Our oldest hens of which we have 4 possibly 5 started laying early this August. Back then we had a problem of our chicken free ranging over several acres of mostly over-grown land instead of sticking close to the coop. So when we saw the eggs go from four down to two we figured they were laying in the woods. We decided to hold them in the coop for a few days to reinforce the coop is home. Now, our coop is huge it is 13′ by 13′, has screened windows all the way around, has perches all the way around and a large amount or perches in the middle. We have 3 waterers, a huge container for the calcium supplement and a few feeders. We only have 22 chicken and they are more than amply provided for in the coop. We thought this confinement would yield more eggs, but we are wrong. We now only get 1-2 eggs a day. Now we could have a predators stealing the eggs, or a hen eating them. We have not seen any signs of broken shells or yolk in the nests or on hens. We did fix one hole in the wire flooring and we have a small gap at the bottom of the door which might be big enough. None of our hens are broody or showing any signs of illness. We have 4 grown roosters but no wear and tear on our hens from over usage. All of the chickens get layer pellets and scratch. And we know they are all eating. So here we are confused as to why we are not getting all the eggs. We plan on putting a piece of wood to block the space at the bottom of the door and we will secure the eaves incase a rat is climbing in. The door is a house door so no need to worry about a animal opening it, you have to turn the handle to open it. We have fixed the fencing around the coop and plan to allow them out into the yard tomorrow so we can not only see if the fencing will encourage them to stay, but also so we can muck out the coop. We also plan on culling 4 roosters this weekend since the weather did not allow for disposal earlier this week. If we find a hen is eating the eggs we will blow out a egg, like you would to paint the empty shell, and fill it with mustard. I have read that hens hate mustard and this should work. The two eggs that are laid are not laid early in the morning but at some point between 9 am and 4pm. That is the time in which we do not disturb them due to other chores being worked on. Any pointers from y’all would be great as to why our hens might not be laying. We will keep y’all updated as we make the changes to see if it is a predator.
Love ya’s Chat more tomorrow. Killian and Tina are coming to visit!!!