No eggs???

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Oreo, Jul 13, 2010.

  1. Oreo

    Oreo In the Brooder

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    We have a number of chickens we have obtained from various sources. A week and a half ago we had at least 5 hens laying including two leghorns we had just recently bought. All the chickens live together and free-range along with being given some cracked corn morning and night. The bulk of our flock are Ameraucana straight run pullets and cockerels we bought as chicks from Cackle Hatchery and they arrived in early-mid March. No eggs from them yet-- didn't expect them quite yet. We also have an older club-footed ameraucana / EE hen, the two leghorns, and two old white rocks, and another old hen of unknown breed who lays white eggs. We know we have gotten at least one egg from each of these in the last two weeks. We had at least two days with five eggs.

    About a week ago we started having a heat wave, and all production stopped. But for the last two or three days, the weather's been more normal. The chickens seem very happy, all flying about outside, scratching, eating, drinking, sparring, squabbling, and sitting in the shade in the heat of the day. I don't think we've lost any that I know of. But in six days we've had two eggs. Come on, chickens! You can do better than that. What's up?
     
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    My Coop
    Are you feeding them layer feed as well? Or only scratch? Increase their protein, and I bet you'll get more eggs.
     
  3. Oreo

    Oreo In the Brooder

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    Well good point, but they shouldn't need any feed at all when they are free-ranging. The cracked corn I give them is icing on the cake for them. My Sex-links used to lay an egg every single day without giving them ANYTHING last fall. They are now at my boss's house and, though they skipped a few days lately, they each laid an egg today. They have missed very few days in the past 10 months.

    I'm hoping to wean all my chickens off the cracked corn entirely as my sex-links were completely free-range last fall. If eggs are worth $3 a dozen, it takes a whole lot of management to get that $3 back and if I have to add feed costs on top, is it even worth it? The whole point is to free-range without supplement. But I'm not even doing that right now, I'm giving them some cracked corn to keep them going. They have a lot of good territory to cover for free-ranging and should be able to provide for themselves quite well.

    I was just wondering if the heat can make them drop off like that? Does anybody who is entirely or mostly on free-range have anything to add?
     
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    My 14 adult birds are free ranged from first thing in the morning until they put themselves to bed at night. They are free to go where and when they please on 80 acres. They have layer feed (16-18% protein) available at all times. [​IMG]

    I also have 11 more layer pullets (+ 2 cockerels) in the brooder with 18 rescue cornish Xs. They just started free ranging the other day. They also have age appropriate food available at all times.

    Though I saw a sharp drop in production just before, during and immediately following my hen's 18 month molt, they have been back up to better than average production for nearly 8 months now. That's with heat indexes that are hovering in the 100-105 degree range every day.
     
  5. Oreo

    Oreo In the Brooder

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    Hmm- so I guess maybe I need to get sex-links again next time since they don't require grain. I guess I got spoiled by them. Layer grain, and even the cracked corn is just way too expensive to be feeding free-choice. They could easily go through two dollars a day for my 30 or so birds. Fourteen dollars a week, for eventually, maybe, $25 of eggs per week?
     
  6. StormyMoon

    StormyMoon Songster

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    I was told not to give my chickens corn during the summer at all because it is a hot feed, and as it is too hot during the summer adding corn to the diet will prevent them from laying eggs.

    Just editing to say I have not added layer feed to my chickens diets yet till I can find a way to feed them all apart.

    We let them free range I only fill feeders in the morning with chick feed, from 6 AM - 7 PM they are free ranging.
    The Coop is left open all that time so they can go in and get water and feed if in the event that they want it.
    We offer watermelon, strawberries, crushed peanuts, tomatoes once in a while but never daily.

    Corn will only be given as we get closer to winter .........
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2010
  7. Oreo

    Oreo In the Brooder

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    Now that's an insight. You may be right. I can quit giving it to them altogether, but then what do I use to get them into the run at night? Although they mostly go by themselves anyway. Is the layer mash based on corn or mainly something else like soybean meal? If I give them a little something, and it doesn't include corn, what would be best?
     
  8. StormyMoon

    StormyMoon Songster

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    Quote:You can use fruit chopped up, you can use cherrios , you can use regular chick feed non medicated or medicated
    I never use a feed to put them in the coop when they see the sun setting they go in by them self.
    But their water is always in the coop and their feeders are always in the coop never outside.

    This way they know where they are suppose to go.

    Edit: the reason I do not use layer feed yet is because the calcium is to high for babies just yet. I am not sure if it is good for the roosters either maybe someone more experienced can say if it is or not. But when I find a way to feed the older birds apart from the younger birds then I will offer it.
    Their eggs appear strong and solid so I don't think I need to change their diet.....as long as they are laying and the birds look plump I am leaving them to feed them self.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2010
  9. Oreo

    Oreo In the Brooder

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    Quote:Mine have water dishes in the run but there are multiple water sources outside it as well. I feed them a little bit of corn in the run morning and evening, as well as any table scraps I may have. Otherwise they free-range. I probably don't need to give them any in the evening, but it seems to help them focus on getting into the run. The run is intended to be predator-proof (yeah, right!) and I leave the coop open all night inside the enclosed run mainly because it is really too small for the number of birds and I want them to be able to get out if they want to and to have more ventilation. eventually I'll be rid of about 10-15 cockrels that are taking up space.
     
  10. StormyMoon

    StormyMoon Songster

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    Quote:Mine have water dishes in the run but there are multiple water sources outside it as well. I feed them a little bit of corn in the run morning and evening, as well as any table scraps I may have. Otherwise they free-range. I probably don't need to give them any in the evening, but it seems to help them focus on getting into the run. The run is intended to be predator-proof (yeah, right!) and I leave the coop open all night inside the enclosed run mainly because it is really too small for the number of birds and I want them to be able to get out if they want to and to have more ventilation. eventually I'll be rid of about 10-15 cockrels that are taking up space.

    I don't think just a hand full would stop them but when I tried to buy corn for my chicks the breeder where I got my chicks told me not to buy the corn just yet.
    Said wait till fall, but you can give them plain oat meal uncooked I bet they would love that. Today my kids were giving diced tomatoes and they were fighting over it.

    As you can see I have different breeds and my BO, CM and EE are all laying I get 3 eggs a day from them.
    The other breeds I have are to young just yet usually around month 5 they start laying eggs some will wait a little longer.
    We like to give different treats the cooler treats like watermelon help them stay hydrated during the hottest part of the day as well as cold strawberries.
     

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