Trouble in the Coop

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' 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
     
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    It is probably a combination of things, but this time of year most older birds are going into molt anyhow, the new birds in the coop may just have upset them enough to stop laying sooner. If they are in a hard molt, laying will usually stop completely, usually for at least three months or so. If you put them under lights 14+ hours / day they will usually start laying sooner, if you do not add light they will probably not start again until spring daylight hours increase naturally. (pullets of production breeds at least will usually lay through the first winter with or with out lights) Nice article on molting (note months are backwards from US) http://www.thepoultrysite.com/articles/217/moulting-a-natural-process

    Nice article on winter lighting http://www.hort.purdue.edu/tristate_organic/poultry_2007/Light Management.pdf you need to use a "warm" bulb http://www.sp.uconn.edu/~mdarre/poultrypages/light_inset.html This one goes into the gory technical aspects of lighting. Basically you just want a "warm" (usually incandescent) type light bulb, not one of the ones that is labeled as "cool". If you look at the bulb box it should say what it is on the back of the box, usually there is a section under "lighting Facts per bulb" called something like "Light Appearance" with a number or graph like 2700K (happens to be on the box I have here).
     
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  3. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    Jan 27, 2014
    Central Oregon
    You question if they are molting....are they losing feathers...do you see feathers all over the place?? Yes, this is the time of year in general for molting...it could be that and the stress of all the new members to the flock. Also keep in mind that this time of year not only are they facing possible molt, the days are much shorter now, and temps are getting colder.

    Me personally? I plan on giving my girls a deserved rest for the winter months rather than trying to keep 'em laying...JMHO
     

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