When Do You Take Eggs and To What Effect?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by VintageLilFarm, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. VintageLilFarm

    VintageLilFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 30, 2012
    The Great Northwest
    I have heard that if you take an egg sooner rather than later, it helps them lay more and helps prevent them from being broody. Do you all watch your coop all day? Maybe it's because mine are just starting to lay again, but sometimes they will lay clear up until 3pm. I enjoy going out and checking but is it something I need to be concerned about if I am gone?

    Their numbers of laid eggs was steadily increasing and I was up to nine per day for close to a week. I had to be gone all day and overnight one night almost a week ago. I left extra food and water to compensate, and they just had to stay in their coop, which they seem to like. But they are used to free ranging all day and just being in the coop at night. There were 9 eggs for two days the day I got back (-9) , the next day only 3 (-6), and five per day since (-12). Is this because I did not collect the eggs in a timely manner? Because they were in the coop all day? Ideas? I'm trying to get their numbers back up...
     
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    It takes a hen around 25 hours to produce an egg and some breeds just lay more frequently than others. You can encourage them with food, extra light etc, but how often you collect the eggs won't make a difference. It MAY encourage broodiness, it's worked with my hens and I've heard of other people catching broodies by leaving eggs for them, but that takes time and patience. If you collect the eggs frequently it's unlikely they'll go broody because they see eggs in the boxes.
    I think the reason your hens' egg production dropped is because they were cooped up for the day. I've had the same thing happen when we had a predator situation and I didn't let the hens out for a few days. Their egg production dropped and they didn't lay properly for quite awhile. We joked and said they were mad at us for not letting them out. Hens are funny creatures and lots of things, like changes in their routine, the weather, the pecking order... will make them lay less.
     
  3. VintageLilFarm

    VintageLilFarm Out Of The Brooder

    63
    3
    43
    Dec 30, 2012
    The Great Northwest
    Thank you Sumi, that helps, and is what I suspected. Stubborn things though, taking at least a week to get back up to "speed"... Goodness sakes. I hope I can find someone to close them in for me at night once in awhile so I can get away for a night every now and again.
     
  4. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    When we moved I gave my remaining chickens (28 of them) to a friend of mine. I phoned him a few days ago and he told me they had a snake in the coop and though, thankfully(!!) no-one got killed, he didn't get a single egg from them for 2 weeks. I've been reading about chickens and egg laying and came to the conclusion that because hens lay eggs so they can reproduce, if conditions are not ideal for chicks, they won't lay. Though there are exceptions and this is not set in stone, generally this does make sense. Like with the snake incident, danger: not good time for chicks. It's irritating for us who has to feed them for no return, but from their point of view it's nature and they do what makes sense to them. And unfortunately even small things like not letting them out for a day can mess them around and stress them.

    Have you thought of putting in an automatic pop door on your coop. This will really free you up in the evenings! With these short days we've been having and me rushing home in the afternoons to close chickens up I've been considering this myself. Here's a good thread on how to fit a DIY one. Seems pretty straight forward:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/717940/my-diy-automatic-chicken-pop-door-opener-closer
     

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