Need help from the Northwest

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by startedwith6, Nov 26, 2014.

  1. startedwith6

    startedwith6 New Egg

    7
    0
    7
    Apr 18, 2014
    Vaughn, Wa
    We have 40 hens 20 of which are at least 1 year old. They are healthy but only producing 8-9 eggs a day. Not sure if it is the weather or what. We bought different breeds trying to find a breed that will produce all year round. We have a light on to extend daylight and warm shelter and protection from the rainy weather. What can we do to increase production? Any help will be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

    5,291
    626
    318
    Jan 27, 2014
    Central Oregon
    A lot of things might come into play on this.

    1) what type of feed are you providing? Do you have oyster shell on the side for them?
    2) It is now winter and with that brings all kinds of factors that will decrease egg production...shorter days (even though you are providing extra light), colder temperatures, etc. Winter time is the time of year when hens naturally slow down for a period of time.
    3) What breeds do you have? Are you sure they are high-production layers?
     
  3. startedwith6

    startedwith6 New Egg

    7
    0
    7
    Apr 18, 2014
    Vaughn, Wa
    We have Ameraucana, Ancona,Black Astralorp,Gold and Black Sex Link.Blue Andalusian,Buckeye,Buff Orphington,Light Brahma,Silver Laced Wyandotte, Speckled Sussex, Welsummer, Buff Brahama, Cuckoo Maran,Russian Orloff, Sicilian Buttercup and White Rock. We know the Sicilian Buttercup are only fair layers but they were pretty. We can try to increase the amount of Oyster Shell and see if that helps. Thanks for your input.
     
  4. startedwith6

    startedwith6 New Egg

    7
    0
    7
    Apr 18, 2014
    Vaughn, Wa
    Forgot to mention, we feed them Layena Pellets non medicated.
     
  5. ShockValue

    ShockValue Chillin' With My Peeps

    730
    106
    178
    Jan 10, 2010
    West Sound, Washington
    Did they used to lay more, or is this new?

    They also could be molting, which will slow or shut down production. Are you seeing a lot of extra feathers laying around the coop?
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    34,557
    7,762
    596
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    How big is your coop(feet by feet)?
    How many nests do you have for them?

    How long is your light on and when did you start providing supplemental lighting?
    Older layers need 14-16 hours of light to lay regularly thru winter. Last winter I used a 40 watt incandescent light(this year I am using a CFL) that comes on early in the morning to provide 14-15 hours of light and they go to roost with the natural sundown. Last year I started the lighting increase a bit late(mid October), the light should be increased slowly, and the pullets didn't start laying until late December. Here's a pretty good article on supplemental lighting. Some folks think that using lighting shortens the years a hen will lay, I don't agree with that theory but I also plan to cull my older hens for soup at about 3 years old.

    Could be they are laying out in their range area:
    Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop for 2-3 days can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. They can be confined to coop 24/7 for a few days to a week, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it.
     
  7. startedwith6

    startedwith6 New Egg

    7
    0
    7
    Apr 18, 2014
    Vaughn, Wa
    We have approx 80 sq ft and 12 nests. When we tried increasing the nest number they only used the original 12. We do have 14 hrs lighting for them.
     
  8. startedwith6

    startedwith6 New Egg

    7
    0
    7
    Apr 18, 2014
    Vaughn, Wa
    We were getting 18-21 a day from the older ones. We have 20 that are 1 1/2 yrs old and 20 that are almost a year. We also have 4 Frizzles that won't lay until spring but we do not plan on having them by then. Do not want to keep them over the winter.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    34,557
    7,762
    596
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    When did you start providing supplemental lighting?
    It takes awhile for it to work...as explained in the article I linked above.


    That's pretty tight space for that may birds... 2 sqft each is factory specifications.

    Were the older ones molting this fall?
     
  10. startedwith6

    startedwith6 New Egg

    7
    0
    7
    Apr 18, 2014
    Vaughn, Wa
    We started the extra lighting when we switched to setting clocks back. The older chickens did molt earlier and two are molting again. We do have several chickens who do not like the coop and prefer to sleep outside. Thinking that might change when the when it gets colder. We are going to pick up more oyster shell and we are going to try a probiotic supplement as well. Today we got 8 eggs and two were from our newer chickens.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by