When do I admit defeat?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Wynbreaker, Oct 11, 2016.

  1. Wynbreaker

    Wynbreaker Out Of The Brooder

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    I got my girls in late summer 2014 and they bloomed to great producers by winter of 2015. Their first laying year they did great then last winter it dwindled. Now I get two eggs sometimes every other day out of my 12 girls.

    All my girls look great. No bugs, no injuries, clean coup, warm coup, well drafted coup, cool coup: NO predators, no dogs, no cats. I've tried electrolytes in their water, high protein food, change of scratch, more calcium, heat when its cold, no heat when its cold, changed nesting boxes, sprayed on stress relief spray; I've tried less scrapes, more scrapes, more free range days, to no more free range days (they give me no eggs on free range days and then for days after no eggs), changed resting poles to help with pecking order. I've made these changes spaced out. I'd try something for a couple-few weeks then try something else. Obviously some changes stuck around like nesting box changes and resting poles. These last 10 months have been draining our desire to have chickens, and they did so so well their first year which is what has gotten me saying, WHAT the Flock?

    Side bar, early this summer I added six chicks but by then the reduction in eggs had already gone to two-three every other day for about four months. Out of the six chicks we ended up butchering 3 roosters late summer. We get 2 eggs a day now from the three new girls. Not sure who is laying when. Been about three months since we removed the roosters, still no change in the older girls.

    When do I throw in the towel and admit defeat? If I don't figure it out quick, hubby is sharpening his knife.
     
  2. Flock Master64

    Flock Master64 Overrun With Chickens

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    Do you give them layer feed?
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2016
  3. Wynbreaker

    Wynbreaker Out Of The Brooder

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    So you mean layer feed? Yes
    If you mean later feed, I haven't heard of that.
     
  4. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What breeds? Some production breeds and hybrids do lay well the first season then drop off dramatically.
     
  5. Spartan22

    Spartan22 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hope There's no defeat! We got our chickens almost the same time w/ yours spring'14, out of 7 layers we get 5-7 eggs in 2014,2015 and till August 2016. Now we get 2-3 from same hens daily mostly from 2 leghorns almost none from barred rocks & Wyandottes. I've read that 2nd and 3rd year of laying goes down in production successively. Reason we added more chicks in 2015 whose now some in full molt since they're over 18 months old therefore less eggs till they got over their first annual molt, which I've anticipated. In spring 2016 I've added my 3rd batch of layers who are the ones giving me 10 eggs a day all the way to spring 2017.

    So we have multi generations (1st, 2nd and third) living together for constant supply of eggs. I'll be retiring some of my 2014 hens before winter since they're almost 3 years old I've done this by design out of learning from experienced chicken keepers that older hens will not be feasible with feed/egg ratio since I've spent almost a grand on their chicken Taj Mahal, they need to be able to pay for their board & lodging even though they are beautiful & healthy but I might do some exceptions depends on their spot in my heart [​IMG].
     
  6. Little Fuzzy

    Little Fuzzy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What breed are they?
     
  7. Little Fuzzy

    Little Fuzzy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Gee a grand , I wish, I spent about 3 grand.
     
  8. Spartan22

    Spartan22 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ha ha ha, did you build it yourself? I went bargain shopping for every part of my coop. Between online stores, Home Depot, Lowes, local hardware stores & friends left over lumber and shingles. Took me 2 months to build on weekends other wise if I spend more wife will kick me out. LOL
     
  9. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Really if you want eggs, and reasonable production, then you need to add and cull every year (every year you don't get hit by predators) If I had 12 hens, I would want no more than 2-3 hens to be coming 3 years old, 2-3 hens to be coming 2 years old, and 6 hens to be coming a year old all in the spring, at this time of year. Generally those pullets should lay smaller eggs, but all through the dark days of winter. While the older birds will take some time off, but then should lay well in the spring, nice large eggs.

    Those are hypothetical plans, but you just are not going to get a lot of eggs from older birds, especially going into winter. You might get a few more eggs if you add lighting. I did not see that mentioned in the list you had tried. But mostly I am with the hubby, get the non layers out, and replace with new.

    Mrs K
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    This^^^^^

    This too^^^ ...and some breeds just don't lay a ton of eggs, ever.


    Yeah, they don't all just keep laying every day all year long....unless you get high production breeds and use lighting in winter.
    Quoting centrarchid:
    "Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."


    You might also look at their diet and keep the protein up at about 18-20% after calculating other foods.

    I like to feed a flock raiser/grower/finisher 20% protein crumble full time to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat. I do grind up the crumbles (in the blender) for the chicks for the first week or so.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer. I adjust the amounts of other feeds to get the protein levels desired with varying situations.

    Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    Animal protein (mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided during molting and if I see any feather eating.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2016

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