2015
    I have 18 hens who are almost 9 months and older. We were getting 16-18 eggs daily. A few days ago we got 10, then 8, 5 and today 0.... :-(! We have had light on a timer in there for quite some time, it's winter here and we just finished a cold spell of teens-20°. During the cold spell they were laying just fine, and I decided against a heat lamp for them because of my coop construction and they spend all their time outside under the shelter anyway and only go in at night. I haven't changed their feed or really anything, but my husband noticed two hens had pecked an egg that was on the coop floor which they have never done. My feed is supposed to have the seashells in it already but maybe it's not enough? Weird how they all just quickly slowed down and quit. :-(
     
  2. Bridebeliever

    Bridebeliever Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well, It's really great you made it all the way to January without them quitting! It's there first season which is why they did so well. Expect this to continue for about a month, maybe 6 weeks. My Chocolate Orpington (10 months old) did this in the beginning of December and just started up again, back to her egg a day laying.
     
  3. chimneysweep

    chimneysweep Out Of The Brooder

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    put some heat in your house........most of my neighbors have chickens and they don't heat.......their egg count goes down to nothing........I keep my coop at 60 degrees, and have eggs all winter........I use a small heater instead of a heat lamp......it gets too cold in northern Mn.
     
  4. birds4kids

    birds4kids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 15, 2015
    Is the timer out of sync and not actually extending their days enough?
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Where are you located?
    Are those temps F or C, windchill or not?

    Seashells in feed? Should be offered separately too.
    What exactly are you feeding?
    Protein levels?

    Egg eating can be boredom/stress from crowding.....or lack of calcium uptake....or lack of protein.
     
  6. calamarie

    calamarie Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2015

    Those are F, we are back up to 35 and no wind chill. I havent done heat because of extension cords, breakers etc. They have a large shelter outside the coop that they spend all their time under and only go in the coop at night or to lay.

    We feed Purina layen crumbles with 16% protein, and now included in the feed is seashell. I can add additional though, and more protein, what is a good source of extra protein to add?
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Feeding Notes: I like to feed a 'flock raiser' 20% protein crumble to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer. I adjust the amounts of other feeds to get the protein levels desired with varying situations.

    Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    Animal protein (mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided during molting and if I see any feather eating.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. Bridebeliever

    Bridebeliever Chillin' With My Peeps

    That's good information. I'm going to add 7 chicks to my flock in April and I was wondering how I was going to feed my laying pullets and them at the same time! (Of course the babies will be on a seperate feeder until they are about 5 weeks old.)
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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  10. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I don't heat my coop, nor is it insulated and I don't use supplemental lighting to encourage egg production. Yes, my egg production is down from earlier levels, but I have come to understand that these are living creatures with a naturally built in timetable for doing things, not Pez dispensers for eggs, so I don't care about the eggs. I figure if they have a natural slowdown period, it's there for a reason and who am I to tamper with that? My main goal is to them through the winter months with a minimum of stress and have them come out in the spring strong and healthy. If I've done that, they'll reward me with decent eggs then. I have 21 birds out there and average 9-11 eggs a day, and those are coming from the pullets that will often lay during the winter of their first year. Now, that's me and what works for me - I well realize that everyone is different, with different goals and circumstances from mine, and that's just fine. Mine have a large, plastic covered run and their pop door is open 24/7, so even during sub-zero weather, high winds and snow blowing sideways, they only use the coop for roosting and laying......the rest of the time they are out in their run.

    That said, it does seem like your production dropped off rather abruptly. @aart is spot on about the food. I also feed All Flock or Flock Maintenance to my chickens for the exact reasons she outlined. They get plenty of oyster shell in a separate container and take what they need out of it. I also use up older eggs by hard boiling them, crushing them shells and all, and feeding them to the girls. They love it, it's a protein and calcium boost, and since I just toss that on the floor of their run they get plenty of exercise scratching in there for any little tidbits they may have missed. I don't worry about that causing egg eating - the crushed up cooked eggs they get bear no resemblance to what they lay as far as they're concerned. So in the case of the egg that they were pecking on, it's possible that it froze, cracked, and that's why they went for it. You could stir around in the nest material to see if there's any signs that that's been happening regularly, though. The straw or whatever you have in there might be damp, there might be chips of eggshell, some sign that they are actually eating eggs regularly. I just don't think it sounds like that.

    If it was me, I'd keep feeding them well and let them rest up a bit. Good luck!
     

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