I don't remember why I started using sunflower seeds as a supplement for my hens; it was probably something that I read either here on in a poultry magazine. When I did, I noticed a significant difference in the number of eggs they laid. So I have a friend in Oregon with 30+ hens who had so many eggs last year that she was giving them away, but this year her hens were laying almost nothing. Sometimes none, sometimes three, and that was it. I suggested that she try supplementing their diet with sunflower seeds. She couldn't see why it would make a difference but she gave them some, and voilą, they started laying again. She got 20 yesterday!
Now, the question: why did that get them back into production (assuming this keeps up) and why did they stop in the first place? She has the usual mix of older and younger hens, some of which should just have been coming into their egg-laying years.
THanks for the tip. I'll be sure to try that right away. I have 12 two year old hens who are not laying very well. We have 12 six week old babies. Two of the older hens are broody and sit on nests and won't let the other girls on to lay eggs. We've started kicking them out of the barn and locking them out so they can't get to the nests to hoard over them. I wish they'd just start laying eggs again. I'm about ready to dump them in the pond to cool their jets. Will pick up sunflower seeds today. Will let you know if it helps.
I have no idea, but think it is very interesting. Something else i'm curious about...I have seven layers I have kept just for our own eggs. Five of the seven are over two years, and two are four years old. I kept waiting for them to basically quit laying so I could replace them. The oldest hen is a cuckoo maran @ just over four years old. She still lays five or six eggs a week and same with the other four year old which is a white rock. I get five - six eggs regularly. I give two - three doz eggs away to the Senior Center every week. That has not been my normal experience. I don't get it, but I like it...Hay
Hay don't knock a good thing, if they lay then you are lucky :)
We have a five year old Blue Cochin that is one eyed. She is sort of a loner, she goes in the pen with the "big" birds, but she keeps her distance. Next thing we know she is out roaming in the yard, she gets nervous if we let others out to raom too. She prefers to be by herself. She lays very well for a bird her age. But hers seem to be seasonal. Spring and early summer she lays an egg almost every day. And guess where she lays them...in the house with the big girls.
I thought I dehydrated mine, cause they went a day with no water.. in the heat.. Which would make them stop, but now I think someone is collecting for me. I have a RIR that hardly ever skipped a day since I've had her.. and 5 other 2+ year old layers. I get 1 RIR egg maybe once a week if I'm lucky.. Funny thing is, I still get the Serama eggs and the bantam eggs.. so it wasn't cause of the water issue.
I wish the feeding them onion and garlic would really work to taint the eggs, but it doesn't.. I thought if it would work, I'd load them up with garlic and fish to make the eggs taste bad and see if whoever is taking the eggs stopped!! LOL
Your cuckoo maran is not like mine; mine have about given up laying. Only rarely do I see one of their dark eggs, and they're about four years old.
ZZ, can you just check in the henhouse more often and see if you can figure out what's going on? We had some very softshelled eggs that led the hens to eat them, so we started checking much more frequently to nip that habit in the bud.
ZZ- You could really give the wormer so the eggs will make the perps sick...but knowing those idiots they would sue you.
Another idea is to get one of those wildlife cameras and then you might could figure out who is doing it and then report them to the police. If the damage/vandalism continues take them to small claims court. But of course going to court may not be worth it considering the time and effort. Good luck!
I wonder if the extra fat/oil in the sunflower seeds help in some way to increase egg production? They also have a lot of Vitamin E...maybe that helps with egg production along with calcium...Interesting subject to investigate a little more about.
They are 11 houses away now.. I try to go twice a day.. I think the people who are taking them are very aware of my routine, and they live closer than I do.. Um.. I don't like to point fingers, but I'm pretty sure of who it is.
I spent 2 months warning the kids in the area to stay out of there, and still they were leaving gates open and the chickens were so scared they wouldn't come out for the longest time.. Just not worth all the drama anymore!
I'm trying to spend more time down there, but it's miserable hot, no shade for me... so it's not enjoyable.
If the rotten egg thing doesn't work.. I might just give up.. it's too expensive and too hard to haul water with my back as bad as it is right now.. I think I've given it a good fight.
