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Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by speckledhen, Nov 23, 2010.
We switched our girls to layer pellets around the same age, and they are egg laying machines. I thought for sure they would slow down now that it is cold and the sun goes down almost after it comes up, but they seem to be doing fine. We have 13 girls and a roo, and we get 6-8 a day. I have friends who have more hens, feed the same, house them the same and they get less than us. They dont have a huge run, try to let them free range on the weekends (during the week its dark when we get home). Doesnt make sense to me why some under the same conditions lay more or less. (of course except for the differant breeds.)
One other note...we have found that we have a guilty girl (hopefully only one) that eats the eggs. We dont know which one, but on a handful of occasions we have found small hints of what was dinner. Thats not a good thing. We dont know if its because the egg cracks or breaks and then they eat it (shell and all) or they are breaking it. I hope its the first. Who knows how many more eggs I would have out there.
My EE stopped laying all of a sudden...she is 25 weeks old approximately and laid her first egg at 22 weeks...She was doing almost every day OR every other day and now hasn't laid any for the past 5 days I would say....I am assuming that it is cause the days are shortened....Does that sound right?
Quote:I've had all my EEs stop laying with the exception of one. Today was the first day I got three eggs from 6 EEs. Part of it was the cold (it changed from 40F to below zero for several days) and the darkness. I have lights on 24/7 and it has warmed up a bit, which seems to improve their laying.
I've had all my EEs stop laying with the exception of one. Today was the first day I got three eggs from 6 EEs. Part of it was the cold (it changed from 40F to below zero for several days) and the darkness. I have lights on 24/7 and it has warmed up a bit, which seems to improve their laying.
I'm a newbie & a friend told me that his mother's hens slow down egg production when its cold. I assuming from the post above that this may be the case with my RIR. I have 38 chickens, but only 3 hens have started laying. I got my first egg on July 13 when my they were about 4 1/2 months (18 weeks). They've been laying 2-3 eggs every day since then. About about 3 weeks ago it slowed to 1 egg a day. At this point, I turned the light (its flourescent so there's not heat) on in the coop, and keep it on 24/7 and now I have not gotten any eggs in 4 days. Also, I have 6 additional hens (3 Barred Rocks & 3 Red Stars) who are now 5 months old and they have not started laying.
I do have a light on and am trying to extend the daylight hours for them, but no heat source in the coop. Would cold weather be a factor? Should I put some type of heat source in the coop? My coop is my garden shed converted to a coop and is 10' x 12'.
Quote:I think a lot is stress due to cold and other factors. I've upped the amount of scratch with my girls and from what everyone tells me, cracked corn and scratch is good in the winter. They're eating like pigs. I think -- and I may be wrong with this -- that you really need to keep the lights on a schedule or all the time. I've resorted to all the time because, by golly, we haven't had much natural light.
My girls are finally getting used to the weather. We're at 34F today but we're getting snow too. So, they've decided (hopefully) 34F isn't as bad as -11F. Would heat help? I don't know. You can try it and let me know.
It's completely natural for hens to stop, or almost stop, laying entirely this time of year with shorter days and colder temps. The heat of summer can also slow them down. When they molt, it takes lots of protein to grow feathers so they quit laying for a time. That is where the "hens are not vending machines" comes into play. They truly need breaks or they are more likely to die early from reproductive malfunctions, IMO. Commercial operations push theirs to the limit and discard them at under two years old, usually. If you want them to stick around longer, probably best not to push them beyond their natural rhythms--I realize many disagree with me and some have a different outlook than I do, but they probably haven't seen one after another die from internal laying/egg peritonitis as I have. It's heartbreaking. I have girls who are five years old still laying at a very reduced rate, after an extended molting period, but two eggs per week from a hen may not thrill some folks. I'm just happy those girls are okay and as long as they are laying an egg on occasion, I know their bodies are working correctly. Mine are not a business, however; they're a hobby and most are just pets. I would do things differently if I depended on them for income.
If you just want them to lay like gangbusters for two years then get rid of them, that's where extra lighting comes in. And in places like Alaska, you'd have to add light for much of the year, though, so it depends on several factors, whether or not you add light and for how long. Some think it doesn't make a difference for their health one way or another and maybe they're right--I just don't like to push mine, for obvious reasons.
Could it be that I have too many roosters for my hens. I have 19 girls(hens) and 6 boys(roosters), hatched in June and just last week was the first time I got a pullet egg, now nothing this week. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks Chickmom
No. It's the time of the year and the age of your pullets. My EEs didn't even begin to lay until 26 weeks and that was during the summer. Winter messes with their laying.