Why aren't my chickens laying much eggs?

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by chicken110, Oct 9, 2015.

  1. chicken110

    chicken110 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've got almost 70 poultry birds (including 3 ducks) and yet the lay rate of late has been so poor. So far today I've gotten six eggs and I've got only six roosters in the flock. What's going on? Anyone have any advice?
     
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    What was the laying rate when it was GOOD and how long ago.. Were there any changes made recently ??? Different feed ?? At this time of year many chickens do go into molt, but I don't think all 60 of yours went all the same time. It may be based on the seasonal changes. Shorter days may be a factor.
    Wishing you best.... Lets see what others think.. [​IMG]
     
  3. Chicken Girl1

    Chicken Girl1 Loving the Autumn Weather Premium Member

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    x2 covered all things I could think of :)
     
  4. chicken110

    chicken110 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well as recently as late June/early July the rate was some 20 daily. Then as soon as I left for Iowa for a few days, it immediately declined and while has occasionally gone close to 20, mostly it's been in the range of 10-15 daily (including 1-2 duck eggs). BTW I have young birds that are 4 months old and still aren't laying. I've been giving the flock 16% layena. Is it a bad idea to give young pullets layer feed? I've heard it can damage their laying ability later on. If that happened please tell me how to fix it! I created a disaster potentially!
     
  5. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Okay, take a deep breath!

    While I agree that that ratio of eggs to chickens seems pretty low, there are a few things that might be going on. First of all, I doubt if your layer feed is causing the problem in your chicks. They are only 4 months old and depending on breed or variety that's pretty doggone early to be expecting eggs. They are really young yet. So subtract the number of 4 month old chicks from that number of 70 you mentioned and check that one off your list. I will say that with mixed flock of young pullets, roos and layers you might want to think about switching to a grower feed with oyster shell offered in a separate container. Then all of your birds can eat the same food. You haven't created a disaster. Also subtract the number of roos you have in your flock as well since they never will lay. Now is your head count still 70?

    As @cavemanrich asked, think back to remember any changes they may have had. Any predator attacks (successful or not) or sightings? Changes in the layout of their coop and/or run? Do they get any time to free range? The combination of molting, the days getting shorter, along with abrupt changes in weather patterns can affect laying - dramatically at times. Three weeks ago I was getting 17 - 22 eggs a day from my 28 layers. They've gradually slowed until today I got 5. The only change was the day length and much cooler nights, plus a massive group molt going on at the moment in my year and half old layers. My pullets are just getting a good start, so they are sometimes sporadic just because they are getting their egg assembly line in sync. So a few of them will go a few days between eggs. And you know, I'm sure, that chickens don't lay every single day of every single week.

    Have you checked them for parasites, both internally and externally? Are they in good condition? Do they have plenty of space for that many birds? Do you feed a lot of treats or try to keep it to 10% or less of their daily intake? As a rule, birds that are overfed can slow their production down. I'm not being critical at all - I'm just trying to give you lots of possibilities. How old are your older birds? Some production/hatchery birds naturally slow down after a 1.5 to 2 years old. Take your time, list any and all things that you think MIGHT be causing the change, and then eliminate them one by one until you have just a couple of possibilities. Focus there. I would be willing to bet that many of the older birds are either in or close to a full molt and are also preparing for their natural winter slowdown. And take another deep breath.
     
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  6. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    I will add that layer feed is for actively laying birds only. If you have a flock with birds at different stages of development, then feed a grower, all flock, or flock raiser type feed and supplement the laying birds with crushed oyster shell.
    Also, most breeds don't start laying until after 5 months of age. Pullets that mature in the fall can take a bit longer to reach maturity.
     
  7. chicken110

    chicken110 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    At moment its close to 70. A cochin rooster disappeared several days ago and hasn't come back. I was thinking of separating the birds that are young at the moment in a confined space so they only eat grower feed while I give layer to the older birds. I've got a good of my flock that are anywhere from a year-half to 3 or 4 years of age. So having too many older birds seems a logical explanation.
     
  8. chicken110

    chicken110 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    At what point do brahmas and jersey giants start laying? I've got six of those all pullets and are six months old now. When are they suppose to start laying?
     
  9. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    They can be slower to mature. It's not uncommon for Brahma pullets to start laying somewhere between 6 to 8 months old.
     
  10. chicken110

    chicken110 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've been feeding them layer feed for quite awhile now. Is that a bad thing?
     

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