Problems in the coop

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by brannan, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. brannan

    brannan New Egg

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    Sep 9, 2013
    South Louisisiana
    I am having trouble in my flock. I have an original flock of 6 girls. I wanted a variety so I had 6 different breeds. Bought them when they were just a day or two old. All my original girls were great layers. I would get on average 5 eggs a day. The coop I built for them is15x15 foot coop with many different level perches and logs to keep them busy/happy. I have always had a solar powered green light to keep them relaxed and keep pray away. Green just because I didn't read what I ordered online and the light happens to shine green. Everyone was happy for the first year and a half.

    I decided that I needed more eggs simply because it was not enough for my family to eat and give to friends and family and sell just enough to pay for feed. So I decide to buy a total of 15 more chickens. 4 RIR, 4 Bared Rock, 4 Buff Orpington and 3 Bantums. All were about 2.5 months old. I researched some and put the new hens in a cage inside the coop for about a week then let them free range close to each other for a while then mixed them in where the smaller birds could go in a separate section of the coop where the bigger birds could not fit. I thought this would be a good idea.

    Well this shocked the original 6 and probably upset them. Egg production went fron 5 to 1 egg a day if that. And now I haven't got a single egg in 3 weeks from my original girls. They have been integrated for about 2 months. My younger girls are not set to start laying until around January. I live in South LA so we have a warm climate here. Do you think I have an egg eater? I'm about to separate the bantams out of the coop because they hang out in the laying boxes and they might be guilty of eating eggs. Or are they molting being October they could be. But 0 eggs. I thought production just slowed down during molting not stopped. Or is it my original girls are mad and are on strike? Will this last until my younger birds start laying? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    I did spontaneously lose one of my original 6 last week. I believe she must have been bit by a disease carrying mosquito (being from south LA) I felt around for a lodged egg but there was nothing. She was safely in the coop when she died.

    Sorry for being so long winded. I have a lot I was trying to get out and it tends to get jumbled up sometimes.

    Sincerely
    eggless
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2014
  2. Kluk-Kluk

    Kluk-Kluk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 11, 2014
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    I don't have any suggestions other than to wait at this point. Sounds like your older girls are upset with the change, but they should eventually start laying again. A year and a half ago, I introduced three adult chickens into my existing flock of six. The original hens greatly reduced egg production for a while, then restarted, but one of the three new chickens never laid a single egg the entire year I owned her. She never got over the shock of being moved.
     
  3. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    A couple of things. You mentioned the bird that died suddenly a week ago and that your new birds have been integrated with them for about two months. Coccidioisis is always a concern for both the new birds and the ones they are integrating with so I would keep that in mind and keep a close eye on the rest of them.

    As far as the drop in egg production...how old are your older birds? The days are getting shorter and it's normal in older birds for egg production to slow drastically and even stop this time of year in response to shorter days and the onset of molt. My flock of 9 turned two years old first of Sept. and has dwindled down to zero eggs as of last week, there are also feathers everywhere and some half naked, raggedy birds. Some are preparing to molt, some are in full molt and others are recovering. I don't expect eggs anytime soon!

    The upset of adding a lot of new birds can affect them too, there's a whole pecking order that has to be worked out. So that combined with everything, the lack of eggs doesn't surprise me.
     
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  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    You might look hard for a secret nest. Sometimes when you upset them, they will change where they are laying. That is what I always look for if they just all of a sudden quit. And it can be quite sneaky, a little dark corner, a sage brush..... I go out with a cup of coffee, turn them loose and just sit and watch where they are going and what they are up too, even though they are sneaking, they will sing the egg song. Or you can keep them locked up, so that they have to lay where you want them too.

    Molting can drastically reduce egg production, and decreasing hours of daylight. You may not get many eggs now until January, when you will get lots of eggs, cause all will be laying.

    I have learned to freeze eggs when I have lots, because they are chickens and the laying does vary through out the year.

    Mrs K
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2014
  5. brannan

    brannan New Egg

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    Sep 9, 2013
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    I guess I could Google search it but how do you freeze eggs? I can't imagine you freeze them whole. I am at the point now where we have bought our 2nd dozen from the grocery store. Just not the same
     
  6. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    When I freeze them, I scramble them in a plastic bag. If you're separating the whites and yolks, you'll want to add 1/2 tsp of salt for each cup of yolk (keeps them from getting lumpy). You don't have to do anything special for the whites :)
     
  7. Kluk-Kluk

    Kluk-Kluk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've certainly had them switch where they lay, sometimes making themselves a spot on the floor of the coop, other times when foraging making a nest among tall weeds. One chicken finds a new spot, and all the other chickens follow suit. It's funny to watch them double up in the new nest. The old one remains unused...
     
  8. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    I do the freezing two ways, I mix them like scrabbled eggs adding 1 1/2 tsp of salt to 12 eggs and freezing. Worked perfectly this weekend when the family was home. And I do a baking egg, to use in baked goods, 6 eggs, 4 tsp of sugar, mix together and fill muffin pan about 1/2 full, and freeze, pop out and put in baggy and keep frozen. You can then take out how many eggs you need for the recipe.

    What I have now, is two layers, and a bunch of pullets (thank you predators) but when there is just hubby and me, we don't eat eggs every day, so I can generally have fresh eggs for the eating. But I can be real short if the family comes home, like this week-end, or I need to do a lot of baking. This freezing when I had lots this summer is working well for me this year.

    Mrs K
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2014
  9. Kluk-Kluk

    Kluk-Kluk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mrs. K - Why do you need the salt or sugar mixed in with the scrambled eggs before freezing?

    I'm running short this season, especially baking birthday cakes for both my daughters. Freezing sounds like a great idea. Never considered it.
     
  10. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    ^ The salt keeps the yolks from going all lumpy. I'd imagine the sugar is for the same reason :)
     

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