Low Egg production. Do I need to restrict my flock to a run?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Sleepy71, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. Sleepy71

    Sleepy71 In the Brooder

    Oct 25, 2011
    Jacksonville, FL
    Hi all:

    I have 14 hens of various breeds and 1 rooster. Which is keep in the back half of my 1-acre residential lot. It's fenced in the back. I currently let them free range all day long and they coop themselves at night. I'm only getting 1-2 eggs per day and none are molting. Several of them probably finished molting a month ago. I have 2 nesting boxes in the coop, but I don't know if I need to add another 1 or 2, just in case they all have to lay at the same time. I do generally walk the backyard looking in the areas of the yard that they congregate, but they're not laying anywhere but in the nesting boxes and occasionally on the floor of the coop.

    Would it be better for me to construct a large run for them to hang out during the day, along with adding another nesting box? I just don't know if they are so busy enjoying all that space the backyard that they just "forget" that they're supposed to be laying eggs. LOL

    Here's my list of breeds, in case it matters:

    1 mutt hen - good layer of jumbo brown eggs
    1 red sex-link hen - usually a good layer, but not now
    2 barred rock hens - good layers of med/lg brown/pink eggs
    2 black australorp hens - usually decent layers of med white eggs, but nothing in a few months
    2 bantam cochin hens - usually decent layers of small white/pink eggs, but nothing in a few months
    5 americauna hens - blue eggs, but haven't laid any in more than a month
    1 silkie mix - she's just cute and only 8 months old, so I don't expect anything from her
    1 americauna rooster - kinda skiddish and runs from trouble, but does seem to mount most of the hens when he's feelin' up to it

    Thanks for any insight you can give!

  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    It's probably the result of lack of sunlight hours, as much as anything else.
    1 person likes this.
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    I've heard of hens only laying 2-6 months after finishing molting. They probably just need a bit more time to recover. But as Fred's hens said, the lack of sunlight hours probably plays a part here too. Most hens need around 14-15 hours of light a day to keep them in production.
    1 person likes this.
  4. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Crowing

    Apr 8, 2008
    Two things spring to my mind--lack of light hours, and hidden nests.

    If you can put a light bulb on a timer in your coop that will come on about 4am and off around 8am, your production should pick up. Also, hens are really good at hiding nests, so keeping them in a run or in the coop until midday when they should be done laying eggs and then letting them back out again should work.

    They're not "forgetting" to lay eggs, though. Something else is going on.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  5. good hententions

    good hententions In the Brooder

    Apr 25, 2011
    I have 12 hens and have only been getting about one egg every other day. Is that typical of winter production or does that seem excessively low?

  6. poseygrace

    poseygrace Songster

    Apr 29, 2011
    Also check for worms and mites. That can really affect production!
  7. Sleepy71

    Sleepy71 In the Brooder

    Oct 25, 2011
    Jacksonville, FL
    Unfortunately, we've had a raccoon problem these past few weeks, since I first made this thread. We now have only 4 hens remaining. I've fortified the coop, so I don't think anything is gonna get inside to get them. And, the hens won't be spooked enough to poke their head through the coop fencing, which is how the raccoon was able to kill half of them. I'm borderline depressed over this..

    But, back on topic... Now that we only have 4 hens, the 2-3 eggs/day is about normal. Problem solved, I suppose. :/ I can't help but wonder, though, if I had too few nesting boxes. I only have 2 boxes, so maybe that's part of the problem. Who knows...

  8. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Crowing

    Apr 8, 2008
    Sorry about your losses. We lost quite a few to raccoons last year before we figured out how the coons were getting in.

    You dont' have too few nest boxes. Two boxes for four hens is actually overkill. Most articles I've read say one nest box for every five birds. You'll know if you have too few boxes. It won't change how many eggs you get, but it will change where the eggs are laid. Too few, and you'll see birds dropping eggs on the floor or other weird places because they can't get into a box when they need to.
  9. RonB

    RonB Songster

    Aug 4, 2009
    You have a Bl. Australorp that lays "WHITE" eggs ????? Everyone I know including me that has Australorps get Brown eggs from them
    I think everyone across the country are seeing a drop in egg production from their flocks. I see several of you are in the mid-west or back east. I'm just North of Seattle.
    Lots of reasons for a slow down in eggs. (1) lack of daylight (2) winter (cold) (3) molting (4) age of the chicken. My friends and I see a drop in production when our hens reach 2 1/2 - 3 yrs of age especially in winter months.

    I see you live in Florida. so winter (cold) shouldn't be a problem

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