Yet another "Why aren't my hens laying" thread...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by KC Rob, Jul 29, 2016.

  1. KC Rob

    KC Rob Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 29, 2015
    I know this question gets asked all the time, and I have been doing some research (no I didn't read all 91 pages of the sticky!) but I would like to get some knowledge from the rest of the flock on my issue.

    I have 19 laying hens (and 13 pullets that are near POL). I added a large group of BSL's that I had breed and hatched from my flock (crossed a RIR roo with Barred Rock hens) earlier in the year and when they matured and started laying I was getting around 15 eggs a day. I even had several 18 egg days and one perfect 19 egg day so I know all where laying. Around 2 months ago, production started to drop and I was hovering around 12 eggs a day. That has slowly declined and I was getting 8-9 eggs a day. Now, over the last 2 weeks I have been averaging 5 eggs a day. One of my BSL's started acting a little weird, so I separated her from the flock and she is in a smaller coop with a pullet (who herself was separated because she was being picked on) and she has not laid an egg in the 2 weeks she has been isolated. The only hens that I am sure are still pulling their weight are my two leghorns because I get 1-2 white eggs everyday (usually 2).

    I have read that is could be caused by molting, stress, worms, some other illness, lack of food/water, they are on strike for $15 dollars an hour minimum wage, the heat, fleas, or a combination of all of the above!

    I am at a loss for where to start to resolve this so I would like some suggestions/direction from the knowledgeable folks on the forum. It has been very hot here in western MO, but this past week has been milder and their production went down! They are fed and watered adequately. They free range, they get table scraps (left over veggies, melon rinds, etc.) and have free access layer crumbles. I also scatter layer feed and other scratch grains at least once a day. I don't think this is a feed issue, this is the same way I have always fed them. Some of them are losing feathers, in fact some of the hens have bare backs/heads. I thought this was from the rooster pecking and clawing when he mounted them. Not all of them look that way though so I don't know if this is molting. I have 3 barred rocks that are over 2 years old, could they be slowing down? Even if they are, why are the other 16 hens not laying? I haven't wormed them recently, I am concerned about stressing them further and also not being able to eat the eggs but I also have no evidence that they have a worm issue.

    Any help on how to proceed would be greatly appreciated! If more info is needed to give advice, I will do my best to provide it. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    How old are the 19 'hens'?

    Yep, all those reasons are valid.
    Heat could be one reason, they use all that water the drink to shed heat from their bodies instead of making eggs with it..
    If they run out of water for even a couple hours it can temporarily stop laying
    Low protein could be another...layer feed is usually the 15-16% minimum.
    Daylight is waning, molting could be imminent(depending on age of birds).
    Crowding could be another. How big is your coop(feet by feet) for 32 birds?
    Do you ave good ventilation in your coop and your nests?

    Free ranging could be the culprit:
    Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop for 3-4 days can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop 24/7 for a few days to a week, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.
     

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