Backyard Farming Forum

Egg laying confusion
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Author:  dusky_flathead [ Sun Jul 13, 2014 6:02 am ]
Post subject:  Egg laying confusion

3 months ago I purchased 4 hens - 2 x Pure bred (1 x Araucana and 1 x Australorp Bantam) and 2 x Hybrid (1 x Australorp and 1 x White leghorn). All were bought at point of lay except for the Araucana which was 12 months old.

I was told at the time of purchase that the pure bred chooks wouldn't lay until the weather warmed up again, around Spring time. I was also told that the hybrids would lay all through Winter. Well that couldn't be further from the truth! The only bird to lay has been the little Australorp Bantam...... which is exactly the opposite to what we were told would happen.

Can anyone shed some light onto why this may be the case? They have a very nice run and safe quarters to live in. They are fed an organic laying grain mix supplemented with grubs, vegie scraps, and green leafy veg such as kale and collard. They all appear to be happy and healthy so I am at a loss as to why the hybrids are not laying.

These are the first chooks I've had so i'm wondering if there's something I'm doing wrong.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

Author:  Charlie [ Sun Jul 13, 2014 8:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Egg laying confusion

Im yet to get chooks so others will be more helpful but can you tell for sure that they are 'point of lay'?, maybe pics of them will help.

Author:  Bender [ Sun Jul 13, 2014 12:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Egg laying confusion

It's very normal for chickens not to lay this time of year. They need 16 hours of daylight to produce an egg. As the day length increases over the next few weeks chickens should come back into lay. Usually the cooler winter months is a chance for them to moult (grow new feathers)

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Author:  Burnsy [ Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Egg laying confusion

YOu ned to also woatch your protein intake. It should be around 16%, some layer pellets are only 12% and if your kitchen scraps are mostly vegies and bread it won't help.

My ladies (8 of) get kitchen scraps daily and have a large run. However, I find that this time of year there is a noticable decrease in egg production the day after they have had a huge lot of kitchen scraps without any meat content or the day after they have been out in a new area with heaps of grass to free range for the day. I think they fill up on the low protein stuff and don't eat many pellets those days. I am consistently getting six eggs a day from the 8 girls but this will drop as low as two for a day or so after they have been fed up on vegetable matter.

Bare in mind wheat and corn is only 10-12% so if you are feeding grains you need to get the mix right. Crushed peas or lupins are around 30% so you need these to boost the others.

Author:  MattyR [ Mon Jul 28, 2014 12:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Egg laying confusion

While I agree with the above that over time all your birds may begin laying I am wondering if the Methionine content of their diet is adequate. Most grains are only moderate in Methionine and as poultry can not synthesize this themselves it is usually added to their feed. A photo of the feed analysis and birds crops would help.

Author:  Charlie [ Wed Oct 22, 2014 12:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Egg laying confusion

Our chooks are approx 32 weeks old now and have been laying since about the 24 week mark. We have 2 australorp and 1 lohmann.

I built 3 nest boxes to see how it all played out, the Lohmann starting laying first and I was worried that the two black were not the age as advertised but about a week or 2 after they started laying too.

The thing is they all lay in the same nest box. I have read this is fairly normal so thats ok but now it has reached a stage where I think the brown one is bossing the black ones and not letting them lay.

Heres whats strange..

Last week I started the free ranging, so I let them out of the coop around lunch time and they forage all afternoon around an acre or so area and then I put them back in before dinner time. Thats all fine but what Ive noticed is maybe an hour or two after I let them all out the black ones take turns going back into the coop, find the nest box and lay an egg. When the brown one sees this she runs over and makes a fuss about the whole thing.

I suppose she is claiming the nest box as her own but if I leave all the chooks in the coop they all end up laying in the same nest box anyways so she can't be bugging them too much.

Anyways I know its not a huge problem but what are others thoughts?

Author:  Ccbear [ Thu Oct 23, 2014 6:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Egg laying confusion

I had eight at one stage charlie and they all wanted the one box. Had three built but would come in and find two chooks in the one box. They settled on using two boxes but never the third. There is always a boss hen and if your brown one was laying first she has that spot at the moment. Would watch the brown as she may become clucky and is going back to ensure her egg is ok.

Author:  Charlie [ Thu Oct 23, 2014 8:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Egg laying confusion

Cheers Bear, that seems to be the case here. What Ive found is when I let them all out to free range, the others go back and lay their eggs when ready so I suppose it isn't too much of an issue at this stage. Ill keep an eye on the brown. Is there a remedy for a clucky hen? Or should I not worry too much?

Author:  Ccbear [ Thu Oct 23, 2014 9:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Egg laying confusion

Mine use to lay at different times so I do not let them out to late in the afternoon. As long as they go back in I would not worry, once I found about 20 eggs under my arrow root and by hell they smelt when broken.

As for a clucky hen there are two things you can do once they start sitting, one find someone with fertile eggs and replace hers. This way you can have her rear the chicks which you can then have as meat chooks but you do lose a egg layer for awhile.

Two, I have a shopping trolly with the wheels cut of and the top covered with wire hanging from the wall of the chook shed. Use the bird feed containers which hang on the side for food and water. The idea is to make them uncomfortable for about 10 days and they will stop being clucky. If not they will keep sitting on the eggs for up to a month and most likely be clucky again soon after. Will take a photo tomorrow of the clucky cage although I have not used it for a few years. Cheerd

Author:  Bender [ Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Egg laying confusion

Mine also all lay in the same box and make a big commotion when someone else is laying an egg. I think they do it so their eggs have a high chance of being hatched out. It's a survival tactic.

I agree with ccbears advice on broodies. They need to be separated to a 'sin bin' to de-brood or given fertile eggs to hatch. My chooks usually take about 3 days in the sin bin to de brood

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Author:  Charlie [ Fri Oct 24, 2014 2:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Egg laying confusion

Cool, thanks guys.

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