Is it because of winter? Rats? Or egg pecking?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by wildspiritedelz, Jan 18, 2015.

  1. wildspiritedelz

    wildspiritedelz Out Of The Brooder

    42
    0
    32
    Aug 27, 2013
    Gloucestershire, uk
    Hi all!

    I'm a bit puzzled as to what is happening with my flock! Last winter 5 out of 6 hens were laying daily and now 1 maybe two are laying daily! Now here's the thing... I've had evidence of rats around the pen (but never seen one just tunnelling in the ground) but no problems from them so far. Also, last summer the chickens went broody and a few of them started to egg peck but non have gone broody this winter so I'm guessing it's not egg pecking goin on.. A few of the eggs are occassionally smashed when I open up the nest box (I look at it every other day right now sometimes daily). There's been a few other slight changes too.. I've switched from using dust free shavings to hay in the nest boxes as I thought hay was cosier for winter. The feeder has been changed to grandpas treadle as I thought rats are around (it's still on an open position till they all are used to eating from it) and the drinker is now a dog bowl not a chicken drinker.. So ideas? Is this all just a coincidence?
     
  2. William1hens

    William1hens Out Of The Brooder

    73
    4
    43
    Dec 14, 2014
    The hens are probably breaking the eggs with their feet by accident.Rats would eat the inside of the egg
     
  3. Ol Grey Mare

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

    17,230
    5,714
    501
    Mar 9, 2014
    Oregon
    My Coop
    What is the quality of your egg shells right now - are they thin and flimsy or have you got good, strong shells that take a little effort to crack when you go to cook with them? What breed(s) are your birds? Some of the bigger, heavier breeds with giant feet can be a bit harder on eggs while tromping about in the nests than those lighter breeds with smaller feet. If flimsy eggs, big birds and poorly padded nests are combined you can easily end up with smashed eggs.
     
  4. Yorkshire Coop

    Yorkshire Coop Moderator Staff Member

    18,236
    4,241
    491
    Aug 16, 2014
    Yorkshire, UK
    My Coop
    X2 with Ol Grey Mare and William1hens. Plus a point made because I'm also in the UK, the weather this winter has been colder than last winter which was a lot milder. Weather does have an affect on egg laying. Lack of daylight hours can also reduce egg production.
     
  5. wildspiritedelz

    wildspiritedelz Out Of The Brooder

    42
    0
    32
    Aug 27, 2013
    Gloucestershire, uk
    Well the egg quality seems to vary. My very dark coloured eggs have a fairly tough she'll but the White ones are very flimsy. Is there anything I should feed to improve this? Are they some type of products Yorkshire Coop? Yes it is colder this year for sure! I've increased corn and also been giving them more bread and porridge in the hope that they will have more energy xxx
     
  6. wildspiritedelz

    wildspiritedelz Out Of The Brooder

    42
    0
    32
    Aug 27, 2013
    Gloucestershire, uk
    Oh my breeds are bluebelle, Nero, cream legbar, columbines and a bantam xxx
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2015
  7. Yorkshire Coop

    Yorkshire Coop Moderator Staff Member

    18,236
    4,241
    491
    Aug 16, 2014
    Yorkshire, UK
    My Coop
    Do you not have them on layer pellets? Mine have layer pellets all the time in a feeder in the runs so they can access them as they wish. They only get mixed poultry corn once a day scattered about so they have to scratch and work for it. The usual veg and kitchen scraps too as a treat. Also they have grit/oyster shell available all the time too.
    They have vitamin and mineral supplement in the water 5/7 days a week. It's by net tex called vit boost plus with see weed.
    [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by