Picky eaters, Heat, and Not Laying...HELP!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by KSue, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. KSue

    KSue In the Brooder

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    Jun 24, 2010
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    Ok, almost 2 weeks ago I purchased a flock of Buff Orpingtons (6 hens and a roo). I have never owned chickens and wanted to start with adults to get the basics down. Four of the hens are 2 years old and two are 1 year old. When I bought them the lady told me they had stopped laying a couple of weeks ago (a month by now) due to the heat. She said they should start back again soon. So, here are my problems, any advice would be sooooo much appreciated~

    1) They still haven't laid any eggs for me. [​IMG]

    I have 2 nest boxes in the coop and and a cat litter box with hay in the run. They weren't fooled by the neon yellow golf balls I put in there to encourage laying, so I boiled some brown eggs and put them in there today temporarily until I can get some wooden eggs. Every day I rake through the sawdust to make sure they aren't hiding eggs from me...nothing.

    2) They are pretty hot still and pant a lot although the coop and run are in the shade all day. I change their water frequently, limit their scratch and have added a fan to the coop to circulate air more. I have given them frozen peas and carrots to help with the heat. They promptly ate all of the carrots and left the peas alone.

    3) As far as feeding them goes, I thought chickens were pretty much like garbage disposals. Not mine! They are turning out to be very picky eaters. The first brand of laying pellets I bought they did not like at all and would only eat them if they had to. I have since switched to another brand and instead of pellets I got crumbles. They like this much better. A friend told me that I needed to give them more protein and suggested chopped collard greens (raw) mixed with boiled eggs. I tried this this morning. They ignored the mix in favor of their crumbles so I took the crumbles away until they started eating the egg mixture. One of the hens was VERY upset with me for taking away her crumbles, but oh well, lol......anyway, they picked the egg out of the mix and left the collards. I am going to put the crumbles back in a bit. So far they don't like anything green....peas, left over green beans, collards...they turn their beaks up at all of it. Oh and egg shells? They don't like them either. I lightly toasted them and crushed them up very fine and mixed them with the feed....they picked the feed out and left the shells! They do like frogs though. I caught two frogs the other day and tossed them into the run with the chickens. That turned into an interesting frenzy of keep away.

    So, am I doing anything wrong here? Any suggestions for feed that they might like? What else can I do to encourage egg production? Thanks in advance for any advice!
     
  2. simpsoncj

    simpsoncj Songster

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    Dec 27, 2009
    I don't have all the answers you need but I do know when chickens are moved it usually takes them a few weeks to start laying again. I'm not familiar with why they would stop laying altogether because of the heat though so I'm interested in hearing what others have to say about that.

    As far as food goes, they were probably used to crumbles and that may be why they prefer them. The change has most likely affected their eating habits also but if you stay consistant with how you feed them they will adapt to it. I know my hens usually turn their noses up at anything "new" the first time but with a little coaxing they end up liking most things. Sometimes they will act like they don't like something but then I leave it there and go away and when I come back later it is gone. I have crumbles always available and my hens free range all day and I throw them different treats throughout the day. Sometimes it seems like they go through their crumbles fast and other times it seems they are hardly eating them at all. Chickens are smart and I think for the most part they know what they need. Be sure to keep their water cold and fresh also.

    Good luck and welcome to the entertaining world of chickens!
    CJ
     

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