So I’m back from a quick run to take DD to work and DS has helped me to get lots of watering going in both the front and back yards. I can begin to now declare that it feels more like summertime is coming since we can start being out in the yard more.
DS took time to scrub out these guys’ water fountains again and we topped off their food. Meanwhile, we collected two more eggs which brings us to four so far today. Oh yes, after showing some pictures, I think I’d better explain why the numbers are important right now.
So here’s the dilemma: Approximately six weeks ago all thirteen hens completed their winter molting and for two weeks they laid 9-12 eggs per day. Even though the nights were in the upper 20s and lower 30s, they continued to lay well and we thought we would have plenty of eggs again. Then suddenly, it was like a faucet shut off and for the last four weeks we have been getting 2-6 eggs per day with most days being 4 eggs. Two weeks ago I changed brands of feed to the more expensive brand to see if that would help because we had used this same feed a couple of years ago. Result: absolutely NO change in numbers and they continued to eat the same amount. They have been getting fatter but not laying any more eggs. We have two water fountains for them and a feeder that we keep food in all the time. They have been getting the same scraps (bread and salad bits) in the same amounts the entire time. After talking to GPID via text about this because he used to raise chickens commercially and ruling out all of the possible reasons, we are now all puzzled. There are no snakes snitching eggs, there are no birds eating eggs (we haven’t found partials or egg shells anywhere), there are no coons around and we always shut the hens up before a coon would come out for the night, and there is no other access to the chicken coop except via the door that we latch every night. The fence around the yard is at least 6 feet and then we have the fence inside that around their pen. While a coon or such could climb the fence and get in, I don’t think anyone else could easily get in without us knowing. And we’ve not seen evidence of either so we just have this big mystery.
Only time will tell if it was just what chickens do, as we do have 3-4 of the hens that are reaching 3-year-old status, or if it is more. They are healthy and all, just not producing any significant numbers of eggs. It is challenging to keep up with all the eggs the neighbor who buys from Mike likes to buy and we aren’t getting any of our own. Very frustrating numbers for our 13 hens. May have to consider “retiring” them and “hiring” younger hens towards the end of June/first part of July. Keep checking back and I’ll try to let you know what happens.