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I don't know what the problem is. They've been getting plenty of water and fermented bird feed. They are in a tractor and get moved a couple of times a week. Could it be a lack of protein? Any frugal ways to get them protein??
 

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I am assuming there are no physical problems, infestations, disease, etc. since you didn't say so. Barring any other problems, if you have them over fresh grassy areas every couple of days, they should be getting protein from bugs, worms, etc.

If they were laying alright before, the problem might be the shorter days and have nothing to do with protein. Chickens will reduce laying with shorter days (and, colder weather). They need about 14 hours of sunlight to lay at the rate they do during the summer. My 12 hens have gone from about 11-12 eggs per day to 4-5 eggs per day in just the past few weeks. You can keep their egg production up by keeping a light in the coop and setting it to come on early and stay on until late...so they get their 14 hours. It's thought nature built this into them before they were domesticated. When they were on their own, the winters came and food was in short supply, they needed the nutrition to survive the winter, so egg production was greatly decreased. With the care they get today, artificially creating "day light" is generally accepted not to do them any harm as long as they are receiving proper nutrition.
 

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Incomplete information .... how old are these chickens? Laying before then stopped? whats in the bird feed (commercial?) have they been on this feed for a while, or is it a new thing for them? any predators or changes to their environment lately?
 

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Lights is a must to keep em laying it is always best to turn them on real early and let them roost with the dusk as they normally would. This way they can find there way to the roost easy and not bang there heads and feet to bad trying to find it in the sudden dark.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
We're in Florida so the weather isn't much of an issue. Nothing is new, they were laying fine on the feed, went into "molt" like they do every year (I keep a mix of birds between the ages of 1 and 2 years), started laying again and then stopped about a month ago. They usually lay year round with a break around August (molt) and January (cold weather). I'm going to see if moving them more often helps.
 

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It's the lack of daylight, or rather the profusion of darkness. Temperature has little to do with it.

First year layers can sometimes lay thru the dark season, older hens not so much if at all.

You can use supplemental lighting or go without eggs until after the days start getting longer again. Older layers need 14-16 hours of light to lay regularly thru winter. Last winter I used a 40 watt incandescent light(this year I am using a CFL) that comes on early in the morning to provide 14-15 hours of light and they go to roost with the natural sundown. Last year I started the lighting increase a bit late(mid October), the light should be increased slowly, and the pullets didn't start laying until late December. Here's pretty good article on supplemental lighting. Some folks think that using lighting shortens the years a hen will lay, I don't agree with that theory but I also plan to cull my older hens for soup at about 3 years old.
 

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Does anybody know of an inexpensive battery-powered light that runs on a timer? Say, to set it to come on at a specific time, and stay on for 2 hours or so until the sun comes up? A link to such a product would be awesome.
 

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Does anybody know of an inexpensive battery-powered light that runs on a timer? Say, to set it to come on at a specific time, and stay on for 2 hours or so until the sun comes up? A link to such a product would be awesome.
Don't know of any i would go to petsmart and get the power strip that has a timer people usually use it for fish aquariums to run the filter skimmer etc. Then go to tractor supply and get a brooder lamp and just put a reguler bulb in there that would probably work!
 

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Mine slowed way down on laying and acted skittish for a couple of week and i could not figure them out. Till i found a 4 ft snake with a egg in it .I got rid of the snake now i get more eggs than before.I know you have snakes galore down their.:D
 
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