how to re-kickstart laying?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by slackwater, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. slackwater

    slackwater Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The girls' laying started dropping off in early May, which would have just about coincided with their 1-yr molt. How long should this "drop off" last? It's been more than a month and I'm still only getting half of the eggs I should be getting each day. The girls are consistent about laying in the boxes, so I don't think it's that. Anyone have suggestions on how to kickstart their laying again?
     
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Mine quit laying for 3 1/2 months when they went through their molt. Give them more protein, I started feeding mine flock raiser because it has higher protein than layer feed. Give them all your meat scraps (cut small of course), tuna, cooked eggs, some people even give their chickens cat food. (I didn't)
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    ARE they actually molting? Or is it just that you think it is time for their scheduled molt? (which is possible, but is more likely to wait til later in the summer or early fall).

    If they are actually molting, it may well be another month or more before production picks up. You can up their protein intake to help, but there is only so much you can do.

    If they are NOT molting, it would still be worth giving them some extra protein, see if that helps. Also make sure their free-choice oystershell or eggshell tin is kept topped up, as calcium depletion (even if they're fed layer feed) can affect egg production somewhat too.

    For extra protein sources, most people would use things like feeding some of their eggs back to them (cooked and mashed up first!) or scraps of cooked meat from the kitchen (e.g. freezerburned bits); seeds, nuts or cooked dry-beans/peas have some reasonable protein although not as much as eggs or meat; or you could catch bugs from them, although be aware that will increase their exposure to internal parasites;

    It is possible though that they are getting *ready* to molt, in which case, again, there is only so much you can do. They're living creatures, they don't keep a totally regular even schedule [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  4. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    They'll also slack off laying eggs if you've had hot temperatures.
     
  5. slackwater

    slackwater Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, stupid question - how would I know if they are molting? they are already pretty raggedy from rooster-over attention [​IMG]

    Other than that, I guess I might chalk it up to the heat...
     
  6. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    First they will quit laying. Then it will look like a down pillow exploded in your yard. You'll see feathers falling off of them when they are just walking around. I noticed the pins for the feathers around their head/face first, then it went down their body, especially the chest/belly and under wing areas. Then they lost their tail feathers.
     
  7. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Moults: It depends if it's a minor or major moult. A minor moult they only lose a few feathers, for example; maybe just their tail feathers. When a major moult occurs, they usually lose their feathers starting at the back of the neck and then everywhere else...they look pathetic when this happens and sometimes get picked on by the others. It takes several months to get thier feathers back,sometimes longer. I provide extra protein to them when they're in moult in addition to yogurt or buttermilk mixed in their feed. You might consider buying some chicken saddles to protect your hens' backs from the roosters. There are BYC'ers here who sell them.
     
  8. slackwater

    slackwater Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In case anyone is JUST DYING to find out what happened...so far, laying is back up, without any effort on my part. I'm getting 8-10 eggs/day out of 10 laying age hens. I *may* have an egg-eater, and if production starts dropping again, I will do what I can to weed her out. Other than that, I will chalk it up to the heat.
     

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