Ongoing Egg Problem, Help

Discussion in 'Broody Hens & Egg Laying' started by Jubjubbird, Nov 4, 2020.

  1. Jubjubbird

    Jubjubbird New Member

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    Hello. I have an ongoing problem that is frustrating me. I've had chickens for about 10 years, usually about 3-4 at a time. I live near San Francisco.

    About two years ago, my two youngish (about 2 years) hens stopped laying eggs. The other black chicken of the flock also slowed down production. I was giving them lay mash and plenty of room and sunlight. I thought it might be diet and added some mealy worms and oyster shells and then started letting them out to forage more in addition to regular feeding. Nothing helped. I went from 3 eggs a day to about 3 eggs a week. They didn't seem sick, except they would just stand and stare into space for no reason whatsoever. It was actually really eerie--they went from healthy active chickens to weird zombie chickens. They didn't seem sick otherwise.

    After a *year* of this, the two chickens that stopped laying died, one at a time. They just were dead in the coop one day. So then I just had the one black chicken, so I got two new Rhode Island Red pullets. They matured and started laying, and things seemed back on track. The black chicken was very old so I gave her away and just had the Rhode Island Reds.

    Well, now it's happening again. The Rhode Island Reds have slowed way way down on production and are just staring into space in that same zombie-chicken way. I don't know what this is! I do notice their shells on the eggs they produce are very thin, so maybe it's a mineral deficiency? Or a disease? They look healthy.

    Any help/suggestions would be most welcomed.
     
  2. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    It sounds like they're having laying issues.

    How old are the birds?

    Did they come from a hatchery?

    What we've learned over the years is that hatchery birds are bred to be high production without consideration for that will affect them in the long term. So, most quit laying by 4 and die by 5. Many even younger.
     

  3. Jubjubbird

    Jubjubbird New Member

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    Hi. Thanks for the reply. They're about a year and a half. I got them at a feedstore.

    I notice that for one of them, when she does lay, her shell is very thin.
     
  4. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    You can try helping them by adding free choice oyster shell in a separate dish. You can also try giving them a 1/2 cc of Calciboost for goats along with a D3 capsule.

    There isn't a lot that can be done to fix this issue other than spaying or there is an injection available to stop laying.
     
  5. Poultry Judge

    Poultry Judge Moderator Staff Member

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    What Robin said, start with the Calciboost, sometimes it's hard to get enough calcium into them.
     
  6. Poultry Judge

    Poultry Judge Moderator Staff Member

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    Also, they are almost one hundred percent hatchery birds.
     
  7. Jubjubbird

    Jubjubbird New Member

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    Thanks! Next time I buy birds, where do you recommend I get them?
     
  8. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    Private breeders. You'll end up spending more but you'll have healthier birds overall.

    I only had two birds from a hatchery, both died by the time they were 4 due to laying issues. The rest of my birds all came from private breeders or were hatched by me. Most lived to be 8 years and older. My 9 year old Hamburg just quit laying totally last year.
     
    Overmountain1 and Poultry Judge like this.
  9. Poultry Judge

    Poultry Judge Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, start asking around regarding breeders in your area. Just cleaner genetics maintained by folks who place their reputation on the line.
     
  10. Jubjubbird

    Jubjubbird New Member

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