What is too many treats?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by elizabethbinary, Dec 31, 2010.

  1. elizabethbinary

    elizabethbinary Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    I've seen people posting about how too many treats can hinder egg laying. We've had some storms but with my amount of hens I should be getting at least 9-12 eggs a day, not the 3-5 I've been getting. (It's Summer here, by the way).

    So I wonder if it's my treats...

    I give them (all of them) a 5L bucket of scraps from the kitchen about every day (and two loosely packed buckets on Tuesday, when my new f/v delivery comes in). It's not packed so it's variable the weight of it. It has virtually no grains in it as we don't really eat much bread or anything - so at most they get leftover quinoa, lentils, fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds etc. In addition to the organic layer mash/pellet mix we have. I have some amount of chickens between 20-30 and 7 ducks and 2 geese plus all the little 'uns running around... so a 5L bucket of scraps doesn't seem that bad??? It's usually gone within minutes.

    Once in awhile I buy them mealworms or chickweed and sometimes the CSA sends me a box of scraps, which just tend to usually be celery leaves.

    I have an open compost as well, so sometimes they get a high-flying worm out of it.

    Can't imagine that's effecting their laying, but possibly... is that too many treats?

    Edit: Sorry 5L is little over a gallon, for those non-converts.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2010
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Are your birds free ranging or confined to a run?
     
  3. elizabethbinary

    elizabethbinary Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Freerange, so I'm sure they pick up even more things in the ground. [​IMG]
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I am not familiar with quality of you local forage base. When I think of Australia semi-arid comes to mind. If so, then like here your forage base may collapse (be over harvested) and the poultry may not be compensating by increasing foraging range. My flock is now of a size where they can depleat the local grasshopper (and other insects) population which likely supported a good 1/4 of their daily consumption. I could respond by any combination of followiing: upping quality / quantity of feed applications, mowing pathways to promote foraging chickens and insects to interact more in areas where chickens did not before, or reduce flock size.

    Plant forages drying out can also reduce avaliability of some nutrients needed for egg production even though more than adequate for maintenance.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2010
  5. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    Is it possible for you to confine them for a couple of days? Do they have a large enough coop or pen/run to do that? That would force them to lay all their eggs in one place, where you could count them. Then you'd know how many eggs they're laying a day for sure, in case they're laying out on the property, instead of in their coop. Sometimes, chickens are so good at hiding their nests that people miss them, even when they've looked all over. Once night falls, then predators can eat them, eliminating the evidence.

    Even during the day, eggs can be eaten by snakes or other egg predators.

    If it's really hot now, that can also slow down laying in chickens.
     
  6. elizabethbinary

    elizabethbinary Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    I live in Suburbia so laying in a place I don't know is rather difficult for them, as there's only so many places to lay.

    They are given as much pellets/mash as they want and it's in a large feeder so I know they're not underfed at all. My feed quality is quite high, as well - I buy the best.

    The plants here are good, lots of rains so all the lillipilli trees have berries and I see the girls jumping for them all day. [​IMG]

    It's not super hot but there's been a LOT of heavy rains - would that do it? It just brightened up the last couple days.

    So none of you think it's the treats? That's good to know. Something else then.... probably just chickens being chickens.

    I check for eggs 3-4 times a day and we don't have snakes in this area.

    I did, however, put some eggs in an area that was new and suddenly got a couple more eggs today than normal... I wonder if they just didn't want to lay in their usual spot because even though it's a 6-nest box, it has a clucky duck and a clucky Araucana in it right now.

    Thank you so much for all the advice and help!
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2010

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