Egg production way down
My chickens seem to be on strike. I have 6 Barred Rock hens that were laying 5 - 6 eggs per day. Three weeks ago, I added in 4 Americanas (probably really easter eggers). I am getting 1 pale blue egg every few days and maybe 10 brown eggs a weeks. This is down from almost 40 eggs per week. Is this just because of the new hens? Will they get over it? They have good quality layer pellets (same stuff they always had), fresh water, grass for treats, and they all look ok.
I can't remember if you have talked about how old they are before, but it is possible they are going into their first molt. The eggs usually stop coming before you notice the extra feathers. Younger hens don't usually get bald patches like older hens, so it can be hard at first to determine what's going on. Or, they are upset about the new hens and have been laying their eggs in places you just haven't found yet.
The older hens are about a 1 1/2 years old. Two of them do have some bald patches, but I thought that the rooster was plucking them out of meanness. I am pretty sure that they are not hiding eggs because I have looked everywhere that they can get to.
Mine are molting Celeste, only 6 or 7 eggs from the 13.
Are you feeding oyster shell and do they have access to graze because clover helps too.
They'll come out of it!!
I wanna see Picts of the lovely eggs!!
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I just put out some fresh oyster shells yesterday. They have had them pretty much all the time. They don't have free grazing, but I pick grass and clover and feed it to them. I'll try to increase the clover.
I am thinking that they may be molting. How long does it take?
Just a couple weeks! Hopefully if you keep up the good diet they will up production. Winter is coming though, try and save as many up as possible! I'm stock piling mine, wash them thoroughly and rub them with mineral oil and they will last unrefridgerated 6 to 9 months!!
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I'm sorry... there is no way I could eat a 6mo old egg, even if it WAS refrigerated!
If you put a red heat lamp in the coop, they will keep laying in Winter.
to keep hens laying and not molt, you need to add artificial lighting. a good practice is about 3 extra hrs of lighting. some do it in the evening, others in the morning. a hens system is based on the natural light of the sun. when daylight naturallly shortens, they go into a molt. so adding art. light makes them think the days are still the same length and they dont lose feathers. and their laying will stay up to par all yr long. a good method is put light on a timer.
this keeps them producing, but shortens the hens laying life dramatically. if you do let them moult, their feathers need extra protein to grow back. a good source of protein is dog food or cat food. soak it in water till soft. they absolutely love this. good source of meat proteins. which they need and dont get in their store bought laying pellets/crumbles/mashes which is generallly all vegetarian based.
My chickens LOVE dog food. When my husband feeds the dog in the evening, they run to him hoping for a handout. He tosses it out dry. The pellets aren't very big.
If artificial lights will increase their production now but decrease it over their lifetime, I might just not bother with it. We get enough eggs to meet our needs for the most part; just not enough to meet the needs of all our friends that love free eggs and never offer to buy chicken feed.
i dont blame you then. chicken feed and grain prices are going uuuupppp!!!
i keep mine laying at full throttle, b/c i sell eggs. and i have to keep up with the demand, or i lose customers. i replace my hens every yr and half. i could go longer but 2 yrs is about the maximum. they really start to cut back. with the price of feed i need everyone at maximum output.
even w/o lights on you will still get a few eggs so you should be ok. or keep a few first yr pullets on hand. they will lay pretty good the first season even without artificial lighting.
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