My Chickens are on Strike and Not Just From the Weather

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chicksgalore, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. chicksgalore

    chicksgalore Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I haven't gotten an egg in several months and I have about 19 laying hens. Over the summer, they were laying although not like I think they should've been. I brought in 6 new pullets from a hatchery and from those alone, I didn't receive more than one egg a day...ever! And that was 7 months ago right in the middle of summer. Then in the fall, my hens stopped completely. I know the daylight/cold/winter slows them down but we're not talking "slow down" here; we're talking just complete stop. I have three new hens I raised that should've started laying a month or two ago, and...nothing. Last winter, my chickens came to a complete stop also. They're getting a laying mash from the feed store and supplemented with wheat and corn. I know there are different types of mites and things; can anyone tell me what would cause them to not lay at all?? I've had chickens for years and never had a complete strike before like these last 2 years. I think something must be infecting them.
     
  2. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Hens will not lay well if they are getting less than 14 hours of light a day. For some hens they just slow down, but for many others they simply stop laying at all. The full stop over winter is normal for many breeds; you don't say what kind of birds you have, or their ages?

    I've also had trouble with started pullets this year. Usually when I buy started pullets they start to lay right away, but this year they didn't. Very frustrating. I don't know why, but it seems to have been a bad year for chickens.

    One thing I do notice is your feed. Why are you supplementing wheat and corn? Wheat and corn are very low-protein, and "diluting" the feed with wheat and corn would be more accurate. They should lay better without the wheat and corn. Nutritionists work hard to make layer feed a complete feed, and adding other things to the diet messes that up. Also, do you wet your mash? Layer mash is meant to be fed wet. Otherwise it's too dusty, is hard to eat, and causes respiratory problems. Switching to a crumble or a pellet would solve this problem.
     
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    What are you feeding them. Do they have feed available at all times? Could they be hiding their eggs?
     
  4. EchoesEchos

    EchoesEchos Out Of The Brooder

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    My ladies went through their first molt in September. Didn't really start laying again until January and then only once in awhile. I don't have extra light in my coop so thought that might be a contributor but I remembered last winter they laid well without adding light. It was feed related I figured. So I started with adding cracked corn, helped some but then I remembered that last winter I gave them Flock Block and within a week after I started feeding it again they went into full production mode. I have 8 hens and get between 6 & 7 eggs daily now. In less than a month.....
     
  5. chicksgalore

    chicksgalore Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The new pullets I bought are RIR; the others are mutts we hatched: RIR, BR, EE. We are feeding mash and they don't like that as well but the pellets and crumble just seem to cost too much more! I didn't know about wetting the mash down; I'll try that. I've always fed corn and wheat just to help with cost (the corn and wheat are free) and I've never had trouble before. The birds also look healthy. Some family members got some pullets at the same time/place we did and theirs are laying. They do feed crumble but the layer mash should have the same stuff in it shouldn't it? Could there be something contaminating our coop/runs that we're not aware of?
     
  6. chicksgalore

    chicksgalore Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, and yes, they have/had feed all the time and no, they can't be hiding them. They're fenced in and we've thoroughly checked the whole area. I'm thinking we may need to get rid of the whole batch and move to a new fresh area and start new?
     
  7. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    They layer mash probably does have the same nutrients as your neighbor's crumble if they are the same company; however, the company I use sells the layer mash cheaper because it has less protein. Something to check. Also, your neighbors probably aren't diluting the nutrients with corn and wheat, either.

    Since eggs are mostly protein and water, it takes lots of protein to make an egg. I feed a higher protein feed in the summer when they are out free ranging, since I'm sure they are eating lots of greens and those don't have any protein. In the winter I step down to a 16% protein since they are only getting layer feed.

    Is is possible your neighbors are giving the hens extra light? That would also account for their birds laying while yours are not.

    Before you get rid of the whole flock, I'd wait until the light starts to increase this spring. I'd bet they start to lay then. I doubt you have anything that's contaminated, since you say they look healthy.
     
  8. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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