so confused!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Primal Kidd, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. Primal Kidd

    Primal Kidd New Egg

    Apr 17, 2011
    Long story short... we bought our first chickens this spring. 10 Easter eggers. 5- 3 months old and 5- 5 months old. Shortly after that we bought those first 10 we bought 4 more hens that were each 1 year old. They are one golden comet, barred rock and two black sexlink. About another month we bought 5 year old black sex links. The 4 hens that we bought 2nd started laying right away and with the exception of one never stopped. Within a few weeks the 5 older Easter eggers started laying. At one time I was getting 5 green and 3-4 brown eggs a day. Once I even got 2 a day out of one of the sex links. I have them in what I feel is a very nice coop. It is the old milk house on or farm. We have classic nesting boxes out of my parents old chicken house. There are 5 on the top row and 5 on the bottom row. The coop is very well ventilated and has 2 purches. They have a large run that they have access to anytime which is even partially shaded. I feel like they are living in luxury. I would like to turn them out to free range but wanted them all established and laying well. I feed them a laying pellet mix I get from tractor supply. I mix in it oyster shell and grit. They have a large waterer that is cleaned daily. I currently have 18 hens, 14 of which are old enough to be laying and have laid at one time. Slowly but surely they have almost all stopped laying!!! I should be getting up to 14 a day and today I only got 3!!! I haven't gotten a green egg for weeks... currently one of the black sex links have gone broody... she has pulled out all the feathers on her belly and lays in an empty next. I use to have a marble egg in the box for training but took it out when I noticed she was always on it. I know I should do something about her but seperating her from the others will be quite a task because I am not set up for it. She isn't mean to us at all when we get her out but I do notice he pecking the others when she is out. I don't know why the other aren't laying?! I have been patient, it is getting worse. They all seem healthy and happy... I feed them lots of fresh veggie scraps from my garden and none of them act or look sick. When I merged the flocks there were never any fights or disruptions. I thought it was the heat wave for awhile but it has cooled off and still it gets worse.

    Does anyone have any ideas what could be causing this? Any help or advice?
  2. maybejoey

    maybejoey got chickenidous?

    Chickens will slow down egg production because of...

    Stress, if they are in a molting period, if it is to hot or to cold, or if they are brooding, and some other reasons. Chickens will also take breaks. But i dont think that they are sick.[​IMG]
    Hope I helped.[​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2011
  3. duckinnut

    duckinnut Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2010
    Marshfield, Ma.
    Any signs of pests like rat snakes,possums raccoons or skunks? Have you seen any evidence of possible egg eating chickens? Intergrating birds of different backrounds,have you checked mites,lice or worms? Stress is a key component too,heat being a biggie. There are so many different scenarios. Just check them medically,then physically,such as molting and on and on. As far as shelter,food and water dont think you could make them happier.
  4. Primal Kidd

    Primal Kidd New Egg

    Apr 17, 2011
    The only thing I thought was really weird was that when we added the last 5 one played while roosting and you could see the smashed egg and once they broke eggs in the nexting box. I could tell a big difference in the shell strength on the last chickens compared to what I was getting. They were like paper where as mine were like getting into fort Knox.
  5. ChicKat

    ChicKat Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Quote:Hi Primal,

    I think that if you are feeding laying pellets, there is already calcium added. Providing grit and oyster shells is good, but they probably shouldn't be mixed in with the feed. Have grit and oyster shell available in different container(s)--and the chickens will help themselves if they need them. The amount of feed/nutrition is essential to egg production. I suggest that they may have less available nutrition and it is 'diluted' with what you are mixing in. A boost in protein for them may help a little.

    Also if you have experienced the heat that the rest of the country has, it may just take them awhile to adjust back. I think you said that your run was partly shaded. chickens are pretty sensitive to puts them off their food and thus they will lay less.

    Lastly -- I have also heard that broodiness is 'contageous'. It sounds like you BSL is seriously broody---and others may be influenced by her.

    Not sure any of these ideas will turn the egg laying around for you--- but in heat chickens will tend to eat less, and when they eat less they will produce fewer eggs. Stop putting grit and calcium in with the pellets (if I understood you correctly) and maybe feed them a couple of scrambled eggs to up their protein. See if that will generate more egg laying.

    When you do solve it, post back -- what ever you find out will help others I'm sure.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011

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