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Could the fact that w feed only spent grain to our chickens make them not lay? They are free range and get scraps but we have 35 layers and get only 12-15 eggs a day. We have looked like crazy around property and no luck finding any. We closed them up for 31/2 days and got less than we were getting. So frustrated!! Any advise? We are thinking of getting some layer crumbles and see what happens.
 

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I'd call you lucky, I am down to 3 or 4 eggs a day, from about 40-45 hens.
Half of mine are 1.5 years old, the other half only about 6-7 months.
Most are finding new homes this weekend.
 

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That is an egg nearly every other day. I would think that in the fall/winter weather, this is relatively good. Has it always been like this or has it slowed down?
 

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You are feeding a diet of just distillers grain? That's not going to cut it. The amino acid balance in DDG varies quite a bit, lysine, methionine are essential for egg layers.

If there is corn in there, you run the risk of concentrating mycotoxins (if contaminated before brewing). also... you will see reduced laying once you cross 25% or so of DDG in their diet. The protein content can be too high. You really need to know what is in the stuff you are feeding.

At the very least, you need to add a balanced mineral too the DDG.
 

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Up the corn and give them some lay pellets to get them through the moult, and then add about four hours of light to the henhouse. Supplement with the lay pellets or a grain mix when production resumes.

Or, just don't worry about it and start getting lots of eggs again in the spring. It's not natural for egg production to be high when daylight is decreasing. If they do lay in winter, nutrition needs to be adequate. Bugs and grass can make up for a feed mix's shortcomings in the warmer months.
 

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Adding more corn may not be the answer. If he's feeding spent corn.. the protein will already be high. too much protein = no eggs.
 

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i wouls say you should add a balanced mineral to the feed but other then that it may just be that the days are getting shorter
 

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I am having the same problem. I have 56 cinnamon Queens and am only now getting them to lay. They are all from the hatch and born in March 2014. 20% protein feed and scraps. I just put a light on them. I have tried everything from red pepper to Styrofoam and have had no change. So If you come up with the answer you win the prize. Oh by the way this is happening to several other folks I know with small flocks.
 

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I am feeding mine a balanced Non GMO layer mix, from Ashland feed in VA.
When they are molting I add black oil sunflower seeds and a little corn oil to their feed.
I get eggs through the winter with no extra light, from my Golden Comets, RIR, Orps and Welsummers.
My Speckled Sussexs aren't the best layers, some slow down a lot or stop during the winter.
 

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I am feeding mine a balanced Non GMO layer mix, from Ashland feed in VA.
When they are molting I add black oil sunflower seeds and a little corn oil to their feed.
I get eggs through the winter with no extra light, from my Golden Comets, RIR, Orps and Welsummers.
My Speckled Sussexs aren't the best layers, some slow down a lot or stop during the winter.
From you first year layers or your older birds?
 

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I am having the same problem. I have 56 cinnamon Queens and am only now getting them to lay. They are all from the hatch and born in March 2014. 20% protein feed and scraps. I just put a light on them. I have tried everything from red pepper to Styrofoam and have had no change. So If you come up with the answer you win the prize. Oh by the way this is happening to several other folks I know with small flocks.

You have been feeding them too high a protein, they should have started laying in Aug/Sept. Move them onto a balanced layer feed, don't forget the oyster shell, lime or other calcium source.
 

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I have hens in their first year- hatched between jan and may.
A friend told me in her years as a leader in FFA and attending seminars on chicken biology, ect, she learned that those hens who are hatched later- I think she said around march or April, will sometimes not lay their first year.

I'm having difficulty with mine and many were hatched April thru June!

I have lights on mine now.

Anyone hear of this?
 

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Hens react to many things. The lowering light levels and the outside temps affect egg production, as does the age of the bird. Also the molt, stressers like high heat or roaming predators. Some hens lay better when there's a rooster around, but you have to be where the noise is no bother, and you may get unexpected batches of chicks if a hen hides eggs and sets them. I give my birds all the kitchen scraps and egg shells right back, but no fat or meat, only because the smell is very attractive to predators. l
 

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I have hens in their first year- hatched between jan and may.
A friend told me in her years as a leader in FFA and attending seminars on chicken biology, ect, she learned that those hens who are hatched later- I think she said around march or April, will sometimes not lay their first year.

I'm having difficulty with mine and many were hatched April thru June!

I have lights on mine now.

Anyone hear of this?

Nope never heard of that...
 

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Just living Life
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I have hens in their first year- hatched between jan and may.
A friend told me in her years as a leader in FFA and attending seminars on chicken biology, ect, she learned that those hens who are hatched later- I think she said around march or April, will sometimes not lay their first year.

I'm having difficulty with mine and many were hatched April thru June!

I have lights on mine now.

Anyone hear of this?
My Big hens of various breeds have always laid within the first year. Been raising chickens around 18 years.. give or take.

My Golden Comets were laying eggs at 3 months old! Some of my heritage breeds did not start laying until they were 6 months old. Rest were in between.

Now my bantams.. d'Uccles and Lavenders were hatched the end of July... they have not laid yet and most likely will not lay until spring.
 

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My experience is that my chicks generally don't lay before 6 months old. Keep in mind that I feed a mix of local grains. When I fed Layena or some other store food, they did lay MUCH earlier, but seemed to also burn out earlier. Which was fine, it's a trade off. I feed what I feed now because of cost.

The biggest 2 things that I have found are to make sure they have enough protein and light. Those of us in the north have to supplement light. Without supplementation I get 1-2 eggs every day or two. With, I can get up to a 12 a day out of 20ish laying hens, the youngest of which is 2 years old at the moment. I think, if I remember right, that hens have to have around 14 hours of daylight? We get around 8 in the winter.

Mine free range and get a mixture of wheat, barley and peas of some sort as well as scraps and old milk and whatever hay stuff they eat out of the goats' manger.

You'll just have to take a lot of these suggestions and try them til you find what works for you. Feed quality and light, breed of the birds and so many other things are dependent on where you are. Things that work for me very may not work well for you. I have found what works for me and breed my own replacements so I'm actually breeding for my management. Seems to be working so far.
 
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