I still think locks could help. It sounds like a bad setup though, if it's that far away from you. We can hear what goes on in our poultry yard, and many's the time we've chased hawks away before they did any damage. Of course we're not always home, either, and you can't drive yourself nuts.
Do you think that the people who are taking them need them, or is it out of spite because you told their kids to keep away?
It just makes me sick, that you have to lock up your nesting boxes. I'm afraid that the thieves just might break the nesting boxes when they see the locks. Locks are just another expense that may or may not work...I'd love to spend a couple days watching your coops ZZ's Just a little bb shot on the arm would sting enough to get thier attention. I hate thieves, if someone is hungry talk to me, but don't steal from me...Hay...I hope their is some way to work this out ZZ's...Hay
Grownut had some ideas about the sunflower seeds. She said, "I had something similar happen with my goats...in that they have always been fine and suddenly -trouble! Gut reaction has been that they go through their surplus stores and slowly 'achieve' a depleted state. The fatty acids and trace minerals are the very hardest things to keep them well supplied in..." She suggested that it was the "linoleic acid. The oils giving a boost not available from more dried and highly processed foods. What I'm finding is basically that the nutritional content of eggs and sunflowers is somewhat similar. Seems entirely likely that they just flat have what supplements chickens need." Another person commented, "I feed black sunflower seeds to our show chickens, and I guarantee you can tell a huge difference in the ones that get it and the ones that don't!! I have no stress problems at the shows and the girls lay their eggs every day while we are there, and the feathers are full and gorgeous!!! I love them!!!!"
hm, I'm going to the store to get some sunflower seeds. Can't be any more expensive than chicken feed. I've located a farm store that sells rolled oats in a 50 pound bag and my hens will scratch through the feed to get the oats and leave the processed stuff laying on the ground. Between the sunflower seeds, rolled oats, grass and foraging for bugs their diet should be complete.
How long does this sunflower seed remedy take to work? We've been feeding them for about 5 days now and have not noticed an increased production. Still only getting about 2 eggs out of 12 chickens. Make that 11. We had one die the other day. We have 12 babies that are 7 weeks old.
Loon, is there anyway that an animal can get into your coop and eat your eggs? Snakes perhaps? Seems strange that you have 12 hens and only 2 eggs a day. Especially this time of the year. What happened to the one that died? How old are your laying hens?
My laying hens are 2 years old. No, there is no way anything can get into the coop. It is inside a barn with a cement floor and their run has that steel wire buried all around. Not a crack anywhere. No evidence of anything getting in there. So far only one egg today.
Here is the nutritional facts and analysis for sunflower seeds. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3167/2
At the top you will need to change the serving size to get a more reasonable amount that can be consumed by a chicken. Of course this info is for humans, but you can get the general idea of how much nutrition is in there.
I am a nerdy type that likes facts a figures and this type of research is always fun for me. Hopefully, this info will help out.
You are my exact opposite titanium!! Sooo needed.. I don't do that well..
I think it is different for different cases.. A nutritional deficiency in one person's birds may not be the same somewhere else.. So feeding Sunflower Seeds to a bird that desperately needs the Iron, calcium & protein in them, will start to produce again.. If that was the deficiency in the first place.
It is hard to say what is causing them to lay poorly.
Loon, are you sure your birds are not molting? Have you seen a lot of feathers around? They may be coming out of a late spring molt?
This is a very interesting thread. I don't dispute the value of feeding sf seeds, I just am not convinced it is a layer food.. I have an open mind though! :)
Can you feed too much sunflower seed?
Can you feed them just the sunflower seeds & rolled oats?
I can buy those both for the same price as a bag of crumbles right now... or do they need the crumbles as well?
Was trying to follow the thread & see if that was discussed but I can't see if that was ever asked outright or not.
Either way I would like to feed them better.. less of the fully processed premade food for them (crumbles) and more of a simpler food.. like oats, corn & sunflower seeds. If that is something that would be healthier for them. We are still getting 9 to 11 eggs a day out of 18 hens. but i have a set of chicks coming up that I wouldn't mind experimenting with on types of feed to see if I can get them to lay better, be healthier and have healthier eggs for us to eat.
