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Change in egg laying

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Our girls started laying after 6 weeks with us and have performed wonderfully for 6 weeks. We then went away on holiday for a week and they were fed by a neighbour. In this week they produced a record number of eggs (7 each)! Since we returned their egg laying has reduced to 2 each in the first week, and none in the second. They don't seem unhappy or unwell and aren't broody, and the weather hasn't really changed. I wondered if anyone has any suggestions as to why the sudden change and should I be worried?

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First thought; do they freerange? If so, I'd definitely check around the garden for hidden nests!


Otherwise, it's process of elimination...


...check thoroughly for lice under their feathers, or red mite on the tips of the roosting bars.

...are they both eating plenty of fresh (not out of date) layers pellets or mash?

...could they be laying softies & eating them?

...are you sure that there aren't rats accessing their food?


After that, if they are well with tails up, active, & no excessive diarrhoea, just keep an extra eye on them but I wouldn't worry. Do keep us posted! :)

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I don't know where you live but I think most of the country has been experiencing the hot and humid weather - our hens seem to not like this weather and egg production has dropped in ours as well.


As Sheila says, if they are bright and alert and eating and drinking well, then i would just keep an eye on them and not worry.

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Sheila and Lesley - thanks very much for your speedy replies.


They haven't really been eating many pellets, but it hadn't dawned on me that the sell by date might be getting close, so I'll change to a new batch. No sign of rats, lice or softies, but I will keep an eye on this. I also found the Omelet literature and this suggested worming them. So this combined with the changing weather gives me plenty to think about!


I have also noticed that my 'Ginger Nut Ranger' (named Lizzie) is much thinner than my bossy 'Miss Pepperpot' (cross between Rhode Island Red and Maran) (named Pippin). She seems healthy enough, but I wondered if she'd benefit from me given her something like chicken spice. Is it worth a try do you think?

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:) My GNR is much thinner than my PP, so that in itself isn't a problem. It's a good idea to handle them regularly so that you know what feels right for each bird.

You may think the GNR feels bony with the breastbone protruding, but this is fine as long as there is also so plumpness in her flesh, not just skin & bones.

I found this hard to tell at first & wondered if mine were too thin. But, over time I became used to this being their normal weight. It is all by comparison really.

It was only when I had an ill GNR (she's recovered now!) that I realised...ah, this is what an underweight bird feels like! So, it's a change, a loss of weight, that is relevant.


Worming...worth a try. I didn't mention it as you haven't had them long. But, it would be another thing to eliminate.


Best wishes. :)

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I bought some organic layers mash and they love it. They obviously didn't really like the pellets at all. Egg production is up this week 7 already in 4 days! I've also bought my worming pellets, but haven't tried them yet.


I was advised by an experienced chicken breeder to give the chickens a weekly tonic - 1 tsp of cider vinegar in 5ltrs of water.


Thanks for your help.

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