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Chicken Help

 
                                                                    
Posts: 114
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA
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I have 70 chickens on a 10,000 fenced in area.
They are eating Purina Layena and laying a total of only 3 eggs a day.

Needless to say this is costing a lot of cash without much income via eggs.

The food costs about $3.00 a day!

I could really use some ideas about how to make this more productive and less expensive.

It is getting below freezing at night here in TN, USA and the plants are all dying off.
My sense too is that the chickens would like more variety in their diets.

We have stray dogs and coyotes so we have to keep them in their large pen.

Please tell me any ideas you may have?
 
                              
Posts: 123
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Campy in Nashville, Tennessee, USA wrote:
I have 70 chickens on a 10,000 fenced in area.
They are eating Purina Layena and laying a total of only 3 eggs a day.

Needless to say this is costing a lot of cash without much income via eggs.

The food costs about $3.00 a day!

I could really use some ideas about how to make this more productive and less expensive.

It is getting below freezing at night here in TN, USA and the plants are all dying off.
My sense too is that the chickens would like more variety in their diets.

We have stray dogs and coyotes so we have to keep them in their large pen.

Please tell me any ideas you may have?


huh?  70 chickens... 3 eggs a day?  That doesn't even make sense.

a 10,000 fenced area... ?
 
Jami McBride
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Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
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There are some other good posts here with good information if you do a search (using the search button at the top right of each page).

The basics to help chickens lay in the winter are as follows:

Provide a light - have it on a timer - this provides some heat as well as fooling their brains that it isn't winter.

Insulate the chicken coop - if chickens have to use their energy to stay warm you won't get many eggs.

provide deep litter - helps keep the coop cleaner and keeps the chickens emotionally happy.  First rule of zoology is habitat enrichment.

I also believe in having variered ages in a flock.  Now days people can buy 70 chicks at one time, but then all their birds are at the same stage at the same time - varied ages helps to have year round laying.

Best advise:  with all that land - get some ducks to go along with your chickens.  Certain breeds of ducks will lay more eggs than chickens, and won't require you provide all their food. 

 
Karl Teceno
Posts: 91
Location: Portland Maine
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Doesn't make sense at all. I have 5 hens and get 5 eggs (most days) Nothing is stealing the eggs... like a racoon? Even that doesn't make sense...
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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You might consider building a very deep compost pile, perhaps including wood chips to allow for aeration, and intermittently breaking into it so that chickens can have fresh bugs to eat.
 
                              
Posts: 123
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Joel Hollingsworth wrote:
You might consider building a very deep compost pile, perhaps including wood chips to allow for aeration, and intermittently breaking into it so that chickens can have fresh bugs to eat.


i did something like this recently.  i had my local tree trimming service dump a huge truckload of wood chips on my driveway.  waaaaaay more chips then I needed.  I spread the rest of the chips all through my chicken yard.  they love scratching around in it.  it's improving the soil and i think it's helped with flies.  love it.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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stalk_of_fennel wrote:
i did something like this recently.[/url]

Edit: what I had intended to say:

They might get more bugs to eat, and the manure and woodchips might become soil sooner, if they were rotated through several patches of deep bedding, and a detritovore population were allowed to build up in their absence.
 
                              
Posts: 123
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i think the msg board ate your reply.
 
                              
Posts: 16
Location: MO
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Campy in Nashville, Tennessee, USA wrote:
I have 70 chickens on a 10,000 fenced in area.
They are eating Purina Layena and laying a total of only 3 eggs a day.

Needless to say this is costing a lot of cash without much income via eggs.

My sense too is that the chickens would like more variety in their diets.

Please tell me any ideas you may have?


You are correct. I have noticed through the years that my egg production suffers with a decrease in diet variety, but not nearly as severe as your experience.

Try supplementing with kitchen scraps (oatmeal, cereal, etc.) although I know this will be a challenge with 70 chickens.


Do you give the chickens oyster shell?
 
                                                                    
Posts: 114
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA
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Somebody told me that they might be molting.
Does anyone know about that?
About 3/4 of them were born in the early summer.
 
                              
Posts: 16
Location: MO
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Generally, chickens molt when they are 2 years old. That has been my experience and Mississippi State University agrees 

http://msucares.com/poultry/management/poultry_feathers.html

But seriously, you never answered my question about calcium. Are they getting enough?
 
Karl Teceno
Posts: 91
Location: Portland Maine
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Early summer? When were they hatched?
 
                        
Posts: 508
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A couple of questions..1) are they of a slow maturing breed? Some chickens come into production much later than others but if they were only hatched in June they might not have come into stride yet.   The second question may seem silly but

2) Did you buy them as straight run hatch and are you sure they are all hens? Sexing chicks is a skill not many of us have and you might have been just very very unlucky...though by now they should be showing signs of what sex they are..
 
                                                                    
Posts: 114
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA
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We hatched them in May and June  from our hens and a "champion breeder" rooster that we purchased.

We may have some extra roosters but no more than a few.
 
                  
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Do you have any pictures of your chickens,& the pen? That might be helpful to figure out what's going on, and I just love chicken pics  as I no longer have any!!    What breed are they, or did I miss it?  Different breeds begin to lay at different ages, & there are a lot of variables that could be causing your dilemma.
 
                                                                    
Posts: 114
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA
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The rooster is a Rhode Island Red.
Hens are Delaware and Plymouth Rock.

We had been using Oyster Shells by have slacked off as of lately.

Main dietary item is Purina Layina.

Thanks for all the help so far.
 
                        
Posts: 508
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a couple  of other thoughts...one is you mention dogs and coyotes...if the chickens are fearful or stressed they may not lay     another thought is they may be laying in places you dont find the eggs? You might consider putting some small containers out for "safe places"  such as cat or dog carrier crates  or home made nest boxes with a flap at the back that lifts up so you can reach the eggs.  You might also try  "seeding" the nests with a plastic or ceramic egg to encourage the chickens to understand what they should be doing and where they should be doing it...
 
Karl Teceno
Posts: 91
Location: Portland Maine
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I will bet you will see a significant rise in egg production in a week or two. The year before last we got some chicks at the beginning of June and our first egg didn't arrive until Thanksgiving day. With in a week they were all laying.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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