I'm thinking that chickens survived long before they were domisticated and didn't have special prepackaged feed to survive. Right now my ladies are out there eating mulberries, bugs and weed seeds. They come and go at the feeders but don't totally depend on me feeding them. The prepackaged feed was probably made for big egg laying companies where their birds never even see the light of day let alone a bug, worm, maggot or mulberry...also probably for winter feeding. i'm trying to get back to nature and let them forage for themselves with a little supplement feed on the side.
I agree that hens allowed free range are probably able to pick out a balanced diet for themselves. Caged or penned chickens are the ones the commercial feeds were designed for and need to be more carefully fed.
My hens do free range from about 6 p.m. till dark. They have access to the baby's starter feed so they may be eating some of that in addition to their own feed. I do gift them with scraps of veggies from the garden which they all like or let them peck on a watermelon rind or something. I hope they start laying more eggs soon or I'm going to put them all on Craig's list and give them away keeping only the babies.
mine are free range all day. they forage more than they eat. cats won't drink apple cider vingar water and they share the same waters since they are free range so i can't use it. They also get scraps from our meals. I just want them eating more natural & less like a caged chicken in the months they can be out with things to eat.
The older laying hens are golden comets and rhode island reds about equal. We have one light brahma that is the one that lays an egg almost every day. That is why when I was ordering new chicks this spring I bought all light brahmas ... that plus I'd be able to tell the new chickens from the old chickens. Oh, and we also put ACV in their water too. I used to let them free range all day long but they would get in my flower beds out front and make such a mess. They'd also go on my pole barn porch and crap all over the cement and the furniture which ticks me off. Now they only free range a few hours a day so that limits their hanging out time on the porch and they aren't making as big of a mess.
I think Sunflower Seeds are too high in protein to feed as a staple. I'm sure they would eat it and do just fine, but long term I'd think there would be problems.
Personally, I think it's more important to have a balanced diet.. I'd just get the poultry vitamins that have electrolytes and add that to the water for the summer months or when they are off the water or feed..
Yeah, that is what I thought too. Good old Whitey (light brahma) seems the only one reliably laying an egg a day. We'll keep giving the sunflower seeds in with their regular laying feed and see what happens.
If they are off, there is a reason.. it is for sure not the breed. Are you absolutely sure they were not in molt? That can take like 6 weeks if they were slow... That would for sure make them stop laying.. Dehydration is another thing that will stop them.. The heat? I don't think that's as much to do with it than something else.. Unless you just got them and they are from a cooler climate.
Hens have to be content in order to lay.. something.. diet, environment, something is stopping them.. it is a mystery sometimes.. and sometimes we are lucky... sometimes not. LOL
No molting. I did have two broody hens who were fiercely guarding the nesting boxes and maybe they threatened the others not to dare come in there and lay an egg. Hubby kept throwing those two off their nesting boxes and locking them outdoors. It must have worked because they finally are through being broody and are out free ranging. We got two eggs today so far.
I'm growing BOSS (black oil sunflower seeds) this year. I feed them to the dairy cows for the exact reason the're good for the hens. The birds just get what doesn't get digested by the cows.
The seeds are from TSC and some sprouted in the corn field this year. I timed those to be 90 days to maturity. Some of my raised veggie beds are done till fall or resting till next spring. So I'm filling in the bare spots with the BOSS. If they mature in time it will be a good summer/fall intermediate crop.
Good luck with the hens Loon. No eggs can be frustrating!
This is a dumb question, I know your zone warms slower, but do the daylight hours also take longer to adjust in the spring?
We keep lights on all winter. We are having long days now. Doesn't get dark till 9+ at night. We'll just wait and be patient and hope they kick in laying soon. Yesterday it was quite hot so I took a few packages of frozen squash out of the freezer and let hubby feed it to them. THey were all over that fast. Like giving a popsickle to a hot kid. :) It helped cool them down I think.
