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Discussion in 'Poultry' started by HDRider, Nov 21, 2017.
I had chickens 5 to6 years old laying.
Chickens will lay at 5-6 years old. Particularly the heritage breeds. Sexlinks and commercial leghorns not so much
Thing is, feed a 5-6 year old hen for the minimal amount of eggs doesn't work for some. I'll keep breeders for a long time, but culls that went to the hen house are gone by 18 months. Food for me and my family, and a spot for a pullet who will lay much better. I get a better return of Eggs vs feed cost.
I had one still laying at 14, but not very many. She would lay a dozen or so eggs, take a break for a few weeks, lay another dozen or so, another break, and so on and so on.
I am getting 2 or 3 a day 4 or 5 days a week now. I think they just needed a rest.
Was the egg shell thin, thus easily broken?
I'm surprised it was there, they usually chow down as much as they can get their little beaks on and all that's left is a wet spot.
They're probably molting....or still getting over it.
Light without a timer could throw a worse wrench into the machinery than mother nature already has.
Duration of light is important but so it consistency, any drastic changes can screw things up, and it's not like 'throwing that switch' and the eggs will come, adding light can take weeks to have an affect.
You should be able to turn a hen over and check her vent to determine if she is laying eggs or not. If they are laying but you cannot find eggs, they may be eating their eggs, a predator could be getting them or they have a hidden clutch. During times of moderate temperature and long periods of light, any hen not laying then should be soup. But during the months of darkness, without artificial light, many good hens will stop laying.
What should I be looking for, as far as checking the vent.
There isn't any place for a secret nest. They could be eating the eggs but I haven't seen any evidence or shells since about 2 weeks ago.
They have been laying well up until 2-3 weeks ago, I was getting 5 eggs every 3 days. They're jersey giants (4 of them) so they're not excellent layers.
This year I made a few newbie mistakes. I'll get a timer for the light. And I'm thinking it's time for hubby to try his hand at being the butcher very soon. I'm not running a boarding house.
start at 1:35
Super helpful!! Thanks!!
Here's another example:
Hens are laying, but something is stealing eggs!! D: grrrrr
Are they confined or free ranging?
If not confined, they could be laying somewhere besides the nest boxes.
If they are confined, it may be time to tighten up security in the coop and do some detective work.
It's late in the year for snakes to be active, but it's still possible.
They leave no signs.
Other animals usually eat the eggs there, and leave some residue in the nest even if the hens clean up the shells.
Many of the common egg eaters would also try to kill the hens.
Do you have a dog that could be doing it but not bothering the birds themselves?
Those are both very likely. I had a snake when it was warmer. There is no way to keep them away in my situation. Unfortunately the sucker got away from me.
Get some plastic mesh "deer netting".
Roll it into a loose cylinder and lay it along the coop walls near the nests.
The snakes will try to crawl through it but get stuck, and their scales prevent them from backing out.
They're confined. I've seen broken shells, outside of the boxes. I figured it was unlikely the chickens ate the eggs since the shells were in the yard and not in or near the boxes...?
There has been skunk activity so I'm thinking likely that's what's getting in there. I saw a spot that looked dug so I put something over it, I'll get some bricks in that spot. And I'm gonna need to get a trap.
So if I do catch a skunk..... WHAT do I do with it?
Netting is a good idea, I have some bird net around here so I'll try that too.
Younger hens lay more winter eggs than older ones do. For instance, I do not bother with lights any longer, and last winter I got about 1 egg per week from my 4 older hens. I bought chicks last spring and yesterday I got 5 eggs from my 4 pullets and 2 old hens. (I lost 2 old hens last summer from natural causes: some kind of illness I think).
You can stop the skunk from digging it's way in by putting down an "apron" around the perimeter of the fence and coop. You can usually just lay the wire flat on the ground and cover it with a little dirt or compost and grass will eventually anchor it in place.
You can attach it to the existing fence with "J clips" or hog rings, or even zip ties if needed.
If you trap a skunk you can shoot it from a distance, or throw an old blanket or towel over the trap and drop the whole thing in a large container of water to drown it.
Trying to release them is never a good idea.
Thanks so much BFF, will get on that this weekend!