not producing, help please

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by RooksMom, Nov 12, 2014.

  1. RooksMom

    RooksMom In the Brooder

    Oct 14, 2014
    Harvey county Kansas
    I have a flock of twelve hens, six that are just now old enough to start laying sometime this month, and six that were advertised to be laying 4-5 eggs a week each. Since I brought them home they have been giving me maybe an egg or two a day (between all of them) they have unlimited access to their feed, and I make sure they always have clean water to drink, there is a heat lamp in their coop (nights around here are cold) and I made sure it was a red bulb not a white one so they could still sleep.

    What can I do? is there something I can do to make them more comfortable? I am going to be building them a new coop here soon that has a bit more room, I mean, technically this one is big enough for them, but I personally think they should have a bit more space. I know that after I build it and transfer them they are going to have to stay confined for several days to re-aclimate to it, and that will slow down production at that time, but anyone know whats wrong with my girls? There are no dogs around here to bother them, and the cats will sleep in a big pile in the yard with them so I know that isn't bothering them.

    Suggestons, help please
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    You don't say how long ago you purchased the laying hens. Hens usually stop laying for a while after being moved to a new home - they will lay eggs for a couple of days (those already in production) and then stop. Couple the move with shortening day length and a possible molt and you have several possibilities as to the low production. Increasing 'day length' to around 14 hours by adding artificial light in the AM may help spur production. I will assume that they are being fed a laying ration or this may be another factor.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    You don’t say how old the older ones are either. Pullets will often, not always but often, lay through their first winter and skip the molt. If they are older they will practically always molt when the days get shorter. Also the stress of moving can trigger a molt. Changing the flock make-up will trigger a change in the pecking order which can affect them laying. It may even trigger a molt. There are a lot of different things that could cause them to not lay or really cut back.

    One really big thing that can alter egg laying is a change in lighting regimen. I don’t know where you live or what you consider “cold”. I also don’t know how well your coop keeps breezes off the chickens at night or how well ventilated it is, but for the vast majority of us there is absolutely no reason to provide heat in the coop. As long as there is enough ventilation to exchange bad air for good and a direct breeze does not hit them chickens can handle cold really well. Personally I’m not convinced that a red light allows them to sleep. Maybe it does. But I think your lighting regimen may be the main cause of your problem. Not just the lack of sleep but the change in day length. Maybe you have security lights or street lights that affects their night and day? Do you know what kind of lighting regimen they were on where you bought them?
  4. RooksMom

    RooksMom In the Brooder

    Oct 14, 2014
    Harvey county Kansas
    The older hens are just under a year old.

    I have been watching for signs of molt, no one seems to be heading that way.

    I have had the newest hens (the older ones) for just over a month now. The reason I am building them a new coop is because the one I had was old and getting rather drafty, when I turned the light on and walked around it last night, I could see light shining out from a whole bunch of places, and rather then go buy a bunch of caulking to seal it up, I decided it was just time for a new coop, since this one was a bit crowded anyway.

    I give them 16% layer scratch and they have free run of the whole yard (which is just under 1/4 acre) and turn over my compost pile for me daily.

    last night is was 10*F with a bitter north wind.

    The reason I picked a red light is everyone I have spoken to locally, and some research I did on my own, says that a white light often keeps them awake while many chickens will sleep soundly with a red light.

    there are no street lights that shine into my yard, my backyard is pretty well secluded.

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