ZZ - Throw that sunflower seed in some bird feeders and you will be inundated with wild birds - they love the stuff. I also have pesky squirrels getting into my feeders - they will clean out my bird feeder in a day if I didn't have a squirrel baffle.
LOL. ZZ, sorry, silly birds.
I had the hardest time storing them at first. Squirrels tore into the bag, so I placed it in a rubbermaid container. They chewed a hole in that. Then I placed them in an industrial cardboard barrel. Took them a while, but they chewed thu that. Now I have them in a metal trash can. If I forget to put the lid back on, squirrels, mice, wild birds and the chickens all hang out. Including the cats when they discovered mice would fall in the can and not get out. That can is worse then a watering hole in the Serengeti :0)
We are not trying psychology. :) Hubby had a good "talk" with them yesterday. He told them if they don't lay an egg they can't go outside to play. We've had them in the barn/exercise pen for three days now. We'll see how this works. Got two eggs yesterday. Two this morning so far. Maybe I should try playing music for them. :)
I wonder if they could have a few nests hidden somewhere. Years ago our hens weren't laying and we discovered a nest with dozens of eggs...all rotten and crappy looking of course but at least it solved the mystery. You might take a good look around your barn to see if your hens have a few hidden nests. : )
The indoor coop inside the barn where they lay their eggs is not very big. No real place to hide a nest. Out in the run we can take another look around and see. I'm thinking of withdrawing the corn from their diet and see if that makes a difference.
One scoop of mash, one scoop of corn, sprinkle grit and some oyster shell calcium and a little bit of sunflower seeds. Babies get starter mash but sneak out and eat what the other birds eat. None of the birds are big except for Whitey (light brahma) and she's the one that is laying eggs. We have one two year old rir laying eggs and the one brahma. That's it. The one rir that lays has kind of a bald spot on her back that looks like she's moulting. None of the other birds are missing feathers. The golden comets are a good weight and some tend to look thin. We do put some food grade diatimaceous earth in their food and also in the area where they take dirt baths. We also put a little organic vinegar in their water. We give them well water. We're not letting them free range now to see if it makes a difference. So far it hasn't so maybe today we'll let them out. I know they miss foraging. We had a stray black lab run up in the yard the other day and it kind of scared us because the chickens were out but the dog disappeared in to the woods never to be seen again.
Even without knowing how much a 'scoop" is. Your ration of mash and energy feed is off. Think of your mash as protein. Protein is converted to meat and egg production. Energy feed is converted to fat. Both are essential, just not in equal proportions. A free range bird (if they have access to wide range in diet) will need far less energy grains during the summer months and more protein for laying. More fat is needed for winter months.
In a coop they need a bit more energy. I can't remember, perhaps someone else will remember...something about, only feeding as much scratch as they can clean up in 30 min, once a day?
Yes, to less corn. I'm going step back at let someone else say, "by how much", tho.
We only feed grain the coldest months of the year down here (Dec-Feb). But my birds get plenty from the manure of the others animal that are fed grain, and by free ranging. We also (b-word) our extra birds. It gives me an opportunity to see exactly how much of a fat layer the birds have. I know others have to go on proportions and can give you a better estimate. They'll get your ladies laying in no time:0)
I reread my last post. It sounded like I'm saying, they need more fat then protein, during the winter. What I meant is they need more fat then what they get during the summer. Sorry for the confusion, hope that makes sense.
I go by this... Corn makes fat, protein (mash) makes muscle... they need to be lean in the summer months to deal with the heat.. nice and plump in the winter for the cold..
By no means is this scientific... but it's what I do to fill the feeder... 3 scoops lay crumbles, 1 scoop scratch (corn) (summer time) Winter I probably do one and one..
I toss corn out for them to scratch around in, but only by hand.. not scoops.. :)
I'd love for them to be eating sunflower seeds.. but remember, they are loaded with fat, so they should be a treat. IMHO..
You really can't tell by looking at the birds if they are "slow to molt" you kinda have to go by the feathers in the pen, nest, coop, etc. Some birds don't have a real "radical" molt, it's gradual and hard to notice.
