Layers on Strike. What's wrong?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 2boxers, Aug 9, 2009.

  1. 2boxers

    2boxers Songster

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    Feb 16, 2008
    Halifax Co Virginia
    I just don't know what else to do. My girls have really slacked off on their egg laying. I've done everything I can think of.

    I found one hen infested with mites. A week ago I dusted her, the rest of the flock, the coop, changed all the nest boxes to fresh bedding, cleaned the run and coop and dusted their favorite dusting spot.

    I have wormed them, thinking that perhaps they needed it, even though I have not seen evidence of worms. I add ACV (apple cider vinegar) to their water, so I didn't expect worms to be a problem.

    No one is molting. There's no excess feathers laying around.

    I stopped giving them treats every day, now it's once a week, and then it's a small amount of treats.

    Up until the past week, heat has not been an issue. Their routine has not changed. The coop is clean and fresh. There is no more snake problem nor any other predator that I can see evidence of.

    We did cull 7 extra roos yesterday and sent them for a visit to freezer camp, so maybe that scared the ladies into going back to their regularly scheduled laying...we'll see.

    My last idea is to split off the flock into two flocks-one with the established layers and the other with my pullets that hatched this year + the roo I hatched this year.

    Does any one have any more ideas? I don't sell my eggs, I give them to friends and neighbors, but I hate having to telle very one that I don't have any.
     
  2. PeeperKeeper

    PeeperKeeper Songster

    My neighbors egg production was going WAY DOWN last fall. It was kind of a contest to see who get the most eggs from their girls.... We were beating them hands down! Until Jill saw little brown dog visiting the hen coop everytime a hen cackled!

    Egg Sucking Dogs... can really knock your production down.
    Now if that is not a possibility, they could still be going through a molt. My girls are. They are not dropping a lot of feathers, but their feathers are getting "faded" like.

    Feed extra protein, Yogurt, hard boiled eggs, peanut butter, the like. Feed more so toward evening especially if the weather is HOT where you are. Too many carbs with hot weather makes their little bodies heat up even more. The heat can also be a stresser that could be cutting down on the egg production.
    Anyone Else out there with suggestions???? [​IMG]
     
  3. Pathfinders

    Pathfinders Crowing

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    Northern KY
    Egg production isn't constant, it varies. The trigger for changes in laying habits is the length of the light cycle. If your birds are only getting outside light, then their bodies know that the days are getting shorter again and that winter is coming, and their laying reflects that.

    You can always put lights on them to increase the time that they have light hit their little brains, but that costs money (for the electricity.)

    And be aware that a hen is born with all the eggs she'll ever lay already in her body. If you put lights on birds you increase egg production, but you also shorten the useable life of the bird. If you're willing to replace your layers sooner, then that won't matter to you. But if you're keeping your birds until they die, it will (I think.)

    Just fwiw...
     
  4. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

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    Heat can play a big part in a drop in egg production, too. Mine have just been to hot to lay!
     
  5. Pathfinders

    Pathfinders Crowing

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    Quote:Quite right. When it's too hot, birds shut down the laying mechanism and use their energy to keep cool.

    One of my tricks to keep my birds cool is to add ice to their water. You can use old milk cartons, cleaned out, filled with water and put in the freezer to create large blocks of ice for big water pans, or just buy a big bag of ice and keep it just for the chickens. They love it!
     
  6. 2boxers

    2boxers Songster

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    Feb 16, 2008
    Halifax Co Virginia
    I'm not willing to put lights on my birds. I know it's a common thing and I don't fault any one who does it, but it's not for me.

    I thought i might be the heat. This past week has been the first time it's gotten over 90 in Southside Va. But this has been going on most of the summer...since July, really.

    I wonder if it is possible that they are molting but I am too thick of skull to realize it. At present I have 18 chickens (16 hens & pullets and two roos). If there were a mass molt going on, wouldn't I see some feathers? Or is it possible that they are eating the feathers?

    The bottom line is that I want the girls to be happy & healthy.
     
  7. Pathfinders

    Pathfinders Crowing

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    If they were molting you would be seeing feathers, so it likely is the heat, as you say. Or just the shortening of the day.

    I'm with you on not putting lights on my layers. I have some birds in the barn in pens and I have lights on in there, otherwise it would be too dark. But I don't leave them on too long, and don't want to burn out my birds...
     

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