If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where you can have roosters, you probably won’t think twice about the rampant crowing. You wouldn’t be wrong, either! Most areas that are very rural or zoned agricultural are pretty rooster-friendly, so it would never be an issue that pops up. Though, there are a few circumstances that might require you to keep your boys quiet, lets see the best way to deal with a roosters crow….
Hens Not Filling the Egg Basket? Solutions
First of all, don’t panic, egg production changes for many reasons, and they aren’t all bad, so lets narrow it down and take a look at all the different scenarios. We’ll start with the most common reasons.
Every year your chickens will molt, in other words, lose their feathers and grow new ones. Unfortunately, it also means most hens won’t lay eggs until their molt cycle is done. However, there are variations to that rule. The molting process is fully explained HERE.
The Broody Hen
When a hen is broody, it means she wants to hatch eggs and raise chicks. Some breeds are more broody than others, for instance, Silkies. When a hen decides to go broody, there is little you can do to change her mind! She’ll stay in her nest and sit on her eggs, other bird’s eggs, or nothing at all! Remember, just because you don’t have a rooster, doesn’t mean your hen won’t go broody. A hen will become broody and sit on eggs whether they’re fertilized or not.
The pic above is a broody Silkie, notice how she has a flattened appearance, or looks spreads out. That’s a classic look for a broody hen. Unfortunately, she will not lay eggs during this time. More Information.
As the days become shorter it is a signal that winter is on it’s way. It’s natural for hens to lay only a couple eggs per week in the winter months, sometimes none at all. Hot weather can also affect egg production, here in Phoenix, production can slow or even stop when the heat becomes extreme. Summer Heat Tips.
If you move your birds, add new birds, or anything that has changed their routine, is a good enough reason to take time off from laying eggs. Sometimes a predator scare can upset a flock and they’ll stop laying for a week or more. Another important factor is your bird’s feed. Make sure they’re consuming quality feed, and I don’t mean chicken scratch. Protein and calcium are essential.
Chickens need adequate space, overcrowding makes for unhappy birds, and this is especially important, why? Because happy hens fill the egg basket! One more thing, pests can also cause a stressful environment, so make sure your birds are not bothered by mites. More on Pests.
A sick hen will not lay, ever. All I can tell you about that is to look for the most common signs of illness. Watery eyes, droopy tail, Hen doesn’t leave the nest, coughing, diarrhea, etc. A sick bird is pretty obvious, and should be isolated from the flock immediately.
Let’s not leave out the inevitable….age.
Unfortunately, all hens reach the age when they no longer lay eggs. Of course there are some that continue to surprise us with an egg well after their productive years. It may surprise you to learn that hens usually only lay eggs until they’re around 3 years old. Their first 2 years are the most productive, then, fewer and fewer as time passes. Except for those special ladies that don’t agree with that statement, and I’ve had a few!
Update: Love this feeder!
Just ordered a new chicken feeder, holds 10lbs and looks like it will solve the problem of chickens wasting their feed.
This feeder (Amazon $39.95) boasts it’s spill proof, and it hangs on either wire or wood, hardware included. Dimensions are 5.5 x 5.5 x 17 inches. I’ll have to wait until my birds are 12 weeks to use it, but I’m looking forward to the possibilities of a spill proof feeder!
RentACoop PVC Chicken Poultry Feeder with Rain Cover is available on Amazon.
RentACoop PVC Chicken Poultry Feeder
Many people are complaining this drinker overflows and leaves their birds without water, but there’s a simple fix to this problem! This drinker really is a good product, but there’s a trick to keeping it from leaking everywhere. I sent my first one back, the second ended up in the shed on a shelf. But now I use it every day and love it.
Solution to Overflowing
First of all, I’m sure you already know it’s important to place the drinker on level ground, and up on a cinder block is good practice too. But here’s the real trick to stop it from overflowing. After you fill the drinker full, loosely tighten the cover on top. Remove the black cap on side allowing the fountain to fill. While it’s filling, loosen the black cover on top (kind of a lot) then tighten it again. This will create the vacuum needed to stop it from overflowing. That’s it!