I assume that the commercial laying feeds have a reasonable amount of research behind them and therefore are all the hens need to thrive and lay well. Mine free range all day and add whatever they fancy to that diet. I use corn as a treat and to get the chickens to go where I want them to: in the coop, out into the pasture, etc. They have oyster shell and egg shells free choice. So far I have yet to have a laying strike.
Since we feed clabber it's been a long time since I read a feed bag...do they mention anything on the bags about supplementing with grains? just curious.
My sunflower seeds and seedling are disappearing :0(
My first thought was the chickens, but the mulch is pulled up in spots. Looks like squirrels! Drats.
Got 4 eggs yesterday but one was a weird little all white egg. Have no clue who laid that ???? I do see some feathers in their run so maybe it is a slow moult ?? I don't know. I'll give it till winter sets in and if they aren't laying I'm calling the neighbors down to take them to freezer camp at their house. I told the wife she can take one a day so it's not noticable. :)
That sounds like they were in molt Loon... If they are just starting back up to lay, they will probably produce some weird sizes, shapes and even colors might be off... might have soft shell, no shell, big egg, double yolk, or no yolk... till they get their cycle going again.. If it was molt, and they are a "slow" molt.. that is supposed to be better for the bird.. better for laying.. frustrating for the owner is all.
I found black poo so some of mine found they liked the sunflower seeds.. I sure am glad cause I could have bought 2 bags of feed for the price of that lil treat.. I'll never buy them again though.. that is just tooo expensive for me... If I can grow some next year I will.. Was a great thread/experiment though. :)
Winter before last I had a lot of leftover pelleted fish food for my pond fish. They weren't eating it for some reason so I decided to feed some to my chickens so it wouldn't go to waste. It's a high in protein type thing that must be made of fish cause it smelled like it. THe chickens really were doing good on it and laid good eggs all winter. When it ran out I never bought any more. They loved it though.
Loon, did it affect the taste of the eggs? I always worry about strong-smelling feed, although we do feed our chickens crab and shrimp shells from our own meals. They really enjoy picking through them.
No, it didn't affect the taste of the eggs at all. In fact, that was when we were getting a lot of double yolk eggs. We cut out all corn and are now just feeding laying mash and a little big of the sunflower seeds and whatever they forage for when free ranging in the evening. It's real hot here and will be for the next week. 90's + every day. So far, today we got 5 eggs so production is going up. Yesterday we had six eggs. If I get 6 eggs a day I'll be happy. That's what we eat for breakfast every morning. I hate buying eggs. Now, I don't know if it was cutting out corn or adding sunflower seeds or both that made egg count go up.
Ours were laying poorly way before it got hot. It had been about two eggs a day for more than a month...maybe month and a half. We'll keep them off the corn for a while and see if they continue to lay better.
I think they will continue to lay better no matter what you feed them. I seriously don't think it was diet related. Might sound crazy cause I wasn't there to see them or know the entire situation, but just a hunch..
Talked to the neighbor today and he said he's started making up his own feed. He buys big bags of soy for protein and I forget now what else he puts in there. He said after he started feeding his hens that they started laying super good. Of course he insists I need a rooster to do his thing...even offered to "loan" me one of his roosters. He thinks like a man. I told him my hens don't need no rooster. They take care of each other. :)
I do think protein makes a difference. But my friend whose hens weren't laying at all is now getting 17 to24 eggs a day with the sunflower seed supplementation; I'm really happy that worked for her because she was about to get rid of them all!
I think roosters just hassle the poor dears; we used to have a very aggressive one and the hens' back were bare of feathers because he kept pulling them out.
My friend's chickens were a similar age-range. But maybe yours need something else other than a protein boost. I don't know that anything's laying well if you have a heat wave going on, though. Even ours are slacking off a bit.
Mine are starting to eat the sunflower seeds... No increase in eggs... there was something or someone taking eggs I'm sure.. I've had a couple broken eggs, and not like the hens did it.. such a mystery.. No fun!
