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Relocated chickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bawkbawk2, Oct 25, 2015.

  1. bawkbawk2

    bawkbawk2 New Egg

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    Oct 25, 2015
    I'm new to chickens. About two weeks ago I purchased four 2yo layers. The person I got them from had a couple hundred chickens that were penned 24/7. The first couple of days they were laying some eggs but their production seems to be diminishing. They NEVER leave the coop even though they have a nice size pen to be in. I've tried moving their food/water to the pen during the day. Besides being a pain and having to worry about their food getting wet, two of the four fly out of the pen and get back into the coop by flying through the top half of the dutch door that's open.

    I live in Michigan. I know that their production drops off in the fall/winter. They are eating/drinking just fine. I have been supplementing their light since the days are getting shorter. Setting light timer to come on in the wee hours of the morning so they get about 16 hours of "daylight".

    I'm guessing they are stressed because of their environment change. Do I just need to give them more time to adjust on their own? How much production should I expect in the fall/winter with 2yo hens?

    I have two Amercanas, one Barred Rock and one Isa Brown.

    Thanks in advance for chiming in...
     
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    They will likely go into a molt, which means they will take some time off from laying. If you start seeing feathers everywhere, they are molting. Lighting will help them start up earlier, but it will not stop them from molting. Extra protein will help them through it a bit quicker.

    As for going outside, realize that chickens are prey animals, so they are naturally cautious. They have lived in a coop their entire life with no outside access. It is going to take time (meaning a while) to get them to go outside. Treats, like scratch, will help lure them outside. I would not move their water or food outside, as those that are unwilling to go outside will die before they go out. If they can be caught easily (I'm guessing not by your post), you can get them used to being held, then you can bring them outside and get them used to it slowly. You are going to need to be extremely patient on this, it's not likely to happen quickly.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I agree patience is the key. Chickens are creatures of habit and they are prey animals with very cautious instincts. They were penned 24/7. They are not used to going out into that strange new world outside. The same type of thing often happens when chicks raised in a brooder are exposed to the outside. Some go out immediately but some may take a few days before they venture out. It takes them time to build up the courage to try it. As long as they have access to the outside they will be fine in the coop. They are fine. They are not being hurt. They will eventually make it outside.

    Since you got them as 2 year olds form a place that kept hundreds penned, I strongly suspect these are spent hens. That’s not bad but egg production will not be great for a while. If you manipulate the lights to control days getting longer or shorter chickens will not molt and lay for a long time, anywhere from 13 to 18 months straight. But egg production for a large flock follows a certain schedule. Once laying starts production quickly ramps up to maximum flock production but after a while it starts to decline. The longer they lay without a break to molt the fewer eggs the flock lays and the quality of the eggs can drop too. At a certain point the commercial operation reaches a point that the cost of feeding the non-producers hurts profit so much they either have to feed them through a molt to recharge their system or get rid of them and start with fresh pullets.

    What I suggest is to stop the extra light and let them molt so they can recharge their system. Once they complete the molt and start laying again you will be rewarded with a lot of very nice eggs. I know people that get spent hens like that. They have to feed them through the molt but they get a lot of nice eggs when the molt is over.
     
  4. 4mcliftons

    4mcliftons New Egg

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    Jun 14, 2015
    I'm in Deep East Texas and I too purchased 2 yr old hens. They housed with a coop and run and I have duplicated that. I am seeing a good many feathers and egg production is limited. I am feeding them laying pellets. What should I give them to increase protein?
     
  5. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Meat scraps, mealworms, increase protein in feed (Flockraiser is 20% protein and Game Bird starter is 30% protein), leftover milk, etc.
     

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