Egg Production Dropped

by Denise
(Berlin Center Ohio U.S.A.)

My chickens ate cucumbers that were spoiled, then egg production dropped. How do I get numbers back up. Was this the cause? 252 chickens 9 dozen eggs daily.

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Egg Production Dropped
by: brad

I lived in Ohio for a few years and kept chickens there, so I'm familiar with egg production cycles related to other cycles that chickens experience.

This is the beginning of Fall weather. Temperatures are dropping and daylight hours are decreasing. Chickens are molting usually. Growing a new set of feathers and laying can be too much demand.

You didn't say what breed chickens you have, if your chickens are molting, or if you provide extra lighting to make up for the shorter days.

I doubt that eating the cucumbers is what caused this, unless your chickens became sick. Unusual stressors can slow egg production, as well as normal laying, molting and environmental/
seasonal/weather cycles.

Did you have these chickens last year at this time? Or do you have the same breed in similar conditions as you had last year?

Production breed chickens only lay well for about 2 years. If this flock, or a significant percentage of your flock are 2 year old Production hens, they may be close to being laid out - meaning getting close to having laid all the eggs they will ever lay. General health of Production breeds declines at about the two year age as well.

You have a pretty good sized flock of hens, but I don't know how long you've been at this. Production breeds, compared to Heritage breeds, are good consistent layers, even during the Winter and molts, usually. Heritage breeds are more likely to have a more natural on again-off again laying cycle, which is very normal for chickens.

When I lived in Ohio, my first Fall/Winter with chickens, I got no eggs for nearly 3 months. The following Fall/Winter I added additional lighting to the coop, only allowing my chickens 8 hours of darkness. The second year the hens didn't skip a beat in laying, except a bit during the Fall molt.

It is a huge demand on a chicken's body to produce eggs and whole new set of feathers at the same time. Increasing protein percentage in feed is important during the molt. I like to supplement my chickens with whole raw seeds like safflower, sunflower and flax.

I hope I've hit on something here that helps. I don't know enough about your flock - ages, breeds, or how you feed and care for them, to give you a specific answer.

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