Yes it probably is the heat,my chickens are panting on the roosts at night,I gave them a fan and it has helped them a little.We are not used to the heat here in northeren Maine,its in the 80`s and only has been going down into the 60`s at night.The humidity is awful.
its 100 to 104 here.. i was down to 3 eggs a day from 18 hens.. but 6 of those hens are bantams & don't lay every day. Starting feeding them sunflower seeds every day.. about 3 cups for all of them. in 2 weeks time we went from 3 eggs a day to 11 eggs a day. It definitely made a difference from corn to sunflower seeds. I use to get near 1 egg a day per hen when i fed the higher protein crumbles i had found around here & mom's nut & berry bird feed. I also put the crumbles in one spot of the coop... the sunflower seeds in another. They always without fail go to the crumbles & eat all of it first then eat the sun flower seeds last munching them throughout the day like a hiker would trailer mix.
Greykyttyn, I'm so glad that helped your flock! It's especially surprising in that heat; ours have cut back because of it, although we still get seven or eight a day. Normally it's more like fifteen. It's nice to get a return for your investment in all that feed!
Didn't do a thing for mine.. of course it took a while before they all ate them.. but they are now and my RIR is not laying every day.. which is just toooo weird. My Seramas are laying good.. so are the bantams, but they always have. We are in the upper 90s.. so that could be slowing them down.. never did before though.. I'm lost. LOL
mine are use to bird feed just never fed them sunflower seeds on purpose.. they normally steal them from the bottom of the bird feeders... so they had no problem eating them. just smidgen of them, not enough to really do much. But as i said we feed them bird feed in the winter along with corn and crumbles. I won't sell till i am back to enough birds to get a dozen eggs a day. even at that... we only sold this spring when we were getting 15 to 18 eggs a day. dumb foxes dwindled my flock down a bit, lost some good layers.
That is interesting.. My nest boxes are already that size.. a few are a little taller, but not "communal" like they mention..
This whole thread is interesting to me.. I think that once we find what our girls need, be it nutrition, or housing, they lay better. Might have been the one element in Sunflower seeds that those hens needed in their diet to just boost them up to optimum health.
All mine, (except the Seramas) are eating the seeds now.. I'm happy about that. I have a big fat Black Australorp that would shovel them in if she could.. LOL
I can't figure out how size of nest boxes could make a difference; if they're physically ready to produce eggs it seems to me they will regardless of what's available to lay them in! We use old cubbies from a school cloakroom for nest boxes and the chickens have always been fine with that.
I am against them being big enough to share.. seems there is just no good when they pile in there... eggs get broken, tossed out, etc. When brooding, there are not real good hatches (in my experience) when there is more than one broody involved... That's the only thing I can come up with at least for my set up..
We've had 3 hens die in the last few weeks. They are over 2 years old. They just died. Today my husband is working hard to clean out their run and the indoor coop and sanitize everything. He's been scrubbing their food troughs and water bottles with a mixture of bleach and water. He'll put down clean shavings. I don't know if this will cure our problem or not. The young chickens are exactly 11 weeks old and seem very healthy. I did have them vaccinated. The two year olds were not vaccinated. Other than loose stools they seemed fine till they died. The last day they seemed listless and not eating then just die. We're destroying everything so none of the other chickens are exposed but it is difficult to do this hard work in the heat. Tomorrow we'll clean off the pole barn porch and power wash it. They like to hang out on there sometimes and there is some feces on the cement.
We're getting 4 eggs a day. Sometimes 5. The little ones won't start laying for another ten or fifteen weeks I'm guessing. They are all out free ranging now like they do every day. Everyone else seems to be perky and eating and drinking. There is no way we'd every find every poop and destroy it. They go everywhere. I hope no more will pass.
I don't think so. They all look OK this morning so far. They are eating and drinking and we have one sitting on the nest laying an egg. I just hope cleaning everything up helps. We have had some hot weather but they've always had shade and fresh water to drink etc.
I have a 2 year old hen that is showing signs of Mereck's... It is strange at her age... She is in severe distress, and I can't understand.. She is not posturing, but is obviously weaker on one side.. It was all in one day. I hope she is okay..
