Poor egg laying - ongoing and need reassurance

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Travilah, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. Travilah

    Travilah Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 28, 2011
    Myersville, Maryland
    Hi folks

    I have 4 golden comets, who free range during the day, have layer feed, grit, oyster shell and treats. They appear happy, alert and are quite active. They are Aug 2010 hatches. When I first got them in March, they were laying gangbusters! Beautiful, hard shelled brown eggs, almost 1 per hen every day. Then about the time our terrible thunderstorms set in (the East Coast has been hammered, altho not as bad as our friends in the South) and it got HOT, production reduced and I would occasionally get a no-shell egg. Normal behavior as I understand it, and these girls's main job is to eat my bugs, stink bugs especially. The eggs and the entertainment are a delightful bonus.

    Since then, however, it seems to be getting worse, rather than better. I get maybe 5-6 eggs total per week now - sometimes one in the nest, sometimes I will get 4 eggs in one day and that will be it for the week. I read up on BYC as to all possible causes, I have been watching them, to make sure they are not laying somewhere in the "wild", making sure they have plenty of chow, and watching their behavior. My overall thought is this is simply their pattern, and not to worry (excessively).

    However, when I let them out this morning (getting bowled over as they charged the door to get out into this magnificently beautiful day in Maryland!!!), I noticed in their poop line from the perch one disintegrated shell-less egg (very thin almost non-existent membrane), and what appear to be two other spots that look like yolk and egg whites simply passed while they were roosting. No evidence of shells at all, anywhere, so certain these were not "eaten" eggs.

    OK - so now I need reassurance from BYC experts that this is still typical unpredictable egg laying behavior for my golden comets, and that there is no other "underlaying" [​IMG] issue. I am new to chickens, but not new to herd management of other species. I am going to take a look for parasites with fecals. Is there anything else I should be doing? Looking for? Be concerned about? I want to add a couple more hens of different breeds as well, but do not want to do that before I am confident that my girls are OK. I do want eggs, though, so if this is going to be the standard for these girls, I definitely want to add 2-4 more that will lay [​IMG]

  2. gordonburrito

    gordonburrito Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 4, 2010
    I have to wonder if they have found a new nesting site. They can be very sneaky.
  3. Buff-Island-Australorp

    Buff-Island-Australorp Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 1, 2011
    Bixby, OK
    Mine aren't old enough to lay yet so I haven't had to search, but I agree that you might want to look around in their free range areas. You may very well find a stash somewhere. Look in the tall grass, anywhere that they hole up in for shade, flowerbeds, their dust bathing areas, etc....
    Good luck!!
  4. Travilah

    Travilah Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 28, 2011
    Myersville, Maryland
    I actually followed the little monsters for about two hours Saturday morning, as stealthily as I could. No joy! However, will do that again this weekend if things do not improve with the lovely change in weather. I may also lock them back up for a couple of days in their run/coop just to see what is really going on - hiding vs poor eggs/no eggs.

    My girls originally seemed to lay early morning; is that standard or do they lay whenever they feel like it?

  5. Blue

    Blue Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 6, 2010
    Quote:Laying time really depends on the individual hen. I've have some hens who lay in the morning and some who lay in the afternoon, but if they've been laying in the mornings, that routine should stay the same.
  6. Strange_Screams

    Strange_Screams Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 5, 2010
    Salado Texas
    Mine lay between 9am and 1pm. Upsets and stress can mess up there laying, I'm having the same problem because Ive added new members to the flock, but over time it is straightening itself out. I would be concerned by so many shell-less eggs. I've gotten only two shell-less in the last eight months, and about three odd, deformed or thin shelled eggs.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2011
  7. Pele

    Pele Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2011
    I'm sorry to hear you are having so many problems! You might want to increase the protien in their feed to fix the shells. I've heard a lot of people have had luck with that here.

    I have no idea if this is just a little old wive's tail, but my Grandmother used to keep chickens, and if she thought they were holding out on her, she'd catch one and salt it's bottom. Once she let it go, she SWORE the hen beelines for her hidden nest, wanting to lay.

    Who knows if it's true [​IMG] But it DOES sound hilarious!
  8. Travilah

    Travilah Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 28, 2011
    Myersville, Maryland
    So I locked the girls in for two days, to see what I might get - today when I let them out (they were very grateful) there was one perfect egg in the nest. So their production really must be down. I am going to add yogurt with calcium to their daily routine, to see if that helps. they have oyster shell at all times, but maybe it is not tasty enough.
  9. MarinMama

    MarinMama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2011
    also i read that protein helps....sometime if they free range alot they do not get enough protein. maybe some BOSS seeds. i also read something about pepper flakes in their food has helped promote laying so you might want to do a search on that.

    could they be molting?
  10. Travilah

    Travilah Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 28, 2011
    Myersville, Maryland
    Today, I have three nice eggs in the nest box, so maybe they have simply been off. I will add BOSS, as well as increase calcium in yogurt maybe. Thanks for all the great support and information!

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