What am I doing wrong? My hens are not laying!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Donna T, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. Donna T

    Donna T Hatching

    Aug 16, 2010
    I have about 25 hens and one rooster. My coop is very roomy- about 10' x 25'- with 15 nesting boxes. There is a small door that opens automatically in the afternoon and closes at dusk. Because of predators I have limited their free ranging time to just a few hours in the afternoon. There has been a lot of hawks around lately and an occasional coyote. Inside the coop there is plenty of fresh water, a hanging feeder for scratch, and a wall mounted dispenser for oyster shell and grit. I also feed lots of fruit and vegetable scraps, they especially love spinach. Is it normal for there to be more feed on the ground than in the feeder? They seem to just pick out what they like and leave the rest. I end up shoveling it out with the dirty shavings that cover the ground. Are we feeding them too much? The coop is fairly clean, has plenty of ventilation and the weather has been in the 70's and low 80's. Not at all hot. Lately we have only been getting 1 to 3 eggs a day and there is evidence that they may be eating some because when I pull up a couple of the nesting pads, there is some yolk underneath. Any suggestions? I have actually had to buy eggs for the last few months.

  2. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

    Oct 18, 2009
    How old are your hens? Had you been getting more eggs than that previously?
  3. RedRoosterFarm

    RedRoosterFarm **LOVE MY SERAMAS**

    Mar 25, 2010
    Eatonville, Washington
    yes its normal for the birds to get feed all over. Mine have it everywhere so I only feed a few cups per pen in the am and pm. Do you have plenty of padding,sawdust,wood chips in the boxes so its soft for eggs and they wont break? Maybe they are outside laying? Could be the weather too. Hang in there. im sure they will start soon.
  4. Sooner

    Sooner My kids Mom!

    Mar 22, 2009
    I notice you said a hanging feeder with scratch. If you are feeding scratch all the time, they may only be eating scatch & aren't getting enough protein. Hens are like little kids they will eat the candy (scratch) & not eat the meat (layer pellets) that they need.

    Just my thoughts but I would take any scratch out & only feed that as a treat, maybe a handful in the evenings or mornings.

    Are they in the coop all day or in the coop with access to a run?? Do they get plenty of light??
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2010
  5. Total noob, but for what it's worth...

    4 GSLs, plenty of space in coop and run...
    Share one nest box.
    Free feed crumbles (just recently bought layena pellets but haven't converted totally yet)
    Free feed grit
    Free feed calcium
    Plenty of water
    Coop is shady but for a few choice spots that get good sun.
    All are the same age.
    None are molting at this time

    With those tidbits, we're getting 3 a day, and have been since 2 weeks from the first egg. Twice we've gotten two with four following the next day, and one double yolker. I think I've got a hold out. Chickens, just like people, are unique. Some may lay by 15 weeks, some not until six months... And some girls may lay and egg a day, others only 1-3 per week.

    Least that's what I'm telling myself when I see only 3 in the box. [​IMG]
  6. Donna T

    Donna T Hatching

    Aug 16, 2010
    Thanks for the suggestions. My hens are of different ages. I started my flock about 10 years ago with a very primitive coop. We built this new large coop about 5 years ago. I would say the average hen age is 2 years, although about half are only 9 months. They were previously laying about a dozen eggs per day. When I have a new "shipment" of chicks i sequester them until they are mature before they integrate with the others. Lately they have been cooped up all day because of the hawks- it is a big coop. I was loosing a hen every day! For the past few days I've been letting them out from 4pm to dark. So far, so good. I use wood shavings on the cement floor and add more as needed. About twice a year we completely remove all shavings and clean and disinfect. Yesterday was cleaning day. I'm sure half of the discarded shavings was food. A few years ago I ordered plastic nesting mats from McMurray Hatchery. I like them because they are soft and can be cleaned. Should I be feeding them something else? The feed stores near me only offer layers mash or scratch. They seemed to reject the mash.
  7. sunflowerenvy

    sunflowerenvy Songster

    Apr 4, 2010
    south/west tn
    see if your feeding store can order you layers pellets/ I notice when I add my chicken layers pellets in the rain gutter their food dish . they don t spill it on the floor anymore/ i fill up the gutter once day about 4[15oz] can full at night . so they can eat the food in am before i let them out into the run.

  8. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Crowing

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    The feed stores near me only offer layers mash or scratch.

    Have you asked the feed store if they will order layer pellets for you?
    The scratch is too low in protien.

    Also, if they throw feed out of the feeder, don't refill it until they eat what's on the floor​
  9. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

    May 6, 2010
    My Coop
    I agree, look for layer pellets and a way to provide them where they can't pull them out of the feeder. It sounds to me like they aren't getting enough protein. Look for ways to boost the amount of protein in their diet and I'll bet your egg production will increase.
  10. OregonChickenGal

    OregonChickenGal Songster

    Jul 26, 2010
    Central Oregon
    They need layer crumble or pellets. Just feeding scratch is not good for them.

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