I'm so depressed

Tamrajh

Songster
9 Years
Apr 3, 2010
203
5
111
West Haven
We had 34 chickens with only 19 being age laying hens so I thought I would get around 10 eggs a day since the hens were all around a year old. The most I ever got was 11, for 2 days. When egg production dropped to 2 a day I got rid of some hens I didn't care for and thought were causing problems in the hen house. Now we have 21 hens and get 1 egg a day. (11 are too young to lay and 1 is a rooster so that leaves 10 hens being the right age to lay who are not molting)
I have customers waiting for eggs and every day I go out there just sure that this is the day the spell will be broken and my girls will be kicked back into gear but no. I get 1 egg. Occasionally 2 and one time last week I got 3.
None of my 5 EE are laying at all when they were the most regular layers.
I thought we had another skunk but that's not the case either.
I thought they had bugs bothering them so I spent $40 on DE and dusted them, the run, the coop, the laying boxes. Nothing.
I thought maybe they weren't getting enough food so I fed them more. Now there's leftovers. (I feed them 20% layer pellets and oyster shells)
I thought I might be giving them too many treats so I cut that down. Now they don't run to me when they see me coming which makes me even more depressed.
I thought the rooster might be bothering them because he seemed to be grumpy for a few days but he's back to his friendly self of offering them up food and calling them over to investigate new things. No more running hens down only to peck them on the back.
It's not too hot yet (it was in the 60s today).
They have enough water every day (I tripled the amount of water in the run so they don't run out).
What am I missing?
 

Beekissed

Free Ranging
12 Years
Feb 14, 2008
22,974
4,956
602
This world is not my home.
You may have predators you are overlooking. Rats will steal and eat eggs, as will black snakes~a surprising number, in fact. Is there yolk in the nests? You may have egg eaters. Do you free range? They may be laying anywhere but your nests...this is a chronic problem with free ranging.

Nothing is wrong with your feed regimen and some chickens may slow down or have irregular ovulation...but not ALL of them. Something is stealing your eggs.
 

Siler

Songster
9 Years
Jan 25, 2010
298
2
121
Central Indiana
Can you possibly tell us a little more? How big is the coop? What size is the run? Are they free-range? What kind of nest(s) do you have for them? What breed of hens? You feed 20% layer and what type of kitchen scraps? How much food do they eat totally? Is their water clean enough that you wouldn't be horrified if it spilled on your clothing? As another poster said once, is it clean enough for you to take a sip yourself?
 

WoodlandWoman

Crowing
12 Years
May 8, 2007
5,717
67
283
Wisconsin
If they are free range, I would close their run door for a couple of days and see how many eggs you get in the coop, then. They may be laying out in the yard. Some nests are very hard to find. Others are emptied out by the many egg eating predators. Daytime egg raids in coops are a shorter list. Snakes, rats, squirrels and dogs can all take an egg and leave no sign behind. Watch for those, too.
 

sparkles2307

Terd of Hurtles
11 Years
Oct 23, 2008
6,025
12
251
Northwestern Minnesota
It sounds like you're doing everything right, I'm sorry I'm no help. I free-range, 28 laying hens, and get 18-22 eggs a day and have just accepted the fact that with free-ranging I will not have every hen lay where I want. Since its such a low number I'm missing I dont sweat it, but in your case, wow I hope that you figure out whats going on ASAP!
 

Tamrajh

Songster
9 Years
Apr 3, 2010
203
5
111
West Haven
I'm not free ranging at the moment because I want them to lay in the right spots (the nesting boxes) and until they learn to do it, I'm not letting them out.
Nesting boxes are about 12x12 and lined with hay and pine shavings.
Waterers could probably use to be cleaned out a bit but they're pretty clean. No moss or bugs, just a little dust/dirt from when the girls climb in them (why do they do that? they sit in them like a goose does).
No signs of other predators. No holes found in the foundation and I haven't ever seen a snake on the property (we've been here for 8 years). We had a skunk but recently disposed of him and haven't had anyone return. That's when our production jumped up to 11 all the sudden. When it dropped I started looking for another skunk and invested $75 in a skunk trap. Nothing.
Coop is 15x8 run is 30x20.
3 RIR, 1 BO, 5 EE, 1 RIR/White Leghorn. Rooster is a BO. 8 young adult White Leghorns, 2 Cuckoo Marans and 1 Wellsummer that are about 14 weeks old. The White Leghorns and 14 week olds are not laying yet. Everyone else, like I said, is a little over a year.
Kitchen scraps vary from steak, chicken, bananas, chicken scratch, worms, hamburger, grass, scrambled eggs. I've cut it down to only about 2 treats a week now.
No signs of egg yolk in the nesting boxes.
No hidden nests (they're locked in and nowhere to hide them).
Fed and watered every day.
 

tammyd57

Songster
9 Years
Feb 12, 2010
1,108
13
151
Central Valley, California
Do you have any neighbors who could be taking the eggs? I've seen several people post that they caught a neighbor or kid in their henhouse stealing eggs. The common answer when asked why they were doing it seems to be "Well, I didn't think you'd mind/notice."
 

boxermom

Songster
10 Years
Feb 22, 2009
847
3
139
Spencer,IA
Can you try to collect eggs several times a day? That would tell you if they actually are laying or not. That would also fluster an egg eater or a sneaky outside of the family egg eater.
 

raacampbell

In the Brooder
10 Years
Jul 15, 2009
72
0
39
Long Island NY
I have 7 pullets which started laying between about august and October of last year. By November and December I was getting about 5 or 6 eggs every day (I kept the coop lights on in the evenings). In Jan/Feb I eased up on the lights and some of them stopped laying. Now that they've re-started I'm getting closer to 4 eggs a day with some days only 2 or 3. I too am confused at why the egg-laying has decreased.

Actually, maybe this explains it:
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/LyraEDISServlet?command=getScreenImage&oid=5091321
 
Last edited:

Minniechickmama

Senora Pollo Loco
10 Years
Sep 4, 2009
7,135
695
391
Minnesota
I know that Welsummers start later at laying than a lot of breeds. I found that out when my 5 and 6 month olds weren't laying yet and went researching. They just started and lay beautiful eggs. But last fall and winter when my girls should have been laying and weren't I gave them a bit of calf manna with their feed for a protein boost. This has worked for me. I give about a cup of manna per 4-pounds of lay mash. I clean out the waterer daily and make sure they have plenty of water all of the time. There are other things people feed their chickens to have the same effect, like cooked oatmeal and scrambled eggs, but the manna isn't that expensive and it is easy. You should be able to get it where ever you buy feed.
Good luck!
 

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