It's my belief that IF they contracted something that is killing them, there is no way to disinfect enough to stop the spread. Never hurts to keep things sanitary, but if it's a disease, (which there are hundreds) there is not much you can do to stop it... I'm so sorry that happened to you and your girls. I hope it has stopped.. :(
There isn't really much you can do. I'm no vet. I know my hens are raised better than the commercial hens who are cooped up in cages all their life. We have a large fenced in run off the back of the barn that is shaded. I have two big ladders out there for them to roost on. They go through a doggy door to an indoor coop with perches all around and we keep a lot of pine shavings on the floor. They free range for four or five hours each afternoon/evening. At least they have had a good life and were treated well. I give them lots of treats from the garden. They loved broocoli and cabbage leaves etc.
If they keep dying I won't replace them. If they all wind up dying we're out of the chicken hobby. It is too hard.
You are so right Loon.. it's very hard to raise chickens.. It is very painful at times, but overall, it's been my experience that life without them is.. well... not as nice as life with them. There isn't anything I've found that gives me the joy I get from having them... and the awesome meals they provide me.. (most of the time)
You do give them a good life.. sounds like an excellent life! I hope you don't stop giving birds, even just a few, a chance at a good life, regardless of how short it is.
My Serama hen didn't make it.. I'm okay with it.. She sure didn't suffer long. And I'm comfortable with the life she had, I sure couldn't have done much more..
Sorry about your Serama hen not making it. My hens died pretty quick too. So far, no more deaths and everyone else is out running about eating and drinking. We're keeping an eye on them. We are getting about 4-5 eggs a day from 9 hens. The babies are too young to lay. They are 11 weeks old I think. They are funny to watch. I do enjoy the birds but feel so lacking in knowlege in how to handle certain health situations. I have learned a lot from this forum though and keep reading and learning. I'm glad others share their experiences and that is how we all learn.
Really Loon, there are so many things the chickens can catch.. they often have a short life.. no matter what you do or how much you know.. It is really hard sometimes.. I sure know that... :) As much as I hate loosing one, I handle it much better now than I did.. I've not gotten cold, or heartless... Just realize that it happens..
Right now, my teens are getting a little bigger and my favorite thing ever is when they put their heads down and stretch out to run.. cracks me up every single time!! Also some of the crazy sounds the teens make.. My son was holding one and he said "Look mom, a duck" LOL It really sounded like one too!!
One of our 11 week old chickens picked up a dead mouse that the barn cats had dropped. The other little chickens wanted that mouse and were chasing her. She finally dropped it, pecked at it then somehow managed to swallow the whole thing. Hubby thought he was going to have to do the Heimlieck manuever on her but she got it down and kept it down. We were amazed. We've seen them fighting over frogs too. They seem to really love meat. :)
Loon, so true! I love watching them when one of them find something special and they all chase her around waiting for her to stop to take a bite. What a pleasure it is to watch these facinating creatures!
Sunflower oil in the seeds is a powerhouse of nutrition. We have been lied to for the past 40 years about fats. Butter, lards, eggs, raw milk, etc are what our bodies need to heal and function, our brain cells are mainly fat. So when these girls are getting that extra fat/micro nutrients in their diet in a straight unprocessed format, they put it to good use.
We throw handfuls of seeds out to ours when we are rounding them up to put them away at night. Works every time.
But this thread also timed with summer. It is very common for egg production to drop during heat or cold..different breeds do better than others..and same with age..if a chicken is over 2 years..you can expect drop off.
I thought I'd post an update on my birds. We stopped feeding them anything other than their layer mash a bit of corn they have to hunt and peck for and whatever kitchen scraps I have. They are all laying great now. I have ten hens and get anywhere from 8 to 10 eggs a day. This morning there were three hens sharing one nest. That was funny. :) They are big birds too. Not sure how they do that but they do. I think with my birds it just took time for them to mature. I noticed them laying good at around 30-32 weeks of age. I think some breeds lay earlier than others is all. We're having a mild winter so far here in mid-Michigan and we increase their light an extra 4 hours and it's working.