New Member Requesting Input about Egg reduction-Cats?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Pilgrimfarm, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. Pilgrimfarm

    Pilgrimfarm New Egg

    Jan 11, 2011
    Wow, there is a lot of information here. I am new to the forum but not new to chickens. I live in NC and have raised chickens for 20 some years. A few years ago I bought my dream farm and moved my animals there. The barn has been fallow for 15 years and was previously used for pigs. My previous set up was a simple three sided "tarp" shelter with roosts and laying boxes. The new set up is an 8000sf barn. The barn is drafty and far from airtight, however it provides what I think is adequate shelter and much better shelter than the tarps. I have had a successful egg business for the last 8 years. Since moving to the new farm I have seen a general reduction in eggs. My immediate issue is I am getting 0-3 eggs a day from 100 or so chickens and one of those is always a turkey egg. Let me start by saying i have read the posts about why they stop laying, health related posts and realize they are not machines. I have some 1-2 year old highline brown layers and barred rocks, some mixed layers I hatched, turkeys, ducks, sheep, goats and some cats.

    This same thing happened last year about this time for a two month period after which they picked up again.

    I built pens in the barn with perches and nest boxes. They are made out of wire so they get plenty of ventilation. I also have a light providing 14 hours of light a day. My chickens get well water and are allowed to free range all day long and are locked securely in the barn. I have seen few losses at the new barn, maybe 4 random deaths in 2.5 years. Out of 100 birds I consider that to be alright.

    I had been getting 80 or so eggs a day, up until the end of October, I introduced the light before that in anticipation of shorter days.
    For 3 years I have used a university tested, locally raised and milled mash feed up until the eggs ceased and I switched to a commercial brand with no increase in egg production.
    I dewormed my chickens when I saw the decrease coming.
    No mites around the vent or under wing on 15 checked birds.
    Droppings look normal, chickens look and act normal other than a bit of feather loss.
    Oyster shells are provided.

    It just seems to me that they have much more space, better shelter and they have decreased in production.
    The only difference is I have cats in the barn, the cats were there this summer and they were laying so I am not sure if that is an issue.
    It has been cold but from what I have read, cold is not really an issue with laying?

    I know many will say just let them rest and that they are not machines. I am basing my expectations on the 2 dozen chickens I had in the tarp barn who barely slowed down at all in the winter.

    Comments or suggestions are appreciated.
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I don't have input for you, just wanted to say [​IMG]
  3. midget_farms

    midget_farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    are they going outside during the day?

    The reason I ask - is if they stay inside they don't get the light. That will cause them to stop laying.

    I have the same issue with mine. It snowed several weeks ago & that was the last time the darn things set foot outside. My lights are on a timer & come on early then go off after sun up then on again - so I am only providing a couple extra hours of light.

    I get 2 eggs a day now.

    Try leaving the lights on all day & see what happens. I think I'll do the same.

    I'd put $$ they need more light.
  4. Ohhhdear

    Ohhhdear Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 15, 2010
    West Michigan
    You could try adding powdered cayenne pepper to their feed. A lot of people do and many (including me) think it works very well to restimulate a chicken's system into laying again.
    I add a 12 ounce bottle to a bag of feed.

    If it doesn't help your flock, then no harm, no fowl (sorry, couldn't resist!) [​IMG]
  5. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2010
    Missouri Ozarks
    The cats could possibly be eating the eggs...

    After having mysterious low production for a couple months, I've finally found the culprit... "Clara," a black one year old female cat. [​IMG] She makes a half dollar-sized hole in the egg and licks out the contents. The chickens clean up the egg shell. They leave little to no mess. I finally caught them in the act when I got suspicious and tried collecting eggs several times a day...

    BTW, [​IMG] from another fellow fresh egg business gal, with 91 laying hens and 3 roosters! [​IMG]

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by