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Hens that just don't want to lay!!!!!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ladyhawkone, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. ladyhawkone

    ladyhawkone Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 20, 2013
    I started my flock about 3 or 4 months ago.......I have 20 hens and a rooster..........my hens laid 19 eggs the first day that we had them.........the next day we got 7 eggs..........then 4 eggs.........then only 1 egg ......and then no eggs at all for about 3 days.........now we are only getting maybe 3 eggs a day if we get any at all.........hubby says they are going away from here if they don't start laying better........we are feeding scratch feed......laying mash.......and oyster shell........ and fresh clean water every day........as well as turning them out of the scratch lot for at least 2 hours every day...............what more can I do to get them to lay.................how can I tell if they are too old to lay..............SOMEONE PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    The person you bought them from should know how old they are.
    If they laid 19 one day, I would think they are in their prime.
    Chickens are creatures of habit. Changes stress them out. Stress stops egg laying. Moving a flock to new surroundings is stressful.
    Are you seeing a lot of feathers? They could also be molting. When they molt they quit laying until after they grow a new coat.
    I have 21 layers and most are molting so I'm only getting about 3 a day. In a couple months I'll be up to 12-18 a day.

    How much scratch are they getting? Scratch is only about 10% protein so should only be about 5-10% of the total intake.
    I usually wait till they get their fill of layer feed in the morning before I give any scratch.

    Daylength makes a big difference in laying too. Are they getting outside at dawn?
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I'd also wonder how old they are. It's the time of year for hens hatched spring of 2012 to start molting and taking a break for the winter.
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    If they aren't molting, you can increase day length with a light and timer. Starting about 4 or 5 AM with one or two 7 watt compact fluorescents at roost height.
    I don't do that with flocks with a rooster though or he'll start crowing when the light comes on.
    Make sure the bulk of the diet is a complete layer feed.

    If they are molting, you can help the feather production with a protein boost. I give a 20-22% protein grower to molting birds during and after till egg production resumes.

    3 months is a long time to go with few eggs during the summer. Are there any other stressors? Extreme heat, harassing animals, strange people, any potentially frightening experiences, different tasting water, poor ventilation, crowding, etc..
     
  5. ladyhawkone

    ladyhawkone Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for your advice........I have seen a lot of feathers in the outside lot and we have also seen a large hawk in the trees right behind the chicken house.........we will definitely try to make sure they get out as soon as day light begins and try to feed them more laying pellets before we give them any scratch feed.......we also let them out for about 2-3 hours every evening when we can be out with them so they get bugs and grass........We make sure they have fresh clean water daily..............and we feed them oyster shell to help make the egg shells stronger.........After reading more and getting advice from friends I think the Hawk is a big part of my problem.......Again thank you for your advice........will post again later if things change or not
     
  6. ladyhawkone

    ladyhawkone Out Of The Brooder

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    We started working on the problem by thinning out the flock..........we only have 20 hens and 1 rooster........they have a 10'x10' roosting area, a 10'x10' nesting box area and a scratch lot that is 10'x20'................there has been some stress in the past.......we had a hawk that killed 3 of our smaller hens and a small rooster.......at first we thought it was a stray dog but later discovered it was a red-tailed hawk when I saw him attack the little rooster..................how long will it be before they get over a terrible scare like that.......it has been about 2 weeks now.
     
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Somehow a beagle got into a pen. It didn't do much damage but barked and harassed a flock for what must have been about 10 minutes. They wouldn't come outside for almost a week and I didn't get an egg from that coop for 2 months.
     

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