What going on with my hens?

Discussion in 'Nutrition - Sponsored by Purina Poultry' started by mirandok, Nov 20, 2014.

  1. mirandok

    mirandok Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    22
    Jan 14, 2014
    Arizona
    I have around 150 chickens that I free range on my 2 areas. They have been giving me about 2 dozen eggs a day all summer long. I recently switched over to a organic non GMO/Soy feed at double the cost of my old layer pellets. Since then my eggs rate has reduced greatly, It is down to 8 or 9 a day. I live in AZ and we don't go on day light saving time so I thought it was due to less day light but now I am wondering if it is the feed. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Scooter&Suzie

    Scooter&Suzie Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,505
    25
    201
    Jun 23, 2011
    Pennsylvania
    Are they molting? This is about the time many chickens are molting so they are stopping/slowing down. If you think it could be the feed, you could always switch back to the old feed and see if that makes a difference. Or you could just give it a month and see if they start back up again. Or sometimes if the weather gets colder/less day light they do slow down. You could also try sticking a lamp in their coop in the morning with a timer to add day light and see if that solves it.
     
  3. secollis

    secollis New Egg

    2
    0
    7
    Nov 24, 2014
    I am having the same problem. Mine aren't laying at all and I don't know why. I'm in TN so it's not super cold
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,686
    2,625
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    @mirandok
    @secollis

    How old are your chickens? What breeds?

    mirandok, when did you switch feeds? 2 doz eggs from 150 birds in summer is a terrible rate of lay. Are you sure there aren't a bunch of hidden nests on that 2 acres?

    secollis, what are you feeding?
     
  5. mirandok

    mirandok Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    22
    Jan 14, 2014
    Arizona
    I have looked at every possible hidden location on my land and haven't found any. I think my hens are just old and at the end of their laying age. WE rehome chickens so I guess I got chickens that people just wanted to get rid of. OH WELL, they will still live out their lives here.
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,686
    2,625
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    So you don't know how old they are?
     
  7. mirandok

    mirandok Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    22
    Jan 14, 2014
    Arizona
    no not all of them
     
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,686
    2,625
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    If that's your position, you'll probably be blessed with eggs come spring.
     
  9. Sadie57

    Sadie57 Out Of The Brooder

    47
    0
    32
    Nov 25, 2009
    Southern TN.
    I, too, am in Tn. and aside from turning the lamp on a couple nights, it isn't really cold. BUT, my Bantam hens haven't laid in weeks. My two EE give me an egg every day. They free range several hrs a day, but am wondering if the 22% feed I'm giving them is too high for the Bantams. Or perhaps, because I have a couple 8 wk. olds in the coop, they are just eating the growth food? Don't want to think they are laying in the woods, because they have always used the nesting boxes before. They don't get many food scraps.
     
  10. DrMikelleRoeder

    DrMikelleRoeder Chillin' With My Peeps

    132
    7
    50
    Nov 3, 2014
    Not going on daylight savings time does not change the actual hours of daylight that your birds are exposed to, but decreasing day length without supplemental light could certainly be a factor. The problem could be a combination of the new feed and change in day length. These two stressors done at the same time could certainly be a cause for reduced egg production. You can start supplying extra light to make sure that your birds have 16 hours light and 8 hours dark, but the ones that have quit laying may not start up again until spring, even with supplemental light. I will comment that two dozen eggs from 150 chickens is a rather low rate of lay to begin with. You don’t specify if all of them are of laying age, but if they are, you may want to reassess your feeding/management program if egg production is a priority.

    Is the new feed you are feeding a complete feed and if so, is it formulated for layers? If your new feed is not a true complete feed, your hens could be missing out on some essential amino acids, vitamins and trace minerals that they were receiving with the previous diet. Another thing to consider is the protein source. Soybean meal has the best amino acid profile of all the plant proteins. Since your new feed does not use soybean meal, the amino acid profile may not be as optimal as needed to support a high level of egg production. Additionally, evaluate the physical form of your feed. If your new feed is a mash, as many organic products are, it could be that some ingredients are settling to the bottom of the bag or feeder, so your birds may not be getting a nutritionally complete meal, even if the feed is formulated to be complete. Mash products often are not eaten as well as crumbles or pellets simply because the bird has to work harder at it. Your birds may be eating less feed than previously and doing more foraging, which would reduce the amounts of critical nutrients they are receiving.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by