Three freeloaders - Don't know what else to do. Can you help?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by BarneyNCyndi, May 27, 2016.

  1. BarneyNCyndi

    BarneyNCyndi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our three girls haven't been laying regular since January. They will be 2 years old in July. We haven't seen any real molting just a handful each. I did my May bathing of chicken behinds. I also checked vents and nothing. We have pulled the faux eggs for a few weeks and nothing. No signs of any illness. Any clues?

    One other thing we have two new girls that are in their own coop and run. Our little girls are about 10 weeks old. The big girls roam the yard while the little ones stay in their run until they are old enough for wing trimming and are able to defend themselves from the big bullies.

    Here are our three. Trouble who is a barred rock, Angel is a buff Orpington and Hot Lips is RIR.

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    Last edited: May 27, 2016
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Who knows? If diet, housing, parasite issues, and stress are all accounted for, then??? This is why commercial operations do the all- in, all- out flock management, and why longevity is not selected for in breeding stock. In a home flock, it's good to get a few chicks every year so someone is always producing, and decide what to do with less productive birds. My solution is to keep some favorites for life, sell some at one or two years of age, and then there's the crock pot. Some birds will die or be taken by predators. I also like to have different breeds, again because it's more interesting, and to spread out the molting times. Mary
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Their combs look like they should be laying. Are they roaming the entire yard? Have you tried confining them to see if they're just hiding eggs? I sure would not expect all of them to not lay a single egg. But 2 months ago could have been a good time to be coming back into lay, when the new girls were an issue.

    What are you feeding? They may need a boost of protein.
     
  4. HnkyDnkyZZFarm

    HnkyDnkyZZFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We're in a similar boat, but not nearly as long. We halved the coop with a chicken wire screen and brought in the new girls (3mo) about two weeks ago, so our bunch can see the new girls and they coop up at night in the same house and in view of each other but not get to each other. The layers have been on strike with half the coop off limits part of the time, and the rest of the time they are terrorizing the newbies by laying eggs on the coop floor right in front of the screen. I'm thinking it has something to do with the new girls. Who'da thunk chickens to be so persnickety!
     
  5. BarneyNCyndi

    BarneyNCyndi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We use scratch and peck feed plus supplement with a cup of meal worms. Plus we regularly give them collard greens for calcium. I occasionally do yogurt and tofu mix too. I hate to even say it but.. Could we be over feeding? Our buff Orpington is large weighing 7-8#, our RIR is about 5# max and our barred rock is between the other too.
     
  6. BarneyNCyndi

    BarneyNCyndi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree, I feel that we have raised three bullies. I expected it from Trouble but not my Angel. Hot lips has always been the most docile one since Trouble became top hen and she ran into the little girls run and attacked them. So we are going to keep the little girls separate until they can reach the roosts in our big coop. We know the pecking order will have to be new order.

    As for the combs, the do turn bright red. We have searched the entire yard and no eggs. Just some feathers in their favorite resting spots. We have put the faux eggs back in the nesting box and have been finding the girls back in there. Is this some slow brooding behavior.

    This is Trouble in the nesting box. She is with the faux eggs.

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    This picture will show how large Angel is as she by a 5 gallon bucket and Trouble is by a medium feeder.
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  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Hi Barney, I think that you are overfeeding goodies to your hens, and also their mineral balance is off, unless you are also offering free choice oyster shell separately. Severely limit the extras, and feed your main diet, which should probably be an all- flock feed rather than layer. Mary
     
  8. BarneyNCyndi

    BarneyNCyndi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mary,

    They have free access oyster shell and clams. I think Cyndi just over spoils pets.

    We will change to Flock feed and NO TREATS. About how long do you think it will take to see results?

    PS: This is Cyndi.. The soft hearted spoiler of dogs, chickens, and Barneys too.
     
  9. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Right now I have 24 hens, ranging in age from 14 months to one old lady who's 10. Two hens are broody, so they aren't laying eggs. My ten year old likely hasn't been producing for a long time. That leaves 21 'laying hens' of several different breeds, and I'm getting ten to fourteen eggs per day. Some are molting, most produce fewer eggs than others. I have white Chanteclers, EEs, BC Marans, and Belgian d'Uccles, and Wyandottes, and Speckled Sussex. No production sex-links or Leghorns, or Australorps. If I had only three birds, maybe I'd have the same issues you are having; just bad luck. I start some chicks every year, and that way it's much more likely that egg production will be (relatively!) stable. Mary
     
  10. BarneyNCyndi

    BarneyNCyndi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 9, 2014
    Everett, wa
    We are in the city but have a 1/3 acre and 5 adults is our limit for our city. Our 3 adults, are the survivors of six. We were told that you lose 25% your first year and we lost 1. We lost another two last year. So we started with three chicks in March; one was a roo so, he had to leave. I (Cyndi) am not that much of a softy. Honesty, I am thinking that if our girls don't start laying by July that they may be turned loose to free range on a friends farm. That will allow nature to take it course without me feeling too guilty.

    The funny thing about city living is that our entire neighborhood is looking out for our girls. We have regular dog walkers and stroller pushers that stop and talk to our girls regularly. So much, so we put the little girls near the fence so the neighbor can see their new neighbors, If an eagle is in the sky our phones start ringing.

    Thank you, Mary for we will be starting to restrict their diets and give them 2 months. If they start laying all will be fine. It is our plan to move the little girls to the big coop at 15 weeks old which is about the same time. If my freeloaders are gone we will get 4 new babies.

    I truly think it must be something we don't understand. Three breeds with the same symptoms, I think it must be us.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2016

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