Hens won't lay!!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Elizabethanne, Nov 11, 2014.

  1. Elizabethanne

    Elizabethanne New Egg

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    My three hens are 26 weeks old and still aren't laying. I know it can depend on the breed, time of year... But I'm beginning to wonder if there is anything I can do to speed it along?! Or at least make sure I'm not doing anything wrong? They are fed layer feed, mixed with oyster shells and five way scratch. They live in a coop part of the day and free range when we are home... We live in Florida so I don't think the time of year is as important as if we lived in a colder climate. My friend who has chickens told me they may need a rooster to get going? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    What breed(s) are your birds?
    When you say mixed - are you actually mixing the scratch and oyster shell into your feed ration and, if so, at what ratio?
    The issue of time of year is not about temperature of the climate, but about the shorter days - it's the hours of daylight, not temperature that contributes to the "lay off" associated with the off season.
    There is absolutely no need to have a rooster to stimulate production of eggs - hens can live quite happily (more so in many ways) without the presence of a rooster and produce just as well, if not better, than with one in the flock.
    What sort of area are they free ranging in? It is possible they may have started laying and are doing so in the hours they are not confined. You mention they are confined to their coop part of the day - is it just a coop (the actual building) or is there a run attached to the coop that allows them to be outside even while confined?
     
  3. Elizabethanne

    Elizabethanne New Egg

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    They are law grey game hens- unusual breed I think. Can't find much info on them... They have a coop with an upstairs and a bottom with a run. I just put a little oyster shell in their feed- I know too much protein can effect laying too. That's what I thought about the rooster not helping, but I thought I'd ask :) I know that the daylight hours are what effects laying, but we have more daylight in FL during the winter than northern states. When they free range they are in an enclosed fenced backyard- I check constantly for eggs but never find anything :-(
     
  4. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Game birds are not like typical production laying birds - which may be the first point to be considered. Are you new to game birds?

    As for "too much" protein being an issue with laying, it is actually more the opposite and that is why I asked about the scratch. Is the layer ration you are using one meant for chickens or game birds? Most layer rations are at the low end of protein content (16-18%), add in a little very low protein scratch or other scraps and you take that overall protein intake down below the minimum desired point pretty quickly (scratch tends to be around 9% protein depending on exact blend). Game bird rations are actually higher in protein content than typical rations produced for chickens - so if you are using a layer ration designed for a laying chicken flock, that is a place you might want to make a change. Layer rations for game birds run around 20% protein and up - and using a "laying" ration is not necessary at all. You can easily feed a conditioning feed (typically higher in protein than layer ration and geared towards optimal maintenance - since you are already using extra calcium this would work well for you. Because you do currently feed layer ration you are doing a disservice to your pocketbook (and possibly birds) by adding oyster shell as the purpose of layer ration is to provide that extra calcium birds needs while actively in production of eggs. I would suggest obtaining a good game bird feed and offering the oyster shell as a free choice supplement for the birds to take as wanted in a separate dish as a good starting point for your birds.
     
  5. Elizabethanne

    Elizabethanne New Egg

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    Ok- so here comes the dumbest question... Are game hens not chickens?! I am a teacher and a parent of one of my students gave me eggs to incubate- the hens I have now are the ones I incubated! I assumed they were chickens- but guess game hens are different? I'm disappointed because the reason I kept them is to have eggs... We've put so much into them by this point I'd be sad if they didn't lay well.... I'll try different food and hope that helps. The person who gave me the eggs said the hens lay about an egg a day, but couldn't tell me when they started laying. Thanks for your help!
     
  6. maranfarmer563

    maranfarmer563 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Usually add a night light and up the protein. My lay good spring and summer
     
  7. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was having trouble with my hens not producing adequately. I was feeding layer feed and throwing out a little scratch on the ground daily. I was not feeding free choice oyster shells because people on this forum said it isn't necessary with layer ration, well I installed a free choice oyster shell feeder and my production boomed. My birds also looked much better feather wise.

    I wouldn't mix the food I would feed straight layer or an all flock type feed, I would also make a free choice oyster shell feeder, I made mine from a 4 inch PVC pipe with a elbow at the bottom. Then throw a scoop or 2 of scratch on the floor/ground for something for them to peck at but don't mix it in their feed in large amounts.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2015

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