water freezing problem

dorklandresident

Chirping
Nov 30, 2021
82
172
96
Massachusetts, USA
I got 10 different breeds, mostly classified as dual purpose chickens. Australorpe, Americana, Californian, RIR, ISA Brown, Silver Laced Wyandotte, Cuckoo Maran, Buff Orpington, and a couple others I can't think of right now. I got beautiful colored eggs from them the first 2 years, but hardly any eggs now in my third year with this flock. So, I'll have to replace them this coming spring if I want to get any more eggs. Down to about 1 egg per day for 8 remaining hens in the flock.
Wow, I didn't realize egg production drops off so quickly. I know that they don't lay as much after 2 years, but I didn't think it would be that drastic. Do you think it has something to do with the harsh winter?
 

gtaus

Free Ranging
Mar 29, 2019
3,234
12,416
657
Northern Minnesota
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My Coop
Wow, I didn't realize egg production drops off so quickly. I know that they don't lay as much after 2 years, but I didn't think it would be that drastic. Do you think it has something to do with the harsh winter?

I live in northern Minnesota. Our winters are long and dark at this latitude. I think both the weather and our geographic location affects egg laying production. This is my first backyard flock, and I have been surprised at the egg laying production drop-off going into this third year. Assuming I continue to raise backyard flocks, I will plan on replacing my hens every 2 years.

Maybe people living further south have longer egg production life from their hens. I really don't know. Right now, my feed costs far exceed my eggs collected and it costs me about $5.00 per dozen eggs I collect. This year, I am getting about 30 eggs per month, whereas in years 1 and 2, I was getting about 250 eggs per month. So, it has been a big drop for me.

My chickens appear healthy and happy, just not laying many eggs anymore. But I still enjoy them and will continue to carry them over the winter and the summer until my new chicks are ready to start laying. There are many reasons to have a backyard flock, and egg production was never my main goal.
 

wamtazlady

Crowing
8 Years
Jul 18, 2013
1,778
2,370
326
Kalispell MT
I live in northern Minnesota. Our winters are long and dark at this latitude. I think both the weather and our geographic location affects egg laying production. This is my first backyard flock, and I have been surprised at the egg laying production drop-off going into this third year. Assuming I continue to raise backyard flocks, I will plan on replacing my hens every 2 years.

Maybe people living further south have longer egg production life from their hens. I really don't know. Right now, my feed costs far exceed my eggs collected and it costs me about $5.00 per dozen eggs I collect. This year, I am getting about 30 eggs per month, whereas in years 1 and 2, I was getting about 250 eggs per month. So, it has been a big drop for me.

My chickens appear healthy and happy, just not laying many eggs anymore. But I still enjoy them and will continue to carry them over the winter and the summer until my new chicks are ready to start laying. There are many reasons to have a backyard flock, and egg production was never my main goal.
When chickens reach about 18 months old they start to molt. This usually happens in late fall. As they get older it takes them longer to begin laying again after the fall molt. They may wait until February or even March when the days are getting longer. Chickens lay best when they get 14 hours of daylight. Some people add artificial lights to wake their chickens up earlier than natural dawn just so their chickens lay more eggs during the winter.

I have a neighbor who rotates his chickens. The first year he might get red stars. The second year he gets black stars. The third year he gets barred rock. That third year he starts to cull the red stars out of his flock. Since first year pullets usually lay pretty well through their first winter, he always has pullets for winter eggs. When chickens approach 3 years old they slow down the egg production and he puts those hens in his freezer.

I sometimes wish I could do that. However, my chickens are my pets. I keep them even when they stop laying.
 

Joyfillednomads

Songster
Feb 11, 2021
287
335
151
United States of America
I live in NE with 3 chickens. I am concerned about their water freezing during the day when I can't do anything about it. I don't get home from work until the chickens are already in bed. I though about putting the water inside the eglu with a heating pad under it or something like that. I can't find any solar powered water dishes/heaters. I would prefer not to run an extension cord out to the coop for a heated water dish.

any suggestions?
Can always purchase a small portable solar panel. To run heater and lights, etc.
Rubberized bowls are nice to knock out your frozen ice block and just do it at least twice a day.
Yay!! Chickens


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DanEP

Songster
11 Years
May 15, 2010
1,027
145
246
Cadiz Ky
I live in Ky and have been using a 50 watt bird bath heater. I don't know how cold you get but I know it works fine down to about 5 degrees with no freezing at all in a 5 gallon waterer with horizontal nipples or what I am using now a cooler with the bird bath heater and a low watt fountain pump feeding a 3' pvc pipe with nipples. The pump feeds warm water thru the pipe and keeps the nipples from freezing. The pump is low wattage 8 watts so the pump and heater use about the same power as a light bulb. Having a cooler as my main tank helps and I can do around 7 gallons of water with no problem, small cooler.
 

R2elk

*
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Feb 24, 2013
36,549
181,590
1,661
Natrona County, Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
I live in NE with 3 chickens. I am concerned about their water freezing during the day when I can't do anything about it. I don't get home from work until the chickens are already in bed. I though about putting the water inside the eglu with a heating pad under it or something like that. I can't find any solar powered water dishes/heaters. I would prefer not to run an extension cord out to the coop for a heated water dish.

any suggestions?

Alternate method to prevent water freezing.

 

gtaus

Free Ranging
Mar 29, 2019
3,234
12,416
657
Northern Minnesota
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My Coop
I sometimes wish I could do that. However, my chickens are my pets. I keep them even when they stop laying.

I am trying to avoid the chickens as pet trap. If people want chickens as pets, then good for them. My intent was to buy chickens to make compost for my garden and get eggs as a bonus. Of course, I just enjoy having chickens. But I don't want to consider them pets.
 

gtaus

Free Ranging
Mar 29, 2019
3,234
12,416
657
Northern Minnesota
My Coop
My Coop
Can always purchase a small portable solar panel. To run heater and lights, etc.
Rubberized bowls are nice to knock out your frozen ice block and just do it at least twice a day.

I have 3 of those rubberized pans, made for livestock. They are high quality. Yes, you can knock out your frozen ice block and refill the pan. But where I live, the water will be frozen in almost no time when we hit those -25F and colder temps. Also, I am not so fond of toting water out to the chicken coop twice a day because it is freezing so fast. I think my best decision was to buy a 3 gallon metal chicken fount with a metal base heater. I have fresh water for my chickens 24/7 even in the dead of winter. Best yet, I only have to refill my 3 gallon waterer once about every 10 